Friday 12 July 2013

Altered Cigar Box Nr.3 (a tutorial)

I have a very dear friend who is a tobacconist and saves the empty cigar boxes for me :) So I always have some in store, waiting to be turned into something else...

Altering boxes is great fun but quite time-consuming. The box I want to show you today - along with a veeeery long and detailed how to - took two days in its making due to a lot of drying time inbetween the single steps. (I often work on another project simultaneously with which I can proceed while my other project dries).

I combined Steampunk with a slight touch of "lady-like" and some script stamping, as this box is meant to keep letters. Here comes the How-To and the materials list:

Materials I used were:
- a box to alter
- black, white and beige manila cardstock
- two pins or short nails
- DecoArt Traditions Acrylic paints "Raw Umber", "Transparent Red Iron Oxide", "Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide", "Burnt Siena"
- DecoArt Texture Medium
- DecoArt "Weathered Wood" Crackle Medium
- DecoArt Metallic Lustre "Black Shimmer", "Gold Rush" and "Copper Kettle"
- Sizzix dies for the book plate and the flourish (you can of course also die cut your     gears yourself using the TimHoltz Sizzix dies for example)
- Chipboard gears
- Stamps from flonzcraft and Marianne Design
- self adhesive half pearls
- a bristle brush, a palette, scissors, ruler, pencil, a stencil (I used one with cogs and gears), an embossing folder and a Sizzix or similar, glue, some ribbon, archival stamping ink "sepia", crackle medium (Distress clear rock candy crackle paint)

And here we go:

1. Glue some gears and the half pearls to the box.

2. Give the box two layers of DecoArt Traditions "Raw Umber" acrylic paint. Try to stipple the colour onto the surface instead of brushing to avoid strokes that will be visible after the dry brushing that is to follow a bit later. Let dry.

Your box should look like this now:

3. Using a stencil, a bristle brush and DecoArt Texture Medium, apply some gears and cogs to a corner of your box. Let dry.

Cover this area with Raw Umber acrylic paint after the medium has dried. (You could of course have done this step before giving the whole box the two coats with paint, but I changed my mind a bit late, so I did it this way round ;).

4. Apply DecoArt "Weathered Wood" Crackle Medium to some other areas of your box and let dry. (these are the shiny areas on the lid of the box):

5. Apply an acrylic colour of your liking onto these areas and let it crackle (which happens by itself while the colour dries). I used DecoArt Traditions "Quinacridone Gold" mixed with some "Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide"). Water the colour down around the edges of the painted areas to get a soft transition to the base colour of your box. You can also take off too much paint with a soft cloth if necessary.
Dry brush some other areas with DecoArt Traditions "Red Iron Oxide" and "Burnt Siena" until you have the desired look. I recommend trying one of Andy Skinner's Timeworn techniques for an aged and rusty look.

The dry brushing highlights the raised areas of the glued on and stenciled cogs and gears and makes them more visible. 

6. Stamp your central image onto a piece of manila card and let dry. In the meantime die cut the book plate from heavy black card. Then glue the book plate onto the manila card, having your stamped image in the centre and rub some DecoArt "Metallic Lustre" onto the frame.

Give the image a coat of Distress clear rock candy crackle paint and let dry. Rub in some watered down acrylic paint or Distress ink and wipe off the excess.

7. Stamp some images of your choice onto some beige manila cardstock, cut out, distress and blend the edges of your ephemera with Distress inks of your choice. I used "rusty hinge" and "vintage photo". Die cut some flourishes or other embellishments for your lid's design from heavy black card and rub on some DecoArt "Metallic Lustre".

Collage all of your desired parts to the lid of your box. Fix the book plate with two large pins (I used pins which are normally used for upholstering. If your pins are too long, cut off the ends from underneath using cutting pliers).

My letter box looked like this after I had a long time playing around with all my elements I wanted to use:

To add some more depth I partially stamped a script stamp onto the lid, heat embossing some of it using Ranger "copper" and "walnut stain" embossing powder. The light script was stamped using beige chalk ink.

8. For the sides of your box cut for strips of black card. Measure the length and height about three to four millimetres smaller than the sides of your box are.

 9. Run them through your Sizzix, Cuttlebug or whatever you have using an embossing folder that gives yummy texture.

10. Dry brush the strips in three steps, from darkest to lightest colour. I used some warm Earth tone DecoArt Traditions colour tones for this as I wanted to achieve a rusty look.

11. Glue them to the four sides of your box after they have dried. Then finish your box with a rub of DecoArt "Metallic Lustre" "Copper Kettle" around all the edges of your box. This will build a kind of "frame" around your embossed and dry brushed strips of card and look more interesting than leaving all the edges just "dark".

You're done! Well, almost...*lol.

12. The inside of your box may need some treatment too. I covered the lid's inside with a piece of paper from a Tim Holtz paper stash and painted the inside of the box using DecoArt Traditions "Transparent Red Iron Oxide", but you can design your insides any way you like of course. :)

But NOW you are really done! ;)
I hope you have enjoyed this how to and will make your own altered box soon! Have fun and thank you so much for reading this far!

