Monday, October 14, 2013

The Little Halloween Box from Hell

Did you ever have a project that started out fine but then became such a nightmare you were tempted more than once to just chuck the thing through the window? Welcome to that project.  The saga of the small Halloween demon box from Hell begins now.

It started out innocent enough – on one of my trips to the Dollar Tree (dollar store) I found a cute little wooden box with a magnetic closure.  Yippee!  That was the best part of this project for me. 

First, let me tell you I adore Halloween.  Love it, love everything about it; the spookiness, the candy, the weather, the colors, everything.  So I make lots of Halloween decorations, just for me to enjoy. And that is what I decided to do with my cute little box.  I thought I would try to do “things right” this time and I actually took the hinges off (and put straight pins in the hinge holes so I wouldn’t fill them with paint and lose them – I am so brilliant sometimes!) so I could decorate the box without having to worry about getting paint and whatnot on them.  I gessoed the box and thought about what color I’d like to paint it.  This is where my nightmare began.

I had bought some cheap acrylic paints quite a while back and I had one called “Sparkle Black” or something like that – I can’t tell you the actual name because I threw the thing away – and I happily painted my box with this wonderful paint, expecting some shimmer in the black. If you read my blog you know I am a fanatical “drier” – I let things dry overnight, at least.  Well, my cute little box got to dry even longer because we were hit with a massive heat wave, like two weeks in the high 90’s.  When I went back to my box, I noticed that the coverage wasn’t even – at all.  It was streaky and I could still see some of the white gesso under the paint.  No problem, I just put another coat on it and went about my business.  Well, when I went back to my box it stuck to the wax paper. I have never had this happen before but I dutifully touched up the spots and set it to dry again.  It looked OK, no shimmer or sparkle, but I didn’t really mind that it was a “regular” black.  This time I had put the 2 pieces of the box together and left it for a while as I attended to other projects.  The 2 sides didn’t exactly stick together, but I had to use some effort to get them apart which caused some of the paint to chip again.  OK, by this time, I am getting a tad irritated, but I touched up the spots and left it. 

I had gotten the “Steampunk Spells” DCWV paper pack and I compulsively save paper that I love so I was determined to use something out of the stack; my theory being if it is cut once it’s OK to cut again.  I had picked out a cute little label for the top of the box and had some of the paper die cut flowers and gears that came with the stack – so spooky!  As I went to try and see how the label was going to look on the top the light hit the inside of the box and it was STILL streaky and now I was mad.  I decided right then to throw the stupid paint out (which I NEVER do) and just break out my Golden Carbon Black.  After I finally fixed the paint (by painting over the box with carbon black), I took some old ribbon I had gotten in a kit and glued it around the edge of the top.  I then decided to seal the whole box with some gel medium because I was certain I didn’t get ever single spot with my good acrylic paint and if this box chipped one more time I was going to throw it in the road and run it over.  This painting part of the project took me about three weeks, between the heat wave, the touch ups and finally painting it with the Golden paint. 

Sure enough, I had missed covering some of the old paint.  And the spots I had missed became reactivated when I brushed the gel medium onto the box, which of course I didn’t realize until I brushed some on my ribbon.  Ok, I can live with the ribbon being muted by the now black gel medium; I didn’t really have a choice because I certainly wasn’t going to rip the ribbon off and start over – I mean it is a dollar store box and I was afraid it would disintegrate if I messed with it any more.  Plus, the thought of gessoing the box and painting it again was just NOT an option.  I think it makes the ribbon look more spooky (yes, I am trying to make myself feel better). 

The ribbon on the left is adhered to the box & the ribbon on the right (the nice shiny ribbon) is what it looked like prior to me sealing the box with gel medium.

I forged ahead.  I decided I needed a shelf inside the box because I was going to make it stand up as opposed to open like a regular box.  So I made a shelf out of a piece of scrap chipboard; all I did was fold it so it fit, in an upside U shape so I had a shelf & two "legs",  I then covered the shelf with black gaffer’s tape so it would have a bit of sturdiness to it.  To my surprise it worked! Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the shelf before I put it in the box.

Then I began to fill my box with all the cute little goodies I had in my stash.  I can’t even tell you where this stuff came from because I have been collecting it for years.  Feel free to put whatever you have hanging around in your box.  I made the spells, elixir and notions labels in Microsoft Publisher and I used some of the flowers & gears out of the paper pack to decorate a little bit.  I glued my cut out on the front (I waited until last to do this because I ADORE this paper and I would have been completely insane if somehow this demon box messed up the label and made it unusable) and the little flower.  I did end up putting four black pony beads on the bottom of the box (and now you can’t open it up all the way or it falls over – par for the course with this project) and you will see the feet in some pictures. 

Not sure why it looks filmy in this picture
The box is on it's back here

 Here are the items I used:

The actual box:
Small wooden box (Dollar Tree)
Black Acrylic Paint (I FINALLY used Golden Carbon Black)
Length of ribbon for around the top
DCWV Steampunk Spells Paper Stack & paper die cuts
Glossy gel medium (I use GOLDEN)
4 straight pins for the holes that the hinges go in (so you don’t fill the holes with paint)
Handle brad (with the little things cut off so it lies flat)
Inside the box: 
Wooden Bottles (Scotty’s Pork Chop Show this is a link to his Esty shop but he is also on eBay)
Skull Button (with the shank cut off)
Krylon Gold Leaf Pen (to paint the weird head game piece)
Spell Book (I made mine out of a Mahjong piece, and covered it with the Steampunk Spells paper. Why a Mahjong piece? Cause it fit perfectly!)
Elixir bottle (I have TONS of little bottles)
Notions (I used a small white box for this)
Small ghost with pumpkin
Glass candy corn (I know this was a table scatter but can’t recall where I got it)
And here is the inside
I am actually really pleased with how it came out considering.  Please let me know what you think & I would love to hear your stories of “craft projects from hell.”

I would also like to enter my little Halloween Box from Hell in the following challenges:
C.R.A.F.T, Challenge # 128 - Autumn/Halloween/Thanksgiving (I went with Halloween)
My Craft Creations - Anything Goes
Country View Challenge - Something Spooky (second entry)
Crafty Catz - #202 Time for Halloween
Creative Inspirations Paint - Inspired by Halloween (second entry)
DL.Art - October Linky Party
Hobbycutz Challenge - #19 Halloween
Left of Center Creative Challenges - LOC/Halloween/Orange/Black
Unruly PaperArts - Black (RAQ1)


  1. This is beautiful - love that box! :)
    Have a great day, Christi...

  2. Oh my! This is fabulous, it turned out so beautifully, but boy oh boy what a saga for you, totally love this, thanks for joining us at Crafty Catz this week, Jac x

  3. i am so glad I am not the only one who has issues like these now and turned out fabulous though! Love this!

    1. Oh Carla - it was a nightmare LOL - thanks for your comment :)

  4. what a wonderful creation, thanks for joining in with our challenges at CRAFT and CRAFTY CATZ x carol

  5. This look so cool! I love this project and I think I have to put this project down on my to do list...

    Thank you for joining our challenge at Crafty Catz this week! Good luck!

  6. this is absolutely fabulous! stunning and beautiful, it looks aged and everything. you did an amazing job with it. sometimes our best work comes out of the most trials! thanks for sharing it! xo

    1. Thank you SO much Michele! I am my own worst critic when it comes to art so it's nice to know that this doesn't look like I struggled with it :)

  7. This is so cute! Truly a labor of love!! lol

    1. Thank you Alyssa - you know I left out a lot of my more "colorful" expressions LOL

  8. Well hun it might have taken a supreme effort on your part not to confine this on to the bin but am so glad you didn't. Magnificent project for our Unruly PaperArts RAQ XOXO Zoe

  9. I love your spooky box and your story of it's coming about. You would never know the challenges you had, it's wonderful!

    1. I appreciate your kind words Electra - it means the world to me :)

  10. Christi it sounds like you had many trials and tribulations creating this, but the end result is fabulous. I love how you created the shelf to house all your wonderful Halloween trinkets and goodies and I really like the muted look of your ribbon too. Thanks so much for joining us at Unruly PaperArts for Black it Out Quest this month.

  11. Well it all turned out fabulously! What a great box to house all your wonderful Halloween goodies. Thanks for sharing your lovely box with us at Country View Crafts this month.

  12. What a great little box you created here. Loving all the elements to this. Thank you for joining us over at Unruly PaperArts for Octobers RAQ. We hope you will join in again.


Thank you so much for your comments! I read each and every one :)