Just to demonstrate that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a colourful and interesting personalised gift.
I found a magazine for stamp collectors in a charity shop for 20p. A plain wooden “chest” style box from “The Works” ready for decorating costs £2.00
(1) Use a pencil to mark on the rim of the lid and the rim of the lower section where the screws line up to go into the hinges and the clasp.
(2) Unscrew the hinges and clasp, and set them aside. Sand down any roughness in the wood.
(3) If you want to leave any part of the box without decoupage, then you can paint those areas now (acrylics are great for this) whatever colour you want. Even if most of the box will be covered in paper, it can be useful to just paint the edges, so you don’t need to worry too much about decoupaging right up to the edge. DON’T paint over your pencil guide marks (you can paint over them later with a small brush if necessary.)
(4) While that is drying, take your magazine (on whatever subject – mine was stamps), and cutout the pictures you are going to use.
(5) Using watered-down PVA glue, cover the panels with your cutout pictures. Decoupage the inside panels as well if you like. Let the whole thing dry out thoroughly.
(6) Once dry, spray or paint the outside with clear gloss varnish. A couple of coats will be just enough to protect the box from finger marks when being handled.
(7) Use your pencil guidelines to re-instate the hinges and clasp.
(8) Paint over (or if leaving bare wood erase with pencil eraser) the pencil guidelines you used.