about pray•o•dexes

Early this year in 2011 I wrote a post about Pray•O•Dexes, a specific type of prayer box I made for myself and many friends. Some boxes I sold, some I gave away, and some have been sitting in a cabinet for the past nine months.

I know some of the boxes have been useful and some have merely collected dust (and that’s okay). I’ve used mine consistently since last April, and I’ll tell you–it’s made a huge difference in my prayer life. It reminds me to pray over specific people and situations, helps me organize my prayers so I don’t feel overwhelmed with praying over every need all at once (or “forgetting” someone), and keeps me focused during my quiet time.

For some reason, the boxes have been on my mind the past few days. Then I received an email from a lady interested in the process I used to make the boxes. So, rather than keeping it to myself/ourselves, I’m posting it all here.

Note: I always get big craft ideas but am somehow missing the craft DNA to execute them properly. Certainly craftier people than me would have made them more efficiently, but I love my box, so that’s okay. Just keep in mind you want to make something you’re not going to get tired of seeing every day. So anything too outlandish or too plain might get a little “old” after a while.

You can use any size box/card you want, but this is what I envisioned, so this is what I did:

1. Found the recipe boxes. I wanted sturdy wooden ones I could paint and the local craft stores didn’t have them. I ordered mine online at Sunshine Discount Crafts (Product #WD-DP-9190-126), which worked out great since I wanted to buy many at once and they have discounts for bulk.

If you don’t want to paint yours, you can always look for cheap ones at craft stores or Wal-Mart-type stores and cover it with paper you like. I’ve seen great tutorials online on how to cover recipe boxes. I know our local Michaels had some recipe boxes for $1 that could be covered pretty easily.

2. Painted the boxes. For most of the boxes, I painted them white first and then added designs with acrylic paints and paint pens. Smarter people than me probably would have used a primer first, but I’m not so smart at craft things.

After the designs were the way I wanted, I covered each box with a couple layers of clear gloss acrylic spray sealers, mainly just because I like the way it looks. Also to help protect the boxes from spills and other accidents.

3. Cut the dividers. I wanted custom dividers for my box. If you’re not as Type A as I am, I would probably suggest buying whatever the store has for recipe box dividers and sprucing them up a little. Instead, I bought a big book of scrapbooking paper and used my paper trimmer to make my own.

First I cut each piece of paper to 14cm x 9cm. (I think I used cm instead of inches because it was easier to measure such small dimensions. You may have to mark the papers in cm and then cut with a paper cutter that uses inches. Sorry about that.) I left a few pages at this size to use for generic dividers in my box. The rest of the papers I cut dividers for the left, middle, and right tabs, alternating paper designs.

Each tab is 4.5cm x 1cm. I thought it would be easiest to upload diagrams of each divider’s size so you know where to cut. All the images are at the bottom of this post.

I thought it would be cute to round the edges of the dividers but quickly discovered it was next to impossible with the corner tool I had and the sizing of the tabs as they are. Failed.

4. Labeled the dividers. I bought a pack of the Avery Labels #5167 and printed a bunch of labels, stuck them on the dividers, and done! The labels I use in my box are: Every Day, Immediate Family, Extended Family, Friends, Unbelievers, Ministries, Missionaries, Business, School, Lubbock, Texas, USA, World, & Personal. Other people have also used: Co-workers, Clients, Promises, Small Group, Church.

5. Laminated the dividers. Because I’m nerdy, I bought a thermal laminator on sale online so I could laminate my own. You can get thermal laminating pouches just about anywhere. My first set of dividers I laminated at FedEx Office because I was too impatient to wait for the laminator to come in. For just one person, it’s worth the cost. But if you want to make a bunch of boxes, it would be cheaper in the long run to buy the laminator on your own. Plus you can always use it for other projects.

Remember the lamination, even when trimmed, will make the cards slightly larger than the initial 14cm x 9cm size. So if you decide to make the cards a different size, keep the lamination in mind.

6. Bought a bunch of notecards. I replenish these often. Some cards I go through every ten days or so and some cards take me months to complete (depending on how many people/items are in each section).

That’s it!

I’m also attaching photos of boxes I completed as well as an “instruction card” I included with each batch to give people a starting place. Good luck, and if you make your own, I’d love to see what you come up with.