You’ve created the perfect tiny treasure for a special someone but now you need a special way to present it. And an ordinary gift bag just. won’t. do. This charming vintage gift box will be adored long after the inner treat has been enjoyed.
I’m pulling from the archives today because I have a Valentine gift box that’s so special, the darling recipient still has it on display several years after I gave it to her. It’s called a “tussie mussie,” and it ranks up there in our Top 5 favorite projects from “Mom’s craft room.” And it makes us go all warm and fuzzy every time we look at it. Not to mention it was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever made. (I’m at my happiest when I’m elbow-deep in flowers, ribbon and glitter. Especially if they’re in the ice creamy colors shown here.)
So what IS a “tussie mussie?”
Glad you asked. A tussie mussie was a small silver cone used in Victorian times to hold a small nosegay of flowers. What’s a nosegay? It’s a sweet way of saying ” tiny bouquet.” Like bouquet-lets, but so much cuter. And tussie mussies held these tiny bouquets because back in those days flowers conveyed hidden meanings, and ladies walked around chit chatting to the world without even opening their mouths.
For instance, a single red rose meant “I love you.” (It still does.) But a marigold shouted either grief, despair or jealousy. On the other hand, the petunia conveyed resentment, anger, or “your presence soothes me.” Talk about bi-polar. Thankfully modern-day petunias simply say “look how pretty I am.” But all that’s for another blog post. Today, we’re going to make a cute vintage gift box that can hold a small piece of jewelry, a gift card or some Valentine candies.
Here’s how you can make it too.
Note: Forgive the slightly-less-than-razor-sharp photography. Archival photos are sometimes a bit, well, “less” than photos taken with current technology. Let’s just call these images “vintage” too.
Materials for the Vintage Valentine Gift Box
The gorgeous vintage-look digital papers all came from Heather Hudson’s Etsy shop. And you’ll notice she used this project as one of her sample images. (I’ve been published – squeee!)
- Romantic Roses Tussie Mussie (it comes in four colors)
- Romantic Focals Cupid Tussie Mussie Collage Sheet (contains various elements to create beautiful tussie mussies)
- Conversation Hearts Valentine Digital Collage Sheet (four sheets of images = dozens of creative possibilities)
- Roses and Sweetheart Blossoms from Really Reasonable Ribbon
- Art Glitter
- Mica Flakes
- Pop Dots
- Distress Ink (Vintage Photo)
- Ribbon: Leaf ribbon and seam binding (not sewing seam binding, this is soft rayon ribbon for crafting)
- Vintage lace
Putting this vintage gift box together
- Be sure to ink all paper edges first! This adds SO much vintage appeal to this project.
- Consider decorating all four sides before folding into a cone shape. I didn’t, which makes the process a bit more challenging.
Cut out and roll up the base tussie mussie piece. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of the basic assembly back then. But believe me when I tell you it’s easy. You can either print and cut the piece on a cutting machine (I used my Silhouette Cameo, which made cutting a breeze), or you can do it by hand. The score lines are printed, so scoring (then folding) takes mere seconds. Adhere the flap with liquid glue.
Cut the single heart pieces from the collage sheet. These go on top of each side of the base piece, and I popped them all up on Pop Dots for added dimension. Easy peasy. Now for the fun part.
I decorated each side slightly differently, but with the same theme in mind.
- I applied mica chips around the edge of the large pink heart for instant texture.
- The text boxes came from Heather’s collage sheet. (Don’t forget to ink their edges too.)
- I painted the Sweetheart Blossoms with wheat-colored homemade shimmer paint because they were too pink and I wanted them more of a warm, glisten-y peach.
- And I inked the edges of the rose and applied just a titch of glitter for glamour. (“Titch” = the teensiest bit imaginable.)
- The green leaf ribbon was allowed to wind and ramble around all four sides like a real vine would, and I glittered them with a “titch” of green Art Glitter. A little glamour goes a long way here.
- A green/blue base heart edged with mica
- More painted flowers and another glittered rose
- A conversation heart (more on these in a moment)
- A big, squashy seam binding bow using the “Colleen Bow” technique.
- The Valentine Cupid with glitter accents to her hat and bottom-covering (yes, even her edges were inked) I tucked her in a little bit behind the base heart shape. She’s kind of shy.
- More mica chips on this large pink base heart
- More painted Sweetheart Blossoms
- A micro pearl loop under the glittered rose
- Another conversation heart
- Mica chips again
- Glittered rose on top of a squashy “Colleen Bow” (note that the two squashy bows are on opposing sides for balance.)
- More painted Sweetheart Blossoms
- One more conversation heart
How to add instant fun to a Valentine project
This Valentine’s Day gift box was already a beautiful project, but what put it over the top was the addition of these adorable conversation hearts. The set comes with four sheets: one with vintage images, two with cute little sayings (just like the candy version) and one with foldable hearts. You can mix and match them to your heart’s content. I chose to layer them using the folding hearts for a base, then an image heart on top, popped up for depth. But I wrote my own little messages on the inside for a more personal note.
See, I told you this was from the archives. But this adorable Valentine gift box is as loved today as it was then. And it’s still sparkly gorgeous, too.
The insides of the hearts were a little too white for my liking, so I painted them with my handmade shimmer paint in soft pink. Stark white has no place on a vintage project like this.
The frosting on this vintage gift box’s cake is the vintage lace that I was lucky to find in an antiques shop – the colors matched the papers exactly! And I added a seam binding loop to the inside of the box, which you can’t see here. I didn’t photograph it because believe it or not, I didn’t have a decent place in my entire house to photograph hanging projects! (I’m in a different house now with plenty of hanging opportunities.)
I don’t even remember what I put in this box – probably some small candies. I just remember the squeals of delight when my daughter received this precious little Valentine gift.
Now it’s your turn
Are you making a gift box are you making for a Valentine sweetie? Will it be vintage? Doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t, I’d love to see it on the G&B Facebook page. Or pop on over to my Instagram feed and share it there. And if you have a story to go with it, so much the better!
Until then, happy crafting!
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