Thursday, January 30, 2014

Movie or Book Cover Matchboxes

One weekend I meandered into one of LA's independent bookstores in the oh-so-trendy/hipster heaven Silver Lake neighborhood. I passed the register and came across these unique matchboxes, some with old movie posters on them and others with old book covers. "These are so cool!", I thought. "I wonder how much they're charging." If you're like me, you'd assume somewhere in the ballpark of 50 cents. That's reasonable, right? Ha, silly me... this is the city of overpriced everything so make that $2/matchbox. Seriously. So why not make your own and pick your OWN covers to boot?

Here's what you'll need:
1. Matchboxes (I bought mine without matches in them)
2. Mod Podge
3. A paintbrush
4. A ruler
5. Scissors
6. A computer and printer

I decided I would do my sister's book, "Giant Dance Party", since I could scan the front, side, and back of the book (and hopefully not get sued). For the others, I decided to take old book covers and their corresponding movie posters and match them per matchbox (examples here include "The Great Gatsby" and "A Clockwork Orange"). Now while you don't have to paint the matchbox beforehand, you're certainly welcome to if white isn't your neutral.

The hardest part of all of this is measuring the darn matchbox. I used Word to measure and print the photos. To save you some time and frustration, here's what I figured out:

If you just want to cover the front and the back and not the sides, have your photos be 2.06" x 1.37" (or 1.38" - you can always trim it if it's not perfect). If you want to include the side like it's a book, have the spine be 2.12" x .6"

See this photo? Don't do this
After your photos are measured and cut out, take your paintbrush, dip it in your Mod Podge, and put a very thin layer on the matchbox. Put your photo on top and again with your paintbrush, put a thin layer on top of the photo to protect it. I emphasize doing a thin layer because if you lay on the Mod Podge thick, it's going to a.) take longer to dry and b.) you could have some uneven glue on the box itself. Not very professional or attractive. Trust me on this, I found out the hard way. 
It shouldn't take too long to dry and voila! Your boxes are ready to be filled!

Maybe the dancer in your house has bobby pins that need wrangling...

Or you have some coins that need to be put in a safe place...

Or heck, maybe you just need a place for your matches!

In any case, have fun make something creative that speaks to you and save those $2 for something worthwhile!

TOTAL COSTS: About $14
$4.99 for 30 matchboxes from Amazon
$8.99 for 16 oz. of Mod Podge from Michael's (I used maybe 1 Tablespoon's worth)
Scissors, ruler, paintbrush and printer/computer already on hand

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: About 20 minutes
10 minutes to measure, print, cut out, and glue on
10 minutes to dry

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy-5 very difficult): 2 out of 5
As I said, the hardest part is just getting the measurements right and if you're a perfectionist, this might drive you up the wall. However, it's really not that hard, given the measurements I provided and the rest is just to cut and paste! Take that Hollywood hipsters!


  1. could go to the Dollar Store and get 10 matchboxes...or you could go to the Dollar Store and get a mini bottle of Mod Podge. You spent $14 and I spent $2.

  2. Wow! Thanks a ton for that idea. I was going to print the movie posters on card stock and fold...this just made life easier! Thank you really!

  3. How do you strike the match?