Altered Box Fetish, Part One

I have a passion for creating beautiful things that I can give as gifts. I believe that gifts which are handmade are more cherished (and more valuable) than a gift that is store bought. Anyone can run to the store and pick out a gift — even if they struggle to decide what to get. A purchased gift can be cheap, expensive, or somewhere in between. But a gift that someone took their time to put together with their own hands is priceless.

Altered Box
Altered Box

I made the altered box above for a friend who is always thinking of others. It was a fun project that took about a day using “tricks of the trade” to speed the process up. It came out beautifully and I know LaShawn is going to love it. When I was making this one, I simply created. I didn’t worry with taking pictures or creating a video of my process. I wanted to be free to create and see what would come.

Now it’s time to share my fetish with you…

I am working on another altered box. This one I believe I will keep for myself, but we will see. Here is a list of the products I am using for this box:

Empty Box — wood or cardboard, doesn’t matter
DecoArt Media Gesso
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint, Everlasting
DecoArt Modeling Paste
DecoArt Media Misters, various colors
Liquitex Glass Beads
Tim Holtz Sprocket Gears
Tim Holtz Swivel Clasps
Tim Holtz Mini Gears
Copper Chain
Palette Knife

Did I mention that I am a ? I love their products and their quality!

And since I’m sharing it with you, I am taking a photo history of the process:

  1. My Box - Top
    My Box – Top

    First, I took the modeling paste and a stencil and stenciled all over the box in random places. I didn’t care whether or not I got full impressions or if some of the impressions were smudged when I removed the stencil. I was looking for “recognizable” texture here. Not necessarily neat and complete sprocket and gear stenciled shapes.

  2. My Box - Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting
    My Box – Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting

    Next, I painted on a coat of Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint (color: Everlasting).  I was hoping that the chalky finish would take well to the shellacked finish on the box, and it did although it was clear I would need more than one coat.

  3. My Box - DecoArt Media Crackle Paint (white)
    My Box – DecoArt Media Crackle Paint (white)

    I then used a palette knife to spread on some DecoArt Media Crackle Paint in various spots all over the box. While that was drying, I added the Liquitex Glass Beads using the palette knife and ensuring that in some places the two mediums overlapped.

  4. My Box - DecoArt Media Crackle Paint (White)
    My Box – DecoArt Media Crackle Paint (White)

    Here is a close up of a corner that has the Crackle Paint on it. I let the Crackle Paint air dry because the cracks form more nicely that way as opposed to fast drying with a heat tool. When the Crackle Paint and the glass beads were fully dry, I painted on 2 coats of the DecoArt Media Gesso, followed by a coat of Chalky Finish paint.

And that’s where I stopped for the evening…

Next, I will start adding bits and baubles to the surface like the Tim Holtz Sprocket Gears and Swivel Clasps, beads, buttons, and other ephemera. I haven’t decided if I am going to use a hot glue gun to attach the items, or Liquitex Super Heavy Gel Medium. I have seen these altered boxes made using either of those products. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the heavy gel medium. It obviously works — many artists use it — but I would think the drying time would be a pain in the you-know-where! Pieces slipping and sliding and shifting until the gel medium dried completely… I think it would cause me to scream!

On the flip side of that, there’s got to be a good reason why so many use gel medium instead of a hot glue gun. I’m off to do some research tonight to see if I can find out the reason. Either way, come back tomorrow to get Part Two of this step-by-step process.


This post is Day 12 of Effy Wild’s September Blog Along…

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