Scrabble Tile Box

This project all started with a Scrabble board. I went to the Goodwill Outlet earlier this year (if you've never been to one, it's rows and rows of bins with stuff that didn't sell at regular Goodwills dumped have to dig through them to pluck out the good stuff) and picked up a really nice Scrabble board. It was one of the ones with the raised edges to hold the tiles and a turntable underneath so it can face each player.

Of course the catch was that the rest of the game was no where to be found. There's a pretty decent resell market for Scrabble tiles for crafters and scrapbookers, so they usually go pretty quickly. Between that and the fact that it takes a miracle to find a board game intact at the Outlet (pieces usually get strewn about very quickly), I wasn't terribly surprised to find just the board. On the upside, I had already thrifted like 3 or 4 sets of Scrabble (for crafting) and knew I had at least one complete set of tiles and several tile trays, and the board was light weight (it's pay by the pound at the Outlet), so it was a definite purchase.

So I scrounged up a set of tiles and put them into my little tile bag (which was a craft project that predates this blog--I made a bunch of little lined bags (using a pattern similar to this one), a set of tile racks, and our Scrabble dictionary. The next step was to find a box that would easily fit all of that. As I was organizing some game boxes, I came across a bunch of expansion boxes where the expansions fit in the base game box, so the boxes were empty and destined for the recycling pile. I already spray painted a couple of them to create storage boxes, so why not spray paint another.

I used Rustoleum's hammered bronze which gives a nice dark brown, slightly metallic look to the box. The "hammered" part of the paint means that the paint has little speckles or drops in it. It goes on a bit thicker than most spray paints, so it stays tackier a bit longer and increases dry times a little. So I sprayed the top of the box and the bottom of the bottom box and let it dry for about an hour before going back and covering the sides of the top box. The box was a tight fit, so I did not spray the sides of the bottom box.

Next, I looked online for a Scrabble board design that I could print out. After a bit of hunting, I found a board that was about the right size with the right colors to compliment the box. As an added bonus, it included the tile breakdown (how many As and Zs, etc...) that isn't on my fancy new board.

I printed the board onto a sheet of tissue paper using a method I first tried ages ago when I made some decorative pieces with pine boards (and then again with a decorative ceramic tile). You just need to cut a piece of tissue paper that's a bit larger than a piece of card stock. Then carefully tape the edges over the back side of the card stock so there aren't any loose edges to get stuck in the printer. Then just pop it in your printer with the side facing up that gets printed on and run it through the printer like a regular piece of card stock. Let the printed paper dry overnight or for several hours before gluing it down, though, so that the ink doesn't smear.

So my spray painted box was done, and it was just the right size for my tiles (see bag on left) and racks (underneath the bag) and my scrabble dictionary (on the right). Now it was time to jazz up the box a bit.

I took my Scrabble board print out (still taped to the card stock) and my box lid and got to work.

First I traced the lid onto the tissue paper so I could see where I'd have to chop off the design (the scrabble board print out is square--my box is a rectangle). I opted for chopping off the bottom row of spaces and used a scissors to cut the rectangle out while the tissue paper was still taped to the card stock. It's really hard to cut tissue paper straight with a scissors, the thickness of the card stock helps a ton. Using a rotary cutter, is another great option if you've already removed your tissue paper from the card stock.

After I had my board cut out the right size, I grabbed a jar of mod podge and a foam brush. I painted a thin coat of mod podge onto the box lid. Less glue means less wrinkling, but it also means that the tissue paper will not move or adjust to straighten once you set it on the glue.

The tissue paper board set down straight, but there was a little bit of paper hanging over the bottom edge, I trimmed it with a scissors and let it dry for a few minutes to make it less likely that I tear the paper. The paper is very easy to tear when it is wet with glue.

Then I came back and painted on a thin coat of mod podge over the top to seal the paper onto the box. It went transparent in some places, and I knew that was a possibility. It ended up looking a bit distressed and less crisp. If this isn't the look you're going for, paint the box a lighter color, or add a layer of plain tissue paper under the printed tissue to minimize the look.

After the sealing coat of mod podge was dry, I grabbed some Scrabble tiles that spelled out scrabble and some E6000 (hot glue would probably also work really well for this step). I used my piece of leftover card stock to keep my letters straight on the box as I glued the tiles on.

I chose to put the Scrabble tiles along one of the narrower sides as I figured that's the way it would be stacked on our gaming shelf. That way, it's easy to see what it is. The box turned out pretty neat, a bit distressed looking, but there's no mistaking what's inside it now!


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