Sunday, December 26, 2010


This is my first attempt of making a tutorial, so please do keep that into consideration.  *nervous giggle*
These are very special boxes to me; they were gifted to my nieces, Rachel and Megan for their keepsakes.  The beautiful photograph is of their maternal grandparents’, on their wedding day.  My sister in law Liz had shared this photo on Facebook and I knew I had to use it.  Not everyone enjoys the “altered style” but these girls do and that made the process even better for me.
I found a pretty box in the size and style I wanted.  The inside of these boxes are nicely decorated too, so that is helpful for the finished look.  Try to pick a box that has a nice appearance, even before you adorn it…
Step 1
I added some gesso to the entire box, for a nice “tooth” to work with, and I love the softness it gives to the box.  I also added a bit of texture with a stamp, applying black ink.

Step 2
Next is the paint, I use acrylics.  I apply the paint one color at a time, dry between colors.  I apply the paint with a rag, yes a rag.  I then use baby wipes to take away the paint to get the look I want.  (Usually a distressed look) I love the look of the copper pain, so this is my last color to apply.

Step 3
Next is paper elements.  Of course my well loved vintage wall paper from the 1920’s.  I use it in small amounts, but save it back from special occasions as it thins out.  (Must find another sample book on EBay).  I also use some sheet music and scrapbook paper. Once the paper is dry I add more of the paint, same process and finish with the copper.  Last, a few layers of gel medium to set the papers.
Step 4
Now for the vintage photograph, find your focal point and add background images, text, stickers anything else you want to use to create your piece.  Anything goes, you are the creator… Now layers of gel medium, dry very well between layers and check for bubbles or lifting pieces. 
Step 5
This is where I love to be…the final touches.  Bits and pieces of linens or lace, vintage trims of all sorts.  I add the vintage jewels or findings…whatever I desire for the finishing touch.  I use Tacky Glue for everything I glue down that has texture or is 3 dimensional.  I am a huge fan of this glue!
So there you have it, I am NO tutorial  I was messy and didn't take the correct pictures...but at least I tried and that was a goal in 2010.  Nothing like waiting to the very end right? So maybe now that I took the plunge, my next one will be better.

The end result were my sweet nieces, and the look on their faces when they opened their package.  I hope they fill these boxes with wonderful memories and always remember where they come from.  I love you girls, with all my heart...


  1. Great job Kathy!!!! Pat yourself on your altered back with your glue covered fingers for a job well done :)

  2. Super job and congrats on meeting your goal for 2010..with days to spare even. Your nieces will cherish them, I'm sure.

  3. beautiful job, kathy--and the music made it even better! ♥
    thank you-
    marilyn g
    cigarboxbeads and suchandsortaltered

  4. Made with love and beautiful to look at. Thanks for the tutorial, too.

  5. handmade gifts are extra special Kathy...I can only imagine your nieces sheer delight at receiving these beauties!

    fun to see your step by step process can be challenging in the heat of creating to stop and take did great!!!

    Happy Artful New Year to you and yours!

  6. Fantastic tutorial, Kathy!Thanks for sharing

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this. I so love the altered look.

  8. First tutorial?!? You did it like a pro.... and I love the finished product, too!

  9. Kathy, you've really inspired me, I love to collect sturdy neat boxes, and have several.....must follow your instructions...have lots of paper too! Good job, girl!

  10. This is simply beautiful and wonderful tutorial! great job!