Sunday, June 25, 2017

#ATCAD2017 ATC Treasure Box Project

I have a special fondness for useful, decorative boxes, don't you?

This year's June Artist Trading Card fest, #ATCAD2017, really got me going. Even though I am not celebrating by making any new ATCs, I have made something which can hold a whole bunch of them. This is my first ever dual blog post. Downloads are included in this blog only (see below), though. To see my other, smaller blog, you may follow the link HERE. Please respect my copyrights that are listed in the red letter Guidelines located at the foot of this post. Thank you.

Here's what my project's interior looked like once it was completed. As you can see, I'm already storing some ATCs inside my new creation. I hope you'll enjoy the process I went through for this project. The construction of this Treasure Box was a bit tricky at times, but overall it's a fairly easy project for just about anybody to make.

I used a 140 lb watercolor sheet from my  18"x24" Canson Montval Watercolor block, but even a single sheet of watercolor paper in the same weight will work once primed using gesso. I have often used heavier weight watercolor paper with acrylics as the results can be really interesting. For this box, every additional coat of pigment or medium really made the paper tough and a little bit on the leathery side.

The technique which I chose to try for the decorative part of my painting was acrylic paints + 91% Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol (surgical spirit in the UK, I think). The layers have to be applied and treated with speed, otherwise the effect will be minimized or simply won't occur at all.

On the watercolor block top sheet of paper I first added matte medium in 2 layers. I'd begun that project with the idea of creating something semi-transparent using colorful glazing techniques, but later chose not to. Overtop those few layers, I added my turquoise in at least 2 layers. Once it was dry, I next added a very runny but still thick layer of copper that I'd tinted slightly for an"antique" effect. I splashed drops of the alcohol all over the surface right away and watched the turquoise underneath begin to peer out in surprising ways. It still didn't work completely well enough, although I could see that I was headed in the right direction. So I let everything dry overnight, then tried it again from the beginning with first more turquoise and then more copper. This time, I had the right formula for the thickness of the copper paint!

As a finishing touch, I then added a dash more of the turquoise in 2 toned splatters using a loaded paintbrush which I tapped just inches above the surface. I allowed those paint layers a nice, relaxing drying time of (as I recall) several days.

As the paint layers were still drying, I began a first mock-up using graph paper. As a base or mold, I used a vitamin powder packet box that I noticed fits ATCs a bit snugly. The snug part was the clue. To build a brand new box with a totally different construction and lid became the goal.

While the paint layers were still drying, I began a first mock-up using graph paper. As a base or mold, I used that vitamin powder packet box that I noticed fits ATCs a bit snugly. The snug part was indeed my first clue - this allowed me to figure out that my new box would probably fit ATCs a bit more loosely, thereby not damaging them. You see, my building a refit from the outside would add to the size a bit on all sides. To build a brand new box with a totally different construction, look and lid became my ideal. And the fewer the seams, the better.

Once the fit to the graph paper pattern was finalized, I carefully removed my painting from the watercolor block using a smooth edged blade to separate it from the glue edging, then traced around the pattern on the back of the painting and carefully cut it out. The orange pencil marks made everything simpler with the next step. These did not show once I'd lined the inside of my Box.

A T square ruler really came in handy for scoring. This project is the wrong size and shape for a scoring board - but then, I currently don't have one anyway. Tip: if you should decide you'd like to try making my box using your own decorative skills, please be aware that to score and fold first prior to adding the lining is essential to the success of this project.

Below is how the unassembled Box looks when marked, scored and carefully folded. There is a somewhat trickier fold than usual in the Lid area. Notice how the top of the Lid is a tiny bit broader across the top? Please do pay close attention to the dotted lines of my download when scoring. The added width is there in order to allow the Lid to fit smoothly down over the top lip of the Box.

Prior to bothering with any prep work for the lining, I paper-clipped the box at its join spots to see whether I had got the fit just right. I am delighted to say that everything about this went well.

(sighing) Lovely, creamy Mulberry paper - the best thing I could think of for when a thin layer of something decorative would work best.

Prepping the Box's interior for its lining is the next step. Notice how the folds held steady for me even after the gesso had been added. I attribute this staying power to the heft and sturdiness of the paper along with all of the many layers of pigment on the outside side of it. Though I neglected to photograph it, my next layer was one in the verdigris Turquoise. Once the Mulberry Paper lining was being adhered using Liquitex Heavy Matte Gel Medium, notice how the turquoise showed through. I left this to dry lying open and unassembled overnight.

