Friday, September 17, 2010

Altered Cigar Box

Last week I was searching for items I could use in my art, at a local antique store, and found this wonderful wooden cigar box for $2.50.  I also found some tiny bottle brush trees that I hope to use with a Christmas or winter scene in the future.  Pink Persimmon sells these adorable little chipboard houses, Vintage Colonial House by Melissa Frances and I have been wanting some.  Now I have to get them so I can use my little trees!!  Do you ever go to "antique stores" looking for great finds like these??  Not all of it is "antiques".  And you know what they say, "One man's junk is another man's treasure".  You have to be careful though.  Some of that stuff is priced crazy. 

I knew as soon as I seen the cigar box what I was going to do with it, because it has been one of those projects I've been planning on creating for a while.  I wanted to make a gift card set for my sweet mother-in-laws birthday in november and had been considering what I would store them in.

 I used "Butterfly Collector" and an art stencil - "Botanical Swirls",  by Layers of Color.

 If you have been following me for very long, then you know I LOVE butterflies.  And this set by Layers of Color is so gorgeous.  Especially that medallion.  Wanna see my butterfly shadow box I created earlier in the year??  Check it out HERE.  Sorry to get off subject, but it is one of my most favorite projects I have ever created and enjoyed seeing it as I walked through my diningroom this spring.  I even wrote a little poem to go with it with the intentions of creating a framed project using the poem, to set beside my butterfly box.  I'll have to add that next spring!

This project was a little messy to create, but worth it.  I could have just used patterned paper, but wanted more of a handmade, textured feel.  So, I created my own background. 

I honestly wasn't sure where I was going when I began the process and the end result was an accumulation of errors and layering color until I got the look I wanted.  So I will describe the process the best that I can, but know that what you should take from this is that sometimes you just have to sit down and play with color and mediums until you get the look you want.  My first panel turned out horrible.  But I learned from that and I'm very pleased with the results of my second panel. 

I started with a heavy cold pressed watercolor paper and trimmed to the size of the top of the box.  I watered down some acrylic paint, Making Memories Wisteria and brushed it over the paper.  I completely covered it with this wash and then let it dry.  Then I used my stencil to create some texture.  I used stencil adhesive, but the modeling paste is so thick, it might not be necessary.  Sorry, I haven't tested it.  With a palette knife (Just a plastic knife with a bent handle for easier handling.  Found in local craft store in the art section for about $1.  Well worth it, because that angled handled really helps) I spread light modeling paste (also found in the art section of local craft store) over the stencil.  Use the palette knife to level the paste and wipe off the excess.  Let this dry.  I really rushed mine and used a heat gun to help it along, because I had to move the stencil over to cover the entire panel.  You can see the raised area's created with the modeling paste a little better in this photo.

Next I realized I wanted two shades of purple.  So I used a stipple brush to pounce on another purple, Brilliance Pearlescent Purple.  These inks have just a little shimmer to them.  I inked up the Tim Holtz applicator tool with Pearlescent Chocolate and gently began adding it to the raised, modeling paste design.  Some of the ink got on the background, but that was ok.  I also distressed up the edges with it as well.  Then I decided I wanted to use gold as an accent, so I added a little gold pigment ink to the background.  It didn't really show up very well.  At this point I decided I had covered up too much of the lightest color purple I started with and began to pounce on some Brilliance Moonlight White to lighten some of the area's.  See how this process works, teehee.  And lastly I wanted the modeling paste swirls to stand out a little more. So I used a tiny paint brush and began adding Shimmerz Golden Wheat and Shimmerz Blingz Gold Glimmer here and there.  I didn't want to cover all of the swirls, because I wanted different shades.  By this time I had a mess and took a break to clean up the stencil / palette knife and my stipple brushes. 

