When you have a walking one year old in your house a lot of things go missing. With Beth that means two things in particular – the telephone and shoes. The telephone is usually eventually tracked down by its plaintive beeping from the deepest corner of the sofa or from beneath a pile of teddies.
The shoes however are trickier. Even if you find one, the other shoe remains stowed away in a safe place known only to our mischievous toddler. One time we lost a pair of shoes for nearly a week! Our outdoor and garden shoes are the main victims of this thievery. The very shoes we need most for getting out for playtime or wandering the fields. Something had to change. It was time to build a shoe storage box.
I’m going to ‘fess up from the start. Making our garden shoe storage box was a personal project of my husband’s. As well as fulfilling a useful objective it also allowed him to spend more time pottering in the shed. Sorry, I mean his shed. Wherever the workshop of creativity though, what finally emerged was a wooden box with a coat or few of white emulsion, all ready for decorating and that’s where the real fun began.
Out came the poster paints and brushes and we all chose a colour. What followed was a riotous chaos of one-legged balancing, foot painting, giggling and hosing down with the garden hosepipe. Good job I’d been to yoga last week! Painting the shoe box all together was a lot of fun.
Later, when the paint had dried, the box was given a coating of varnish to set the paint in place. Then it was ready to bring in our new shoe storage box and put in pride of place. Fortunately it just about fit all our footwear. Best of all, Beth is yet to figure out where all the shoes have gone…
To build your own garden shoe box you will need:
- An unvarnished wooden box – you can buy one (here’s an example) or build your own. Ply is a good cost-efficient option. Take a look on You Tube for guidance if you need it for making your own. DIY stores are pretty helpful too & can even cut the wood to size for you sometimes.
- Some white emulsion or base coat (finally a good use for that left over paint you squirreled away from decorating the bathroom with!
- Poster paints
- Selection of brushes, including a decorating brush.
- Good balancing skills and family cooperation!
Once you’ve bought or made your shoe storage box, the rest is super simple:
- Paint the shoe storage box all over with your emulsion or base primer. Make sure to give it a few coats and dry between each one to make it a really thick coating. If you prefer to use a colour, you can put that on at this stage too just remember you’ll need something that shows up those footprints.
- When the box is all dry, get the family out to decorate it. We painted our feet and covered the box with footprints, with everyone having their own colour. Afterwards we wrote the name and age of the kids next to their colour inside the box for posterity. You don’t have to do feet though. You could try leaf prints, paint outdoorsy pictures or just let your imagination go wild!
- Leave the box out of the way of curious little fingers to dry and get washing off all that paint! Bet you’re glad you used washable poster paint now…
- Give the box a coat of varnish. We used a spray varnish to avoid smudging. You can use the paint on ones if you prefer – just take care to brush really lightly over your artwork to avoid making it run.
- Tah-dah! One shoe storage box / family artwork complete! Now all you have to do is remember to put your shoes in it or whatever other outdoorsy bits you have to store.