Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heart Shaped Box Tutorial

The 2009, year end issue of Marie Claire Idees had an idea in it that inspired this project. In the magazine, they suggested (I'm guessing here because I can only a read a tiny bit of French and it's just what I can make out based on my knowledge of Spanish) that you put architectural elements on painted boxes to create a faux, porcelain-like relief. I thought it looked incredibly elegant. The boxes looked like something one would give a gift to Marie Antoinette in. But I didn't feel like going to the hardware store to get architectural elements, so I came up with this variation of the project. I think the finished box almost looks like an expensive, delicate piece of porcelain. This would be a great project for Valentine's Day, but you could also tuck a Mother's Day gift inside it too.


-Chipboard box: Mine was already pink, but you can get a plain box and paint it in any color you like.
-Tape. You want something that will be easily removed and won't pull the paint off of your box.
-Pallet knife or small offset spatula.
-Molding Paste: I used Liquitex. I've also had success using plain, old spackle for projects like this one.
-Stencil: Buy one or cut your own.


1. Lay your stencil onto to the top of your box. Tape it down.

2. Using your pallet knife, spread a generous amount of molding paste over the stencil. Make sure the entire design is covered with a thick layer of spackle. Once you have a nice mound of molding paste on the box, smooth it over. It's okay if you have molding paste on the plastic part of the stencil, but avoid getting it anywhere on the box except for in the design.

3. Gently remove the tape you used to secure your stencil and LIFT the stencil off the box. It's important that you grab onto opposites edges of the stencil and lift off in a upwards motion. If you try to peel the stencil off holding one corner, you will also peel most of the molding paste off. This is a tricky step, but the good news is you can immediately scrape off the molding paste if you don't like how it turned out and start again. (This will only work with wet paste though, so don't let it dry and then try to chip it off!)

4. Let the molding paste design dry thoroughly. This can take a few hours or even overnight depending on how thickly you applied the paste.

5. Once the molding paste is dry, gently apply a coat of varnish to the box and the relief. This will give you the shiny look of porcelain.


Material Connection Disclosure: I have no material connection to any of the brand names mentioned in this post.