I found a very old piece of DP in my stash by Colorbok that was a little lighter purple than the background.  I stamped my butterflies with Pearlescent Chocolate (This is my all time favorite brown ink.  I use it all the time, especially around the edge of images or projects to distress them).  Heat set.  Cut around edges with cuticle scissors (You have so much more control when cutting small images, or around curved lines, with cuticle scissors).  Add Shimmerz Golden Wheat and Lilac with a very small paint brush as shown.  If I got too much on a brown line, I used a tooth pick to scratch it off while it was still wet.  Add Stickles Glitz - Champayne to the little dots on the butterfly wings and on the body of the smaller butterflies.  Also add it to the outer border of the butterfly medallion.  Set this aside to dry.

Use Spellbinders Labels 1 and one of the Fancy Tags layered over one another to create a background for the butterfly pendant.

I realized that I needed  something in the corners so I found this really awesome Sizzlet set with decorative corners, Architectural Accents Set.  I think they turned out great!

After I finished the top panel, I painted the box brown.  I cut the side panels and ran them throught my Big Shot with a Cuttlebug embossing folder, then adhered them to the sides. I covered the top of the box with gold paper and then my butterfly panel.  I added these really awesome "feet".  They are by Tim Holtz.

There is nothing worse than having someone describe a process to you and not having an idea what they are talking about.  So, here are some photo's of some of the other tools I used to create this:


I like this stipple brush because the hairs are different lengths and soft.  Mine looks like this, but the handle is solid wood.  Unfortunately there is no manufacturer on the handle and I would love to find more of them.

I hope you were inspired to get really messy and try something new this week. If you find this tutorial inspiring and use it on a project of your own, I would love to see it!!
Thanks again for stopping by!

You can view all of my Altered Projects HERE
You can view all my Altered Cigar Boxes HERE


Justine said...


Cardmaking Galore said...

Yes, I was inspired so thanks a lot for the tutorial. I like the idea of uploading pics of the tools you used. Definitely a help for someone just starting out or who came across a totally new technique! So thanks

Grace said...

Oh Melissa... this took my breath away!!! I just LOVE it!!! I have those same TH feet just waiting for the right box too!!! LOVE the modeling paste but who makes the pearlescent chocolate ink? I love pearlescents and would love to try that... I know I'd love it! Your butterflies, the texture from the stencils, every detail is gorgeous and your MIL is going to love this!!! What a work of art from the heart!!!

kiwimeskreations said...

Melisa this is just gaw-juss. You must have had a ball making it and getting all messy ;-). Hmm, Pearlescent Chocolate, must keep an eye out for that one, love the pearlescent inks

Thank you for your comments on my blog - I am well, thanks, but DH looks as though he may be brewing a bug again :-(.

Betty Benton said...

You simply must give me lessons in time management! How do you get it all done, girl friend???? You did a super, bang-up job on that old cigar box -- can't wait to see it up close and personal.

stampingmarianne said...

Beautiful!! so much work and so detailed!

lisa808 said...

Wow! This is gorgeous. Love your detail (& use of purple--my favorite color!).

Kim said...

This is wonderful, I so want to make one of these. Thanks for the gorgeous inspiration and tutorial!

Laura Kirste Campbell said...

WOWZA!! Oh, my gracious, Melisa This Is AMAZING! I adore the richness of the texture, the layers and the color palette!

Hugs to you my friend!

Basement Stamper said...

Gorgeous altered box!! I got my stipple brushes from Stampin' Up! awhile ago so not sure if they still sell it or not. I think you can get them at Michael's or Joann's as well.

Joan Ervin said...

OMG, Melisa...what a FABULOUS gift box!!!! I just love every little detail..the butterflies, texture, colors, and those awesome little *feet*...such beautiful work!!!!

Lovely Linda said...

Hello Melisa - how did I miss this!?! Absolutley fabulous! I love all of the texture and images you have happening here!! You have created such a treasure here - I love the way you have used the Art Stencils too Melisa - and those feet are the perfect touch!! Love this Melisa!! {{{hugs}}}

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