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This art project can be done with almost any age group or level of ability. Certain substitutions should be made if a person is unable to use scissors, eats things that are not food, or worries needlessly about making a mess. Making art should be messy and fun. You will need the following items:


white and colored construction paper

old magazines and duplicate photographs

scraps of brightly colored cloth (old silk ties are great for this)

string, thread or yarn

several sizes of boxes (ideally boxes with lids or ones that can be taped closed)

non-toxic glue

non-toxic paint, crayons, markers

matte acrylic medium, paint brush

scissors (or just rip with hands)


The idea here is to have a person think in squares if possible. Choose which box you want to use and tape it closed. Cereal boxes, old cardboard jewelry boxes, Pop-Tart boxes are all acceptable. You can work as small or as large as you want. Roughly draw a grid on each side of the box, the size of the squares to be determined by the person making it. From here, you ask them to choose either a favorite color or piece of cloth, and assist in cutting to size, if needed. Continue filling in the squares by gluing whatever is desired. It's fine if edges overlap; we're not trying to reinvent the Rubik's Cube.


Some people like music when they make art; others prefer silence and some conversation. Do what works best. After all four sides of the box are covered, apply a thin coating of the matte acrylic medium. Let the box dry until it is no longer sticky. These memory mapping boxes can be hung from the ceiling with fishing line, arranged on a table, or placed on a shelf. As always, sign and date your art work. You'll be surprised at how calming these are to make and how unique each box will be.

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