Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Red, White & Beautiful Garden Tote

Before I became obsessed with stamping and paper crafting, my biggest passion was gardening. I've always loved old wooden garden trugs or caddies and decided I needed to make one of my own. Except, of course, I would be using paper and dies!

As you've seen from some of my past projects, I love building things with Eileen Hull's ScoreBoards dies. This is a project I've been thinking about for a long time and decided that this month's Red, White, and Beautiful theme for Eileen's Art With Heart Challenge was the perfect excuse to play around with the caddy idea. Read on to see how you can make one of your own.

Begin by cutting the box pieces from medium weight chipboard using Eileen's 3D Block die - you'll need two panels per box. Cut off one section from half of the die cut panels (that's the lid and we won't need it). Apply ScorTape to the tabs.

Assemble all the boxes as shown.

Glue the boxes together in sets of three. I like to make sure all the tabs are facing the same direction. Don't glue the sets together yet - we still need to make the handle!

To create the handle, first cut a 9 1/2" x 6" piece of chipboard.

Measure up from the bottom and make a mark at 3 1/8" on either side of the chipboard. Measure in from the left side and make a mark at 3 1/4" and at 6 1/4". Draw a line connecting the dots and cut along the line, removing the corners.

To create a handle opening, find the center of the upper portion of the handle. With the Sizzix Base Tray under the chipboard, line up Tim Holtz's Mini Label Movers and Shapers die in the desired location and tape down. This is the opposite way you normally use the M & S dies, but you need to be able to see where you're cutting. Cut the handle opening with your die cutting machine.

NOTE: I've had a few comments saying that I must have a bigger die cutting machine or wondering how this fit through my Vagabond. It looks really wide in this photo, but if you cut the piece as I have - 6" high, and align the die at the top of the base tray as shown - it will fit fine! No special machine is needed. Your Vagabond or Big Shot will both work!

Now that the handle is finished, you can adhere the box sets to either side of it.

To hide the seams, cut two chipboard panels at 6 1/4" x 3 1/8". These will be the end pieces.

Cut two more pieces, this time measuring 9 5/8" x 3 1/8". These will be the front and back pieces.

Adhere the chipboard panels. It's starting to look pretty cool - right?!

Next, paint the entire caddy with red craft paint. Let dry completely.

I wanted to have a vintage looking label painted on my caddy, but I was scared that I'd mess it up by trying to stamp with paint. A good compromise is embossing! Stamp your image (this is from Oxford Impressions' French Script collection) onto the caddy using clear embossing ink and cover with Seafoam White embossing powder. Heat to melt. Note: if I'd been thinking ahead, I would have done this step before gluing the panel down!

To give the caddy a realistic wood look, sand all the edges and sponge with brown ink.

I had some little square peat pots that fit perfectly into the openings. Small canning jars also fit well. Since this is paper, it shouldn't be in contact with any moisture, but you could certainly have plants in a jar that you remove to water.

And think of all the other uses for this cool little caddy. It would be great in your craft room holding supplies, or in the bathroom keeping your makeup organized. I think it would look adorable in the kitchen holding tea or spices too. I hope you decide to make one!

The supplies I used can be found at Sizzix, Simon Says Stamp, and Amazon via the links below.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!


  1. I love this Shelly! It's so sweet. You used the perfect stamp for it too.

  2. This is fabulous Shelly and a great way to use Eileen's wonderful blocks. The stamping really does look vintage and I love how you aged it all too!

  3. Really awesome! I love how you've added the dies together to make this adorable tote!

  4. Nice little engineering work there, Shelly. I absolutely LOVE this project. Thanks for the tutorial. Now, if I could only grow things rather than kill them. Maybe for me this would make an excellent organizer caddy instead. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Shelly, this is an amazing and inspiring creation! I am in awe.
    Thank you for such detailed instructions. This project has inspired me to look at that die in an entirely new way.

  6. OMG Shelly!! This is AWESOME!! When I saw your first picture in the post, I thought--Oh, hey, look, Shelly did some distressing on this old wood tray---LOL!!! This is spectacular!! I think I've got to get myself some of the block dies!! XOXO-Shari

  7. Fabulous Shelly , great design and idea. Love how,you have used the dies and the colours are perfect for this. Tracy x

  8. O.M.G. you have done it again- This is a Shellypiece for sure! Great idea to use the M&S for the handle and that is the perfect stamp for there. It actually looks like wood with the sanding and distressing. I love this- thank you. You made me a happy camper today :-)

  9. Love this , such a great idea. Mo x

  10. Oh Shelly this is genius, I LOVE it and am definitely going to give this a try!! The handle is so clever and such a fantastic way to use the boxes!! I am sure this could be adapted for all sorts of uses, but your wonderful garden caddy is a great one for sure, so clever how the peat pots just fit inside! Love the vintage red and white look with that wonderful OI stamp!

  11. This is very very cool Shelly! I'm still trying to figure out how you fit the base tray with the chipboard handle hanging off through your machine though. =)

  12. Amazing.....simply amazing!

  13. Love the Vintagy look of this caddy...but please, do tell us....whats the trick in getting the handle ,base tray w/die through the die cut machine?? :)

  14. Beautiful like everything else. Thank you for the post.

  15. This is amazing. How fun would it be to show up at a craft class carrying this little guy with all your supplies?!

  16. Crazy wonderful! I'm in awe, as usual! Sensational piece of work - love the red and the embossing too!


  17. This is TOO COOL Shelly! I love the way your mind thinks! You must have a large die cut machine to make the handle work. Love the inserts that fit perfectly in as well! You rock!!!

  18. Awesome! I might make one for my desk.

  19. What a wonderful creative design using the simple box Shelly! I love how realistic the handle and sanded edges look - thanks for sharing all the details!


Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate your comments so much!