I love book boxes. The idea of getting a “surprise” book and items to go with it every month or every couple months is so fun. But I also know they can be pricey and that makes it hard to give them as gifts. Because how can you choose one theme as a gift or hope that it’ll include the right kind of items or the right kind of book for a person?

But I wanted to do something bookish as a birthday gift for someone. So after thinking about it and soaking up ideas from other people, I decided to create my own “book box” for her.

Originally, I wanted to do something for the Once Upon a Con series by Ashley Poston, since the person receiving the gift expressed interest in owning the series. But after searching online for merch or fan art, I was struggling to come up with enough items for a good price alongside buying all three of the books in hardcover (so they matched). So I set that idea aside. (Maybe I’ll do it for Christmas? Or make it less book box and just here are the books and some fun items!)

So then I had to think of another book I love enough to give as a gift and pull together corresponding items. I settled on The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, for a couple reasons. 1. It’s one of my favorite books ever and I reread it every fall so I have a pretty good idea of the story. 2. This person is part of a book club that is going to be reading this book for November so now she doesn’t have to find it another way. 3. There is a lot of merch and fan art available to buy, including art from the author.

Thus began the search for items. I checked Etsy and other small artist sites like Society 6 and Red Bubble. I searched Google and found items from Novelly Yours. I made a list of possible items, a list of definite items, and then a list of costs.

I’m not exactly sure what I paid for the whole thing (I don’t know if I want to know) since I bought a past box from Novelly Yours and kept some of the items for myself. (It was cheaper to buy the past box as a whole than individual items.) I also purchased two things from Maggie Stiefvater’s Society 6 shop and some of the items came in multiples, so while I paid more I did get items I can give to someone else or keep for myself. But overall I’m pretty happy with the items I purchased and I’m glad I was able to find a variety of items to go with the book.

The way I set up the book box is similar to Once Upon a Book Club where I wrapped the individual items and marked the packages with corresponding page numbers. So essentially as she reads, she’ll get to a page with a sticky note and open up a gift that goes along with the scene or a quote from that page.

I also decorated a box to put all the items in. I took an old Owlcrate box I received, painted it with white gesso, then painted on waves and quotes. I did waves because 1. it was easier than painting/drawing something like a horse (which I have no artistic capability of doing) and 2. it goes well with the book and looks nice. I’m very proud of how the box came out.

Like I said, I’m pretty excited how it all turned out. I love the quality of the items I got from both Novelly Yours and Maggie Stiefvater’s Society 6 shop. I love how the box turned out. I’m looking forward to find out how this person reacts to the items and the story. I created a video that highlights each item and which page she’ll open it at, if you’re curious!

Some of this seems like a lot more work than I normally would put into a gift, but I feel it was worth it. I like the idea of creating personal book boxes for people I know with books I love and items they’ll enjoy. As fun as book boxes can be, they’re marketing to hundreds of people and I don’t always get a book I love or items I’ll use, so creating my own with a specific person in mind was a fun challenge. I might do more of these in the future, so I’ll share them if I do!