A Bright Idea: Recycle A Pasta Box & Transform Into This Magical Light Box

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights

We are Italian, so we eat a lot of pasta. It’s our love language. We still dream of all the delicious pasta we ate everyday in Italy. We love to cook pasta for our families, too. Whether it’s with red sauce, or a creamy pesto sauce, and topped with meat or vegetables, we love to cook it…and devour it. Most of us are gluten free, and initially (years ago), pasta just wasn’t the same. Now, there are so many wonderful gluten free options at the store, we cannot even tell the difference. It’s so yummy. Barilla is hands-down our favorite. It tastes delicious, and it’s easy to cook. Plus, we can buy spaghetti noodles, lasagna no-boil noodles, penne and more! This post is not sponsored by Barilla (we genuinely love their products), although we would love to make some recipes sponsored by them. Hint, hint!

Recently, our Barilla gluten free penne box not only inspired a meal, but also a craft. We recycled the box, and transformed it into a DIY light box for Valentine’s Day. Now, that’s a bright idea worth sharing! The kids helped paint the boxes, and we cut the hearts, so it was a family effort. This DIY project costs very little money, it can be shipped to a loved one, aka grandparents, easily because it’s very lightweight, and when lit, it’s magical. It’s hard not to feel the love when those lights comes on inside the box. If you have little ones that want to continue crafting after they decorate the box, save some noodles, and paint them too. Send a pretty DIY necklace along with the box.

Let’s get started…

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights


  • Barilla pasta box
  • Acrylic paint (optional: glitter and stickers)
  • Paintbrush
  • cellophane paper
  • Xacto knife
  • double-sided tape
  • twinkle lights (remote-operated, color or white lights work)
  • Paint pen, Elmer’s, fine tip


Step 1: Find a heart printable on the internet. Print it. Tape it on top of the box, and begin to cut with the Xacto knife.

Step 2: Paint the box. Two coats is best, depending on the saturation and paint color you choose.

Step 3: Once paint is dry, cut small boxes of cellophane sheets to match the size of each heart. Place the small square over the heart, to make sure it fits. Add a small square of double sided tape to each corner of the box. Now, carefully use your fingers to place the cellophane box inside the pasta box behind the heart you sized it for. Press down on each corner so it stays in place. Repeat until all the hearts have a colorful cellophane sheet behind them.

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights

Step 4: Place twinkle lights inside. Move them around as you need. As far as twinkle lights go, the colorful ones were the brightest, and we liked them the best. But, white lights are pretty, too. These are so small, the battery pack can be glued inside the box, but not sure they will be the brightest due to 20 fairy lights on each string. If you use a small pasta box, these would work great, and you get more of them, so more bang for your buck.

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights

Step 5: With the paint pen, add a cute phrase like, “You light up my life.” on the bottom clear cellophane strip already on the pasta box. If you want to make it extra special, you can add a photo behind one of the hearts, too.

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights


diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights

diy recycled pasta box-light box craft-twinkle lights

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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october recap

We’re happy to report that we have our ‘bug’ debugged {fingers crossed that didn’t jinx it}, and our blog is back in business. So, while our posts have been live on the web, you {all our fabulous readers} have not received them via email. So, during your relaxing {or busy} weekend, take the time to catch up on all the fabulousness that’s been happening at Tutto Bella.

If you love chocolate or you’re looking for the perfect party dessert, read all about this chocolate mousse. Yummy.

The colors of the rainbow have never looked so good than when Drew Coleman, Event Consultant at Life Design Event Planning, and his team set up this shoot – seriously, so pretty.

It’s the time of year to bundle up…don’t forget to bundle up your home accessories too with these fuzzy sweater ideas. 

After you carve your pumpkin this year, make this spiced pumpkin seeds recipe.

Looking for a Longchamp bag steal…look no further than here.

We are head over heals for this lovely vintage glamorous shoot. 

This creamy Italian pasta recipe will have your guests asking for seconds, and you reigning as a domestic goddess.

If you like a good deal like we do, you will love these fall steals.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken Recipe

We are proud to be Italian Americans. And, having studied in Florence, Italy {all of us}, we are really proud to be Italian and are in love with the Italian culture. Sometimes we wish we could call Italy home at least 6 months of the year. And, I know all 3 of us wish we were fluent in the language. I don’t know how {yes, we do…they are wonderful, good men…and have those dreamy blue eyes that were foreign in our family}, but all 3 of us fell in love with Irish and Scottish men. Go figure.

Today, in honor of Christopher Columbus, the explorer, navigator and colonizer of Italian descent, and Columbus day, we are sharing one of our favorite pasta recipes we make for our families, so you too can celebrate this Italian holiday. Don’t forget to pair with a bold red vino – Brunello di Montalcino is our fave!

BTW, this is not a fat-free recipe, but you have to give yourself permission to indulge every once in a while.

Creamy Pesto Pasta
serves 6
{recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Shrimp with Linguine in a Pesto Cream Sauce}

1 pound linguine, or spaghetti noodles
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pound sliced chicken breast
2 tablespoons Essence {homemade from Emeril recipe below}
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto {store bought or homemade}
1/4 cup reserved cooking water
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Set a large 1 gallon stock pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add noodles.
Set a large saute pan over medium high heat.
Add the butter and olive oil to the pan.
Once the butter has melted, season the chicken with 1 tablespoon Essence and add to the pan.
Cook until no longer pink. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute
Add the cream, pesto, remaining tablespoon of Essence seasoning and bring to a boil.

Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and reserved cooking water, and cook tossing to incorporate ingredients together for about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, add cooked noodles and sprinkle with parmesan.
Serve and enjoy.

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
{by the way, this is a great spice to add to potatoes for eggs and potatoes in the am, veggies and we season baked chicken with it all the time}
2.5 tablespoons Paprika
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

 Buono Appetito!

{images via Tutto Bella}