Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Instant Comfort - today's art therapy project

In my art therapy group today I brought in small match boxes - easy to carry in your pocket.  The idea is to have something to remind you of good self talk when your most troublesome emotion is bothering you.  The outside of the box tells what bothers you.  Inside are words and phrases you can say to yourself for comfort.

Here's what my students created.

UPDATE:  Since several people have asked me how I did this, here is a small tutorial (without photos, I'm sad to say.)
  • Buy a packet or two of small match boxes at any supermarket and empty the matches out.  (If you light them (not all at once!) and quickly blow them out you can later use the matchsticks for other projects.
  • Cut the cover.  Cut some cardstock in a long rectangle, enough to wrap around the outside of the box plus 1/2 inch to glue or tape it together. DO crease the rectangle at the points where they bend around the corners.  This gives students a nice template for designing the front, sides, and back. DO NOT tape this cover on yet.  
  • Have your student decorate this outer cover paper, featuring the troublesome emotion on the front.  All the other sides can be decorated as well.
  • Cut the inside.  Cut another piece of cardstock that fits inside the box.  Before you glue it in, have your students write their comforting words on it.  Then glue it into the box.
  • Glue or tape on the decorated cover paper to the outside of the box.  Voila!


  1. I used this idea with several of my students: a 4th grade boys' anxiety group, a 5-year-old who is looking for an adoptive home, and a first grader whose mom passed away a year ago. They all LOVED the project and all of them have told me they keep referring to their boxes. Thanks for the wonderful project idea!

    Now I just need an idea for what to do with all those wooden matches I took out of the boxes. :-)

  2. Where did you find the matchboxes? I don't have any at home. Did you take off the part that is struck to light a match? THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL ACTIVITY!

    1. Well Laura, you can go to google and enter in the box, 'matchbox templates' and it will throw you a bunch of templates. I did it and it worked amazingly! Have a nice day!

  3. I love it. I love it, but I am using an empty Altoids box. Counseling hands on for the kids I work with is SO helpful, thank you.

  4. Works well as a little envelope with a card in it too.