Our Christmas party at work has come and gone, so now I can reveal the gifts that have occupied so much of my life these past few months: boxes!
I have tried to group the boxes in these photos by theme.
Top row: the Treasure Chests. These are smaller versions of the box I made for my nephew for Halloween
. I gave them to the two people in our group who are most active in anti-piracy efforts. These are the only two boxes in the group that are essentially duplicates. Finish is a dark stain rubbed lightly over a light stain and spattered with black in an irregular pattern. Bands are black, interior is light stain.
The Simple Box. It started out life some other color - green, I think - but then got a coat of a yellowish-brown shade called "camel" and a coating of crackle finish. It also picked up some accidental white spatter somewhere along the way. The interior is unfinished, and remarkably the inside lip is free of drips. I kept wanting to do something else to it but couldn't bring myself to it - it seemed perfect as it was.
The Steamer Trunk: Darkish red and crackle finish on the outside, daubed with antiquing stain to give the look of old red leather. Interior is camel. Designed for a world traveler in our group.
TheWhite Crackle Box. This one made the best use of the crackle finish kit I bought. A cream-white layer over a crackle undercoat over a darker shade of brown, rubbed over with antiquing stain.
I nearly ruined this finish when I handled the box while wearing gloves that had residue of the dark stain I used on the Treasure Chests. I had to do some touching-up which is apparent as the thicker white on the left side of the front panel.
Bottom row: The Solids. Solid Black, Purple (which looks blue in this photo) and dark Blue, covered in a high-gloss varnish. The purple and blue actually consisted of multiple thin layers of different shades, dark over light, creating a slightly translucent effect.
Then there are the Applique Boxes:
Top row: The Vine Box and the Flower Box. Both are crackle-finish, white over green in the case of the Vine Box, and white over blue for the Flower Box. The Vine Box appliques are actually split over the opening of the box, and wrap around the back and sides. The Flower Box has a single applique on the front - anything more seemed like too much. Both were then daubed with antiquing stain.
Middle row: The Butterfly Box, the Blueberry Box, and the Snoopy Box. I go into more detail on the Butterfly Box below. The Blueberry Box was an exercise in simplicity: a blue lid and a cream-white bottom, appliques of blueberries on the front and back, wrapping around the sides. The Snoopy Box was red and white in the mistaken belief that only the roof
of Snoopy's doghouse is red; turns out the whole thing is. The Snoopy decorations are stickers, not appliques, and are coated with several layers of gloss varnish.
Bottom row: The Pansy Box, the Rose Box, and the Grapevine Box. More cracklework and appliques. The Rose Box is very complicated, with gold trim and multiple shades of white and pink. The rose on the lid was my first applique. The grapevine applique was a pain to get to wrap around.
Here's another view of some of these boxes, showing the backs or insides. Note that there are butterflies and Snoopies within the top two boxes.
I was especially pleased with the butterfly box, which was inspired by this blog entry
and was made specifically for its author.
The background sky is several shades of blue, from dark sky blue on the inside of the lid to nearly white at the base - this reproduces the actual shading of the sky. The blades of grass are three or four different shades of green. The sky-and-grass idea actually came from an idea for a chair for my nephews: the "Sky Chair" would create the illusion of sitting on the blue sky with the chair's legs nestled in green grass. The grass and sky, and the butterflies, are also contained within the box.
Finally there are the boxes I call "The Specials". Each of these boxes contains a surprise:
Top row: The Jadestone Box. More on this below.
Bottom row, left and right: the Jewelry Boxes. Cracklework in pale shades with glued-on plastic jewels.
Bottom middle: the Watermelon Box. A light green crackle-finished over a darker green. The resemblance to watermelon skin dictated the inside finish.
The Jewelry Boxes and the Watermelon Box opened to show inside detail. The rim of the Watermelon Box is a pale whitish-yellow that resembles actual watermelon rind. Note the white seeds. The Jewelry Boxes have more plastic gems and glued-in mirrors.
Finally the Jadestone Box in detail. The finish consisted of a base of dark green, washed over with a thin layer of lighter green, washed over with a thin layer of even lighter green...the end result is a milky, translucent shade of green that is different from any of the paints I own. The marbling was applied with a feather (using the techniques I learned while making the Box of Souls
) and with a very fine paintbrush, using camel, several shades of white, and several shades of green. I then overpainted some of the marbing with another sort of paint that makes the Jadestone Box very special:
It's the only box out of the twenty that glows in the dark!
So there it is. There's the thing that's been occupying so much of my free time. It was an education, it was therapy, it was a lot of work, and it was a lot of fun. And someday, maybe someone will pick up one of these boxes and say, "What the hell is this?", and one of my friends will respond, "It's a box. Let me tell you about the guy who made it..."
For entries on previous years' work gifts, go here.