I enter SimonSaysStamp's "Pin it" challenge with this box, as I have used two upholstering pins for fixing the book plate.
I also enter SimonSaysStampandShow's "A little Stamping" challenge with it, as I only did a little stamping but a lot more of painting on this project.
Then I enter "Anything But A Card's "Steampunk" Challenge (of course ;), Fashionable Stamping Challenges "Mail Time" challenge and The Artistic Stamper's "Ladies Day" challenge with it, as I have used some lovely ladies' images on my box.

I hope you like it, leave you with some close-ups and wish you all a happy time crafting! (Please, click on images to enlarge).

die amelie x

More Mixed Media and Altered Art Tutorials from some very talented fellow crafters and artists can be found over here.  


  1. Wow, das ist mal wieder ein tolles Werk von dir. Die Box sieht klasse aus. Da gefällt mir einfach alles. Vielen Dank für deine Teilnahme bei FSC und auch für die Step by Step Fotos.

  2. Brilliant just brilliant!!!

  3. Wonderful box and a fantastic tutorial! So many wonderful effects! A great transformation!!

  4. oh my gosh, ich bin total sprachlos wow das ist ja ein Teilchen zum megaschwärmen total fantastisch wow ich muss nochmal gucken :-)
    Einfach spitze
    xoxo SanDee1899

  5. Claudia...I love your aged metal box! All of the elements you have used on this work together so perfectly. The crackle on the top is an awesome addition as well. Your panels on the sides of the box look really cool, too. Don't you LOVE Andy Skinner's techniques? Thanks for sharing your box and wonderful tutorial with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

  6. Exzellent bearbeitet (:o) Ich bin neidisch auf deinen Zigarren Raucher - Box Lieferanten *kicher* Meinen vollen Respekt hast du für den ausführlichen Bericht, denn *time - consuming* ist das nicht minder! Hut ab (:o)Mit dem simultan kreieren, können wir uns die Hand reichen. Manchmal ist ein Tag vieeel zu kurz, oder? Schönes Wochenende, liebe Amelie

  7. wow die ist gigantisch!!! Einfach wieder absolut genial bis in jedes kleinste Detail!
    LG Dagmar

  8. Wow, what a fabulous creation Claudia. Thanks for the step by step too. Love this! Hugs, Anne x

  9. Oh my, what a great result this alterations and the paints seem to be amazing!

    kind regards and a nice weekend, Alie :-)

  10. Wow die ist ja toll geworden!!
    Gefällt mir sehr gut:)

    Liebe Grüße an dich!

  11. What a fabulous box. Love every little detail of it. Thank you so much for showing how you did this. Now just to find such a jummy box to alter ....

  12. Wie spannend, zu verfolgen, wie Du Stück für Stück diese zauberhafte, grandiose Box gestaltet hast. Sie sieht absolut genial aus.

  13. Great step by step Claudia! I have one of these boxes waiting to be transformed and though it will never look as good as this one, I will certainly use some of your great techniques so thanks for the inspiration. Love, Margie x

  14. Wow!! Love all the layering you have done with this box Claudia, a feast for the eyes!

  15. HAMMER!!!! Wenn man die Bilder von der Box anschaut, fühlt man sich wie in eine andere Zeit versetzt!!!! Echt klasse!!!!


  16. Hi Claudia, Wonderful alteration and such an interesting tutorial.
    Love the finished effect with the lovely images.
    Thanks for joining us at FSC
    Avril xx

  17. A really fab make wish I had a few cigar boxes xx Andys techniques look great! Trace x hugs x

  18. An amazing project - and great to read how you created it. You've used a huge array of techniques which have turned out brilliantly - I learned lots reading your post as well as getting to enjoy your fabulous box.

  19. PS - I should have also said thank you for joining us at Anything But A Card this time - I was so blown away by your box!

  20. Sensational make, Claudia - and a wonderful step by step taking us through your process - thank you. And big congrats on your Featured Designer spot at SSS - so well deserved!
    Alison xx

  21. SO AWESOME!!! Love the rusty crackly finish! The gears are great, as is the stamped butterfly! Great alteration! Thank you for stamping a little with us this week here at Simon Says Stamp & Show!!!

  22. Such attention to detail here Claudia. Love the tricks and technqiues (great tutorial) and the altered ephemera. What a friend to have too! Hugs, Jenny x

  23. Such a stunning created box, a fabulous design and such wonderful techniques - great detao;s!!

    Thanks so much for joining us with Simon Says Stamp challenge
    Heather xx

  24. Wow wow wow this is fantastic thank you for sharing this I have often wondered how these types of effects are achieved. This box is amazing must have a go at transforming something along these lines.

  25. einzigartig toll Claudia! sagenhaft!

  26. Oh my goodness! I love this box. Beautiful thank you for the step by step tutorial.

  27. Fantastic box, Claudia! I'm a "texture girl" so this is right up my alley. Thank you so much for sharing all the details with us. ;>}

  28. ohh wow, Claudia. What a gorgeous alted cigar box! Love how you achieve those timeworn effects. Fabulous the tutorial!
    Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. Hugs, Sandra

  29. Gorgeous altered cigar box!! Fabulous textures and paint effects. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

  30. Wonderful....and thank you so much for showing us how to do it !

  31. OMGosh! This is over the top incredible! I adore the use of the pearls -- totally finishes off the this amazing project!!


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