Friday, 22 November 2013

A birthday gift box

I needed to make a box for a piece of jewellery I had made for a gift and at first I was thinking of being lazy and just making it out of design paper, but not like me to pass up a chance to get inky and painty, I got thinking to how I could make the box from scratch incorporating some of the techniques on the Paperartsy blog this week. I've used some techniques from this week's guest designer Liz Borer and also some from Darcy Wilkinson's post about creating wrapping paper.

I started off blending some fresco paints, starting with snowflake, then pansy and finally claret. I watered them down quite a bit to give me more play time and make them easier to mix together. I painted the sheets quite roughly with a sponge applicator and then left them to dry. Luckily this doesn't take very long as I'm very impatient! So this is what I ended up with first:

(I had two of these but the other photo was blurry. They were pretty much the same though.)

I then decided to double stamp the flower image randomly over the paper. First I used snowflake and then claret. And then a happy accident! I wanted to fill the gaps between the flowers with a 'happy birthday' sentiment using stir 2 transfer foils. I 'inked' up the sentiment with a glue pad, stamped and then pressed the foil over the top. But it didn't transfer (and yes, I did have it the right way up). I tried it again but this time rubbed my finger nail over the top and instead of sticking to the glue it just came off where I'd rubbed my nail. Luckily, I quite liked the random scribble effect that came out so all was not lost!

Then to turn it all into a box. I cut one piece for the base at 7 inches square (I never work in inches but for some reason this seemed easier!) and the piece for the top just slightly larger at 7 and a quarter inches. Now, this tip I learnt from watching a demo from Kay Rutter of Hougie fame to make the lid fit the box. Cut one piece just slightly larger than the other but score them both at the same place - I scored mine at 1/2 inch, 1 1/2 inches and 2 1/2 inches - then rotate and score again until you have done all four sides. By doing this the bigger piece ends up just slightly bigger in the centre but you've saved yourself a lot of measuring and working out of quarter inches!

Red = cut lines, black = score and fold lines, blue = discard (or use to make embellishments).

I folded the boxes together and cut a square to stick in the base of each, just to hide any accidental paint splodges and make it look a lot neater. I also cut small semi circles out of two opposite sides of the lid to make it easier to get in the box.

Finally, I wanted to decorate the top of the box somehow so decided to have a go at another of Liz Borer's techniques. I didn't have any grunge paste but did have something similar which is acrylic modelling paste. I mixed it with the left over claret I had on my craft mat and enough water to make it workable with a paintbrush. Unfortunately this didn't work at all (it looked like a 3 year old had done it!) so I had a rethink and decided to make a ribbon flower. However, I didn't have any ribbon the right colour so I decided to do a little experimentation. I remember watching a Paperartsy video (don't know which one!) which said that unlike normal acrylics, Frescos don't dry solid on your brush/sponge etc and I wondered if I could use this to my advantage. So, I painted a piece of white silk ribbon with claret and left it to dry. And it worked!

Here is the finished box closed:

And containing its gift:

I really enjoyed making this and trying out lots of different techniques! I would like to enter into this week's Paperartsy challenge by Liz Borer.


  1. This is wonderful, really well done. love the bumped flower, and yes frescos work great to colour up ribbons to match.

  2. This is so beautiful and pretty. Colours gradation is great. I love cute ribbon embellishment.

  3. You are very brave... made 1 or 2 boxes before, but for some reason they're never quite right! I have to try the foil "technique" you discovered, sounds like fun.

  4. Oh what a beautiful creation - so glamorous, and I love your happy accident with the random scribbles! I just popped over to say thank you so much for your lovely words on my PaperArtsy creations this month - so much appreciated. Sorry it's taken me so long to catch up!
    Alison x

  5. stunning gift box emma.the flowers and colours are gorgeous ;D

    xx coops xx

  6. Such a pretty box Emma, really lovely :o) Hugs, Lisa x