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Trash to Treasure Mixed Media Box

By: Von Pappe II
September 13, 2018

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Trash to Treasure Mixed Media Box
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Giving new life to abandoned things is something I just love doing. Upcycling stuff that by most people is considered trash is so rewarding and great fun. My favourite objects to alter and breathe new life into are boxes - they provide a sufficient and wonderfully flat surface to create your heart out on and once finished they become treasured keepsakes for gifts or other small treasures. 

My sister has recently given me two boxes that once held new mobile phones. I love their size and how sturdy they are - perfect for taking loads of yummy mixