Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Every Christmas around the 21st of December my daughter receives a letter from Santa to say that she has been a good girl and that he will try to get as many presents from her(extensive) list that he can. I have stored all these letters in my bedside drawer till now so I thought it was about time I found a permanent home for them.

I found one of those book/boxes in a local shop and I bought a couple with a view to customisation at some point in the future.

I started by applying a generous layer of modelling paste using a palette knife, it doesn't have to be super flat, in fact a few inconsistencies are preferable.

Once the paste was dry to the touch I set about making imprints using rubber stamps. Always wait until the paste is partially dry before moving on to this step or you could have an ugly mess on your hands.

I took three of the Thinlits Holiday Knit dies by Tim Holtz and used them to create a stencil through which I could apply more modelling paste.

Once the paste was dry I applied white gesso to the book/box cover before painting using assorted shades of blue/green Distress Paint.

I sped up the drying time using a heat tool before applying a generous spray of Distress Stain which I immediately worked on to remove most of the stain with a damp paper towel.

After the dark contrast it's time to add some highlights using white chalky paint applied with a dry brush technique, always start slowly and build it up. Next, I dipped a toothbrush into some of the paint and applied a random spritzed effect concentrating on the edges and corners. Once dry I applied some pewter coloured gilding wax over the raised detail.

For the word 'Believe' I am going to use the Bigz Handwritten Believe die by Tim Holtz. I started by scrunching a piece of thin white paper before cutting a rectangle of mount board large enough to cover the die. I attached this to the paper using spray adhesive before trimming to size and applying pressure from a brayer so that it sits nice and flat.

I die-cut the word with the paper side against the die and sealed it with more white gesso before following all the steps above so that the word matches the box. You can see where the gilding wax has picked out the creases in the paper.

Time for a few final flourishes now. I applied a little chalk paint to the bells and snowflake charm and gently stained a length of crinkle ribbon.
As you can see from the finished box, I thread the ribbon through the bells and tied it into a bow and added the snowflake charm above the letter 'i'. I hope that this is something that Poppy can pass on to her children at some point in the future.

 Here are a few close-ups showing some of the detail. Next week we're taking to the road with a fabulous set of dies which include a magnificent push bike.... see you then!


  1. What a keepsake. It is beautiful! I love the wintery blue and the crinkles and wrinkles.