“Highly Prized…”

…a Sketchbook Challenge, Art Journal Treasure Box Step-by-Step Tutorial! – Part 1

(Whew, that’s a mouthful!)

When presented with the topic of “Highly Prized” for the sketchbook challenge, I decided to take an unusual route.  Instead of the obvious things we prize most in our lives like, family, friends, good health, home, good food, etc.  I thought about how lucky I am to be able to create.  To have at my disposal all the materials, tools, and supplies to play with as I sit down to create something.  I love my paints and journals, and markers, and crayons, and stamps, and hammers and glass, and, and, and…you get what I mean.  These play-things are my life-line sometimes.  I can enter the studio in a miserable state, and after a brief time with a paintbrush, or my torch, or a crayon, I come out peaceful and renewed.  So, I decided that my take on this prompt would be to create a treasure box for my “highly-prized” journaling and sketchbook paraphernalia.  I will then use that surface the same way I would an art journal.  And, I wanted to share the creation of this project so that others who wanted to, might make one for themselves.

Step 1

Gather your materials:

I started with items I wanted to recycle.

Art Journal Treasure Box supplies

I have been saving the wrappers from our Mandarin oranges.  They are lovely thin tissue papers in green and white, already crinkled up and soft.  Perfect for texturing a surface.  If you don’t have these on hand, any tissue paper works or old dress patterns that need a new life are perfect too.  Crunch them up and then smooth them out again to prepare them for this project.  I seem to have a penchant for interesting containers, found especially at Christmas time, and I have often purchased a tin of cookies or chocolates more for the container than the goodies inside.  Here’s an example I have saved away for later – a great little car tin.  The cookies used to be a favorite of mine and now, sadly are a stinker.  (Sorry Cadbury…your Fingers cookies just aren’t what they used to be – even my kids won’t eat them.)  But the container….outstanding!

Car cookie tin

Also needed in this step: Matte Medium (or Mod Podge), white gesso, a large fairly stiff brush, masking tape.

I began by looking at how the container I chose goes together.  Because I am using this plastic chocolate box that has a lip allowing the lid to slide on with a very tight fit, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get anything on those surfaces where they will go together otherwise the lid would not go back on properly.  On the lid, I just need to make sure that I don’t wrap the papers around to the inside.  I can trim the papers afterward right at the edge.  On the bottom, however, the lip is exposed and bound to get messed up if I don’t protect it.  So, I carefully placed a strip of masking tape all around the edge lining it up exactly where the lip meets the outer edge of the box.  See below:Art Journal Treasure Box 1

Note:  Any box or tin will do.  I just happen to like the size and shape of this box for using with pens, pencils and a small sketchbook.  With any choice, just consider how the box lid will fit and be sure to keep the surfaces clean and free of material and paint so that the lid will still fit well when finished.

Step 2

Coat the lid top and sides with  a thin continuous layer of matte medium (or Mod Podge,) and while it is still wet, apply tissue papers quickly and randomly, coating with another layer of matte medium over top the papers to secure them down.  Work out any air bubbles as you go.  Don’t worry about the paper wrinkling up.  In fact, the more wrinkled the better – this will give even more texture in the end.  Allow the papers to stick over the edges (do not fold over).  They will be trimmed after all painting is done.

Art Journal Treasure Box 2

Follow the same process for the bottom.  (Note: I used green papers on the bottom and white on the lid for no particular reason.  They will be covered in gesso and paint later anyway)
Art Journal Treasure Box 3

Let both dry completely.  If you are impatient, like I am sometimes, you can use a hair dryer to speed up the process.  Or you can try relaxing with a cup of tea instead. (That reminder was for my benefit more than anything.)

Step 3

Once dry, paint on one or two coats of gesso.  This gives the subsequent paint layers a good surface to adhere to, and the white surface also helps to make the paint colors vivid and bright – something I love.

Art Journal Treasure Box 4

The finished box all textured and primed, ready for the paint layers next.  (See Part 2)

Art Journal Treasure Box 5

If you just can’t get enough of this fun, you might find some other items to apply this treatment to.  A couple of examples:

The cute little car tin mentioned above with tissue paper applied:

Car tin 2

The car tin and a mirror with wooden frame I found at a dollar store – both textured and painted with gesso:

Car tin and Frame

Next, all the color and more fun happens in Part 2!

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3 Responses

  1. tejae

    so fun to watch your process… i’ll be back for part 2!

  2. Shelle

    Cool tutorial, hope to check out Part 2… it’s like a seasons end cliffhanger 🙂

  3. Lavender Dreams

    It’s fun to see your techniques! ♥

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