The next evening, I began gluing the box together - I did this backwards, unfortunately. It would have been simpler to have begun with the back rather than the front. Lolz My enthusiasm got the better of me!

Lastly, I glued the Lid so it would hold its shape. Already, I could see the possibilities for the decorative portion.

The following morning (this past Wednesday), I was up with the lark and working on making my very first paper tassel. Although I'm not altogether pleased with how it turned out, it can always be replaced later on. I began by coating a single sheet from an approximately 3.5"x5" tiny pad of some luxurious Italian paper. The paper is Velata by Cartiera Magnani. It's actually made for drawing, although it took the Turquoise acrylic quite well, as you can see in this photo. (BTW, I have looked it up and the Italian word, "velata" means "veiled.")

Next, it was time to play a few "dress-up" games with this box. I am still not quite satisfied with the the way in which it turned out, but I left certain areas un-glued in order to make any new changes a bit easier later on.

Next, I added a bit of embellishment to the top of the Lid, as outlined in this next photo's caption below. One bit of advice: never construct this box using 2 already decorated pieces that are joined together at the lid "hinge" fold area. Too many layers and too much stiffness would make it less usable. it really is best to make a one piece version if you choose to use my own Pattern.

For anyone who may be interested, downloads of the Pattern are in this post here at my main blog, Plush Possum Studio. Please see below. 

I'd really enjoy your feedback as to how this project works for those among you who are into making your own approach to my #ATCAD ATC Treasure Box. 

Happy ATC Creativity!

PPS™Projects: ATC Treasure Box

Download Pattern Part One HERE

Download Pattern Part Two HERE

You are free to:
Use my Pattern and instructions
for personal use ONLY.
You are not free to:
ever sell it  to anyone, even if you build on my idea.
Please give credit where credit is due.
i would surely do the same for you.
Thank you
for helping me to
keep free things free!


Win Dinn said...

What a fabulously delicious project, Rose, and a GREAT idea! I am inspired, and I can see some more box-making in my future! xo

Plush Possum Studio said...

Thank you for your kind support of my little box, Win! I am glad that it may inspire you to some further box-making yourself - may one hope sometime soon? :)
I once made boxes out of stiffened super fine crochet in decorative shapes. Nowadays, I enjoy my paints and papers, etc. better.

rose tresures said...

OOOHhhhhh this makes me soooo happy!!!! I love your box and the colors are just so beautiful!!! I love gold and turquoise! Enjoy your new box and thanks for sharing the process!! hugs, patty

Plush Possum Studio said...

Hi rose tresures! I am happy now too after finding your kind comment here.
I 'm glad we agree about Turquoise + metallics. It's yummy combo every time, isn't it?

Unknown said...

Oh wow this is gorgeous Rose, looks amazing


Plush Possum Studio said...

Thanks, Kerrymay! Glad you like my project. New color schemes for a new box are already in the works.

Shel C said...

Your box pattern is perfect for storing all these ATCs I have been making! Thanks for sharing Rose :)

Plush Possum Studio said...

Hi Shel! :) Thank you for stopping by! I guess what yu said about the sheer number of ATCs from a month's work such as with #ATCAD2017 got me to thinking of ways to decoratively house a growing collection. I guess i find notebook storage a bit too impersonal and rather like baseball cards instead of artwork.

Shoshi said...

This is gorgeous, Rose. I love the technique with the paint and alcohol - very effective, and a great colour combination too. What a stylish way to store your ATCs! Thank you for your lovely comment - the George Booth book looks fun! Watch out for photos and videos of our new kitties - we are longing to see them for the first time tomorrow, and roll on the end of July when they will be old enough to come to us. Kitties are just the best.

Happy WOYWW,
Shoshi #12

Plush Possum Studio said...

Hi Shoshi ! :)
Thanks for all your kind words about my box project. This really was a lot of fun for me. That paint technique is easy to find at YouTube. Just search there using the words "acrylic paint and rubbing alcohol" and you will find several. George Booth's cartoons once graced the pages of New Yorker magazine. I became fan of his funny animals and people when i was a lot younger than I am today! The way he used to draw cats is really hilariously funny at times!
Can hardly wait to hear more form you about the new fur babies!!
=( . . )= A very bad attempt at a cat emoji text

Kerrymay ._.Makes said...

Just to let you know I've nominated you for a Blogger Recognition Award in my latest blog post, I don't mind if you don't take part in the posting etc, but thought I would let you know,
Kerry :)

Plush Possum Studio said...

Hi Kerrymay! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH !!! What a kind and thoughtful gesture. I will be very happy to pop over and see your post!

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