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Article: Vintage Christmas Matchboxes! Holiday Papercrafting


Vintage Christmas Matchboxes! Holiday Papercrafting

Are you giving a candle as a gift this Christmas? How special would it be to include one of these Christmas matchboxes for the recipient!  You can get a pack of 10 matchboxes at Dollar Tree, and embellish each one with papers and other trims for an inexpensive and fun Christmas craft.  For this project I dug around and used a lot of embellishments that I had on hand. The paper you choose should be thin- regular scrapbook paper is good, and wrapping paper works very well.

The step-by-step and assembly video are below. As an affiliate I may earn commission from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. Your clicks support my work, thank you!


  • Small matchboxes
  • Scrapbook paper and/or wrapping paper (I got all of mine at Joann)
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors, pinking shears, ruler
  • Bone folder
  • Clear Drying Glue like Elmer's Glue All or Tacky Glue - today I am using Recollections Express Glue


Part 1: Covering the Matchboxes

Measure the matchboxes you are using, and cut paper rectangles to fit.  These pieces should be cut to cover everything except the strike strips on the sides.

Working on scrap paper, apply a glue stick to the entire reverse side of the paper rectangle. Ensure that the glue extends all the way to the edges of the paper.  Once fully coated, line up the side of the paper rectangle with the strike strip on the box, and press into place.  

Use a bone folder or other smooth tool to rub and press the paper to secure a strong bond.  

My matchboxes had a text stamp on the ends, so I opted to cut small strips of paper using pinking shears, and applied those to cover up the writing.

Part 2: Decorating!

Candy Canes: Cut two small lengths of thin stiff bristle pipe cleaners, and bend into candy cane shapes. Tie at the center with button thread. Glue to the box with clear drying glue.

Silver Bell: Cut a small rectangle of metallic crepe paper. Fold it in half, and cut the profile of a bell shape.  Unfold it to check the size and shape, and then adjust to fit the matchbox. Glue a sequin to the lower end of the box to be the bell's clapper, and then apply the bell with glue on top.  Bend a piece of skinny tinsel cord into a bow shape: make a figure 8, and then wrap the tail over the top. Trim the ends.  Glue to the top of the bell.

Wrapped Present: Cut a piece of cereal box or chipboard into a rectangle that will fit on top of the matchbox.  Cut a piece of scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, and wrap the cardboard rectangle like a present. Glue the flaps down, and then tie a piece of thread around the present and into a bow.  Glue the present to the top of the matchbox.

Stocking: Cut a piece of paper into a stocking shape. Adjust the size to fit the matchbox.  Glue down the paper stocking. Cut a small strip of cotton quilt batting to trim the top of the stocking, and glue it in place.

Tiny Angel: Fold a skinny cotton pipe cleaner in half. Apply glue to the folded end and insert into a 12 or 14mm spun cotton ball. Separate the pipe cleaners to make arms, bending at the elbows and trimming the length.  Cut a trapezoid of metallic crepe paper, gather it to make a ruffled gown, and glue it to the matchbox. Cut a second piece to layer on top, giving the gown dimension. Glue the head with attached arms to the top of the gown.  Make a ring of skinny tinsel cord and glue to the head.  Dot on eyes and a mouth with a toothpick dipped in acrylic paint.

Paper Tree: Cut a small trapezoid of metallic crepe paper into a flower pot shape and glue to the lower end of the matchbox. Cut three small strips of paper to make the tree.  Gather the strips by making tiny folds, and then cut the edges at an angle. Layer the gathered strips on the matchbox, and pinch the top one into a point at the top of the tree before gluing down. Add a small foiled paper star at the top.

Part 3: Glittering!

Use a small bottle of glue or a paintbrush dipped in glue to highlight parts of your matchbox designs, adding texture and shimmer.  Use it to add wings and feet on the angel, add frost to the top of the stocking, and borders of sparkle for the bell and tree.  Apply the glue in lines or dots, and then spoon Fine Grain Glass Glitter over the top. Tap off the excess. Let dry.



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