A Matchbox Full of Love




Introduction: A Matchbox Full of Love

For many people, 2020 is not going to feature on their "Top Ten" list of good years

A quick scout through the junk drawer in your kitchen, a little bit of printing and cutting and you can reach out to someone with a very touching gesture.

As well as saying positive things, this also tries to disempower some of the negative remarks which can be thrown around, so please make one of these and give it to someone who's needing a reminder that there is some good out there.


Junk from the back of a drawer.
A sheet of paper and either a printer or a pen.

Step 1: Pennies, Marbles and Candle

Start with a matchbox and take the matches out. It looks much nicer if you use a new box where the striker hasn't been used, but transfer the matches to an old box where they can still be struck.

Find the smallest coins you can. These are NZ 10 cent pieces, which are very similar in size and appearances to the British 1p piece. It can be said that someone "doesn't have two pennies to rub together" so put two of them into the matchbox and the recipient will not be in that category.

The hardest thing to find for this whole project are the marbles. The usual ones are just a bit too big to fit inside a matchbox, but they do vary a bit in size, so pick the smallest pair you can find. Saying that someone has "lost their marbles" means that they are irrational, so knowing where to find some marbles in a hurry can help them keep stay calm in troubled times.

Step 2: The Rest of the Contents

Go wild. If you can think of a small item which can have a positive message, or which can undermine a negative one, then see if you can't fit it into the matchbox.

I've put in:-

a shortened cake candle, to light the way for someone
a pencil to help them make their mark
a pencil eraser because we all make mistakes
a sticking plaster to heal them when they hurt
a couple of inches of string to help them make ends meet
a small piece of BluTak to help them stick to it
and a dark chocolate chip to remind them that bitter can be sweet too.

Once your matchbox is filled, time to do the instructions.

Step 3: Instructions

There are a PDF and an ODT version of what I printed out attached to this step, but if you don't have a printer then you can just write it out on a piece of paper.

I got a local print shop to put this onto quite thick card, and then cut out the list of contents, creased the sheet on the edge of a ruler and trimmed it to fit into the matchbox with a knife.

Given that this is literally a matchbox full of junk, the written content list is the most important part. The most surprising things can make a gesture or raise a smile, so as well as the kind of things I've suggested, see if you can add your own personal touch and write a justification for its inclusion which the recipient which understand.

I also included a note at the bottom that there were no matches in the matchbox because the recipient was matchless, so see how many things you can _not_ put into the box.

Step 4: Label and Ribbon

To seal the box, I could have wrapped it in a scrap of ribbon, but I didn't trust myself to knot it correctly.

I printed out a "Do not open unless ..." warning on card and then cut it to be just smaller than the top surface of the matchbox.

A hole punched in each corner let me thread the ribbon through. The ribbon remains flat against the underside of the matchbox (so it sits nicely on a surface).

The two ends can be brought together either on a short edge or a long edge. Again my ribbon skills were a concern, so I used a surgeon's knot as the first half of a bow, which allowed me to work the ribbon fairly tightly, while still letting it lie clear of the writing.

I've given these to a few people over the years and the intensity of their reaction has sometimes surprised me.

Let someone who's having a hard time know that you are thinking of them. It might make a big difference.

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    2 years ago

    Very well done! I’ve made larger versions of this and never thought of making them so small, but it’s so much more functional! I’m going to make my own matchboxes though since I have no idea what I’d ever do with so many matches! Thank you!

    Alex in NZ
    Alex in NZ

    Reply 2 years ago

    I'd love to know what things you put in your larger ones. Always on the lookout for new ideas to include.
    As far as using up the matches, Mythbusters did quite an impressive fireball with a load of match-heads (not recommended for use at home). I think it's traditional to build a model of the Eiffel Tower ;-)
    Thank you for your kind comment :-)