How to Make a Hope Chest. Traditions have changed over time but some good ideas have remained the same. Many years ago a tradition for unmarried women to prepare for marriage was to keep their things in a special box. They filled the box with items that would be practical and saved with hope for marriage. That's how the tradition of the hope box was created. You can make one of your very own.
Make your box of hope. The first thing to decide is what type of material the box will be made out of. The most common is cedarwood because it is not only durable but it is deliciously aromatic. The pleasant scent is a natural moth repellent and it keeps some other creepy crawlers away like spiders. Cherry, walnut and pine wood are also used and often lined with cedar to protect the items.
Design your hope chest to suit your particular taste. The average size for a chest is about 3 to 5 feet long, 2-feet wide and around 2-feet deep. Add a touch of class with elegant scroll work or intricate hand carved detail to any chest. Or, just keep it plain and simple with very little markings and place a bold lock on the front just for looks.
Hand your hope chest down to your child. Whether that's a boy or a girl it doesn't matter because it will be cherished by their family. Fill the chest with their baby pictures, baby book, scrapbook, trinkets, family photos, the family tree, Christmas ornaments, school work and awards.
Give it to your sweet sixteen on their birthday with a big bow. Fill it up with their piggy bank from childhood full of money. If they are planning to go to college start filling it up with all the things he/she will need for their dorm if they'll be away. This can be items such as blankets, toiletries, a photo album of the family, notebooks, highlighters, a good reading book, a completed address book and a personal letter wishing them good luck.
Save it for your grandchild. Paint a picture and sign it, write a poem or knit a scarf. Sort through the attic and basement and fill the hope chest with those antiques you've been saving. Put bed and table linens, china, pots and pans, tools, cast iron, genuine silver and a pocket watch in the chest.
Store your hope chest. In the meantime you'll probably need somewhere to put it while you're filling it up. Hope chests are like a piece of furniture so they can go anywhere in the house. Most of the time it is placed at the end of the bed with a cushion on it to also serve as a seat but it can be placed in any room.
Use it as storage or for personal items. Put seasonal clothing items in the hope chest to make room in your closet. Hide away your sexiest lingerie and private love letters. Line small gift boxes with satiny material to store special jewelry. Keep documents safe. Make a chest for yourself or someone else, everyone needs a little hope.
Remember, if your hope chest does have a working lock - make 2 keys in case one gets lost.