I have three books about my patron saint filed in between a prayer book and a biography of JPII. Unfortunately, I’ve only skimmed through all five of those books on my shelf. I am so grateful to those who gave them to me at my Confirmation, but I wanted to make sure my gift for my confirmand/spons-ee was different.

Here’s an idea that came to me in the craft store as I was starting to stress about what to make for my spons-ee (we’ll call her Catherine, for her patron, St. Catherine of Bologna): a prayer and letter box. Perhaps you want to put your Pinteresting skills to the test and try this out. Even if you’re attending a Confirmation this week, I guarantee you can complete this in only a few hours.
Step 1: What the heck is a prayer and letter box?

I write letters to my future husband. I started a few years ago when my mom suggested it and I have a collection of them in a battered envelope, waiting to be distributed on my wedding night. I also write letters and journal entries to God.

When I passed by those naked wood boxes in the craft store, I immediately decided I would create a box for Catherine to begin a similar tradition. Of course, no pressure Catherine, you can store your earrings in the box I gave you, but I was hoping it might be a spot for any little treasures you might award your husband, your future self, or some of your future sisters (should God call you to the religious life).

It’s like a life map in a box!

Unfortunately, I had a brain fart and didn’t take a picture of the final product before wrapping it. If Catherine is willing to snap a photo, I will post it.

Step 2: Supply gathering

  • Glaze medium for acrylic paint (a color for the box and a color for text)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Rag
  • Thin paint brush
  • Fancy schmancy paper
  • White school glue
  • Confidence that YOU CAHN DOOOO EEEEET!

Step 3: Decoration

Before I did anything with paint, I cut out the fancy schmancy paper so it would fit as a lining in the top and bottom of the inside of the box. It will give it a finished look and prevent you from having to paint the inside!

I chose to mix the glaze medium with the acrylic paint and rub it on with the rag because A) It’s more forgiving and faster than painting several coats of a solid color and B) I know Catherine loves the beach and the turquoise color with the wood grain showing through made it appear to belong in a seaside house.

Painter’s tip: Wax paper makes for a great palette 

Remember wood shop: Go with the grain. If the grain is running from left to right, rub from left to right. Keep a steady hand and concentrate on avoiding blotchy movements.

I left the inside wood untouched.

Next, patience. See? This project is a prayer journey for you, too! It won’t take long to dry if you’ve used my glaze method.

After it has dried, spread a LITTLE, glue onto the wood where you will place the fancy schmancy paper. We remembered wood shop and now we’re remembering preschool: too much glue warps paper. This box doesn’t need to stand up to high winds, so a little dab’ll do ya.

A little glue around the edge of the paper is wise

Carefully lay the paper onto the wood and smooth. Let that dry and VOILA! You’re done with the majority of the box!

Step 4: Inspiration

I grabbed a quote from St. Catherine of Bologna (which I have now forgotten) and chose to run it along the bottom of the box. Note: there aren’t many pulled quotes of this particular saint, as I’m sure is the case with other saints. I had to read a few of the letters she wrote to other nuns and brothers, which was spiritually enlightening for me. Oh God, You’re a tricky one!

This is the most time-consuming part of the process. If you don’t trust your hand with a paint brush and lettering, use a paint pen. If you do try your hand with the paint brush technique, use a fine brush and wash the paint off of it every three to five minutes.

The project before the quote addition.

It seems over the top to wash it that often, but otherwise your brush will clog up and you will get frustrated at your preschooler handwriting (I speak from experience).

Finally, when writing your letter to your confirmand, explain to them why you think it’s important to keep prayer in his or her daily life. Tell him or her that many of the saints wrote letters to each other because (SHOCK, AWE) texting was, for the most part, unavailable.

Maybe some teens will actually give this a try. I wish I had one of these filled with letters from a 15-year-old Elizabeth!