Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Goodwill Steampunking

Bye bye country cute snowmen.  I loved you in the 80s, but your popularity has expired.  I found this little box at Goodwill on one of my treasure hunts.  It's a dangerous hobby but I had accomplices to
stop me from any really bad buys!

First step, gesso!  These little guys don't fade away gracefully.  I taped off the buckle but the hinges weren't anything special so I just painted over them.  I used the Studio Paint brand of gesso you can find here: Studio Paint Gesso.  Use whatever you have.  They have a new black gesso now which would have been even better.
Next paint over the whole box using acrylic paint.  I used Adirondack Dabbers Espresso.  I just unscrewed the dabber top and used a brush.  That paint dries matte.  I kind of wished I'd used studio paint.  To get that color I would have mixed a little black in with sable brown.  I could have gotten away with sealing the inside later if I'd used a gloss acrylic.
Now for the fun!  I added some espresso and copper Adirondack Alcohol Ink to a felt Alcohol ink Applicator and dabbed it all over the outside (not the bottom, buckles or inside the frames).  I used about equal parts of copper and espresso, side by side and reapplied a couple times during the process.  With a rubber glove, on I removed the felt from the applicator and folded it to get into the small areas the applicator couldn't, like right up next to the buckle and between the frames.  Now my ugly little container looks like aged metal.
The alcohol inks makes a nice finish.  I used a multi-medium gloss sealer over the paint on the inside.

 I used Stardream copper card stock and cut three pieces to fit the insides of the frames on the top of the box.  Chances are you won't find a beauty of a box exactly like this one.  You may need to make your own frames of buy some cheap little frames if you're wanting to follow along.  Your lucky find might be better suited for square images or 2 larger images.  I stamped the cardstock pieces with images from the Blockheads Stargazer, Architecture and Victorian Invention stamp sets using VersaMagic ink.  I embossed the images using black superfine embossing powder.

A dabbed a little espresso color Adirondack Paint Dabber around the edge and rubbed it in with a slightly damp paper towel.

Then I rubbed on a little willow color Adirondack Paint dabber and rubbed it away with the same paper towel.
This was my favorite trick of the whole project.  These little silver colored nail heads come in packs for $3.  They come in various colors.  I only ever by silver.  I can color them with Copic markers or alcohol inks, or paint dabbers to match any project.  In this case I put some copper color Adirondack Alcohol ink and some Vintaj Patina ink side by side (about 3 parts copper to 1 part patina) on my felt applicator and dabbed them all over the nail heads.  Viola, aged copper.  I didn't use the adhesive attached, just pulled the metal pieces off.  I put dots of glue all the way around the frames and applied them directly to the glue.  They look live rivets and did a lot to make the container look metal.

I used a similar technique with some silver die cuts that I cut from a metal sticker sheet using a label from the Spellbinders Fancy Labels 2 set.  Instead of Vintaj Patina, I used the espresso color alcohol ink again with the copper.
I will confess that once you peel the sticker paper off the back, this thin metal wants to curl around on itself in a way that might have made me cry on a more hormonal day.  I used some pretty little decorative copper brads from my stash in the center of each and applied them inside the top lid of box.  I found that they looked terrible when they went on but by using a burnishing tool I was able to get them to flatten out nicely.  

For a simpler and maybe more elegant option, I might use the technique I used to make this frame a couple years ago:

Using Embossing Folders with Metal - Cuttlebug and Sizzix

 I found some pretty aged copper looking handles at the hardware store to act as dividers inside the container and glued some metal decorations to the front.  My little snowman box is now a perfect tea caddy.  Now I just need to go tea shopping!


  1. WOW Stacey, I love how your altered box turned out! Great use of the various elements!

  2. Great post, you have pointed out some superb details, I will tell my friends that this is a very informative blog thanks.
    IT Company India

  3. WOW! Such an amazing transformation. Thanks for all the details on how you accomplished this.

  4. OK Stacey that is freaking awesome!!!

  5. That is amazing!

  6. This is a truly startling transformation! What a gorgeous tea chest, so rich with beautiful details!


  7. OMG! This is unbelievable! Totally awesome - thanks for sharing! WOW!!!