Altered Wooden Box

Altered Wooden Box

Posted by DecoArt on Nov 10th 2016

Two Part Altered Wooden Box

Part Two: Altering The Wooden Box

Altering a wooden box is such a fun thing to do because it can be anything you want it to be! For this box, I have combined several techniques with DecoArt Media products to create an intricate, very dimensional treasure box. It’s easy to do and really allows you to stretch your imagination as you work. Are you ready to begin? Let’s do this!


Items Needed:


Begin with an ordinary wooden box. Remove the closing clasp from the front using a miniature screw driver. Leave the inside clasps that hold the box together. If the box is really rough, sand it a little to smooth the surface. 

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Choose different cardstock images and cut them to fix the top of the box. Also cut little strips that could be used on the lower sides and back of the box if you choose to do that. Glue the cardstock in place using DecoArt Media Matte Medium. Let dry and then brush over the surface of the paper to seal it. Matte Medium works as a glue and a sealer and dries clear. 

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Size and print out a black and white woman’s profile on heavy cardstock and cut around it. Lay it on the box top and draw around it with a pencil for placement. 

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Paint in the interior of where the profile will be place using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White to seal underneath the profile with a white background.

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Measure and make a mark every ¾” around the top perimeter of the box lid. Then glue the larger half pearls in place on the marks using DecoArt Liquid Glass to hold them in place. (

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Decide on some stamps you want to use for this next step. You are going to embed them into DecoArt Media Modeling Paste so you will need to clean them immediately after using. Also have a small water bottle handy to spritz the stamp before using. 

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Work in small sections on the top of the box. Avoid the area where the female profile will go on the lid of the box. On the lid of the box, randomly spread about 1/8” thick amount of DecoArt Media Modeling Paste in a section of the box lid using a palette knife and smooth it out. Then begin to heat with the heat tool but do not totally heat it set. Once the Modeling Paste is not tacky anymore but not hard, spritz the stamp you have chosen with water and press it into place in the Modeling Paste. Then pull up and you will have created an imprint of the stamp. Clean the stamp. Use another stamp or the same stamp and repeat this process until you have filled in the lid and sides of the box as much as you wish. You may wish to heat set the imprint in between the stamping process. Let the box cool down and air dry before continuing.

When this step was finished, I also randomly added some DecoArt Media Crackle Paint (white in color) randomly to the top of the box where I did not have embedded images. I did not photograph this step but you will see the crackled areas in the next photograph. Let the Crackle Paint air dry.

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Brush DecoArt Media Matte Medium over the surface of the profile outline painted with Titanium White paint applied earlier. Place the black and white profile photograph in place and gently burnish to remove air bubbles. Lightly heat set and then brush over the photograph with Matte Medium to seal her in place. Your box will look like this at this point. 

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To get an idea how you want to design your top, lay the finished gears from Part One of this tutorial in place. While this is not the final design, it will give you some idea where you will want to place objects. 

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This is how the front of the box looks at this point. The opening in the center is where the new closing clasp will go once put in place. 

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Paint over the entire box, including the pearls with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff. This gives a uniform background color but also allows a little of the cardstock images to show through. Use a baby wipe to wipe off excess paint. Let air dry or gently heat set. 

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To create a quick and easy addition of color to the Titan Buff basecoat, put a small amount of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Yellow Oxide on a craft mat and wipe through it with a baby wipe. Apply the baby wipe to the surface of the box and wipe it over the box until you achieve the desired color. Repeat this step as necessary to achieve that color. Next, repeat this process using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide. This is a semi transparent color that provides warmth and rich tones of a golden yellow over the Yellow Oxide. Wipe off any excess of either of the colors using a baby wipe. 

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This is how your box will look at this point.

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To seal the paint colors, brush over the entire box using DecoArt Media Ultra-Matte Varnish. This is a thin, clear varnish that dries to a matte finish and gives a silky feeling to the substrate. You can still add more layers but this varnish will seal what you’ve achieved thus far.

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This is what the sides of the box look like at this point. You can clearly see some of the original cardstock and the embedded stamped images from the Modeling Paste. 

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To give a weathered, aged appearance, it’s time to add DecoArt Media’s Raw Umber Antiquing Cream. This stuff is like magic! Simply brush it over the entire surface of the box, heavier in areas where you want darker shadows or edges. Let completely dry. Using a baby wipe or moistened paper towel, wipe away the Antiquing Cream until you have achieved the desired effect. Let more of the brown remain in the cracks and crevasses of the crackle paint and embedded images.

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Here is how the box looks at this stage; continuing to be transformed into that intricate, old and weathered look. 

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To further define the edges of the box and give them even more of an aged look, use your finger and wipe some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Raw Umber along the edges and in areas you want to accentuate. 

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To make the “rivets” along the top sides of the box more closely resemble “metal”, begin by brushing over the rivets with a small brush and DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Silver. This is a shiny silver and too bright for the old worn look you are trying to achieve on this box. But it is a good basecoat for “metal”. When the silver half pearls have dried, brush on small amounts of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Paynes Grey over the Silver. This will transform the half pearls into an antiqued silver or pewter look. 

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The closure I selected already had an antiqued bronze finish and I chose to use it. So I simply centered it on the front, and using the mini screwdriver, I screwed everything in place. 

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Alter the antiqued silver feet of the box to look like the antiqued bronze with this easy technique: First apply the darkest paint color; in this case DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Raw Umber over the entire surface of the metal using your fingers. Let it dry or heat set. Allow the metal to cool down before trying to pick it up! Add more dark brown if needed to cover the silver base. Next add small swipes of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Yellow Oxide using your finger. Especially hit the high areas of the metal. This photograph does not do justice to the rich, antique bronze color achieved by doing this simple technique.

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Refer to the first of this two part tutorial to see how to create the rusty patina gears used in this photograph. Each of these gears will be glued into place using DecoArt Liquid Glass. It dries clear but also dries with a touch of a gloss to it. So, be careful just to apply enough of the Liquid Glass to hold the elements in place without oozing out from underneath. I glued the gears in layers, letting everything dry in between. I also added other metal elements and smaller pearls to the top. You will clearly see those in future photographs.

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To add some shading around the gears and give even more depth to the design, create a bit of a wash using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber, Paynes Grey and water. Using almost a dry brush technique, use a small brush and add the deeper color around the metal pieces you want to especially stand out. Repeat this all around the design and also around the black and white profile picture.

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Create a small charm to hang from the closure clasp using a jump ring and a couple of small metal objects.

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Colorize the black and white photograph using almost a dry brush effect. Since the photo has already been sealed with Ultra-Matte Varnish, you can easily brush on the color and wipe off excess to achieve the facial colors you want. I used DecoArt Acrylic Paint in the Flesh color for the skin. Then I applied blush to the cheeks and brow area using a mixture of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Primary Red and Titanium White to create a soft pink tone. I used a small paint brush and a combination of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cadmium Red Hue and Titanium White for the lips. The eye was colored using a combination of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cerulean Blue and Titanium White. The eye shadow was a very light brushing of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue.

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Glue the altered feet in place on the box bottom using a hot glue gun.

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To quickly color the inside and surrounding edges of the box, squirt a bit of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Yellow Oxide onto a craft mat and apply it to the raw wood surface using a baby wipe. Next squirt a little DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber onto a craft mat and apply a light amount of it over the Yellow Oxide. Wipe away excess Burnt Umber to leave a weathered wood effect. 

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Measure and cut pieces of cardstock to line the interior of the box. Glue the cardstock in place. 

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Apply a small amount of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide over the surface of the facial profile. This will warm up the profile and blend it into the lid of the box. I love how Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide instantly ages things and gives them a soft, rich tone.

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