Each year I usually buy a new splurge ornament. I love the Merck Family and Inge Glass designs, but I am not totally snobby if find what I am looking for in a no name brand. I try to represent something eventful that happened over the previous year. The year we went to Maine, I bought a little lobster (I thought of it after we got home- there was a Christmas store in Bar Harbor that totally would have had one, instead I really had to hunt for my little guy). Sometimes they are just a really cool design and I like them.
My children came along and I started to buy them an ornament too. This year was trains, because they are all about trains, we put are train around the tree for the first time and I found some cute ones for a great price. Each of them have a box with their “special ornaments” in them.
I searched for a decent storage box that didn’t cost a fortune and even though one box of ornaments could be worth hundreds of dollars someday, I just could not justify paying $30 or more for a box. Then I needed a box for each kid and myself and that adds up fast, for boxes, people. Many of the boxes on the market are cheesy or inadequate too. I read that plastic is really bad for glass ornament storage, so those affordable plastic bins weren’t going to cut it either. I came up with this idea since I had these storage boxes anyway and in the past I had made my own custom storage boxes. These office file storage boxes (sometime called a Banker’s box) are a nice size, have handles and nice lids. Copy paper cases are a good option as well. I use them for other holiday storage and they are great.
Supplies you will need to make your DIY Christmas ornament storage:
Office file box or a copy paper ream case
Cardboard box (at least as big as the file box)
Sharp craft or box knife
Straight edge/ ruler
Start by assembling your cardboard file box and measure the inside width and length.
Decide how tall you want your dividers to be and cut out strips to fit the width and length of the file box. You will need at least two of each for stability, but you can do as many as you need to customize your storage. Use the long sides of the cardboard box to make the layers (you will get two).
Use the short walls of the box to make the short dividers and the long flaps to make the long dividers. This works out well, because you will probably need more of the short dividers than the long dividers. I made 3 short and 2 long. I wanted space for generously sized ornaments otherwise I would have done 4 width sized dividers. I also adjusted the placement to make different sized openings, because many of my ornaments are varied is size and shape.
Cut a piece of cardboard that will be the size of the bottom of the box.
Now that all the pieces are cut out lay them out and determine where you want them to intersect.
Lay all the short strips on top of each other. Cut notches about an 1/8″ wide and halfway through the height of the strips. Notch out on the long strips halfway through the height where you want them to intersect with the short strips. (I forgot to take a shot of the strips pile and notched- sorry)
Test the notches by fitting them together. You want to make sure they are sitting flush across the top and bottom. The dividers need to be fairly level in side the box and then level for the cardboard layer to lay on top of them. A box like this will hold 3 layers unless you have some of those really large Christopher Radko jobs to store.
Make any needed adjustments. Continue cutting all your notches until you have a free standing grid of dividers. Place the dividers into the box. Add your layer of card board and then another grid of dividers and so on. I only made on layer for now. I only needed this box for a few newer ornaments and I have some smaller boxes that will fit inside.
The smaller boxes inside are also DIY with dividers (see the lobster snug in his little box?)
I also like to throw a few extra sheets of tissue you in for adding more ornaments easily.
Here are some other boxes that I have made in the past. In some cases the dividers were reused and cut to fit the boxes. Gift boxes work really well, especially if they are made to hold liquid or glass (like perfume or gourmet sauces gift box). Hey remember when department stores used to give you tons of gift boxes, that is what the plaid “wrapped” box is.
So keep your eyes peeled, you never know where you might find a good box for DIY Christmas ornament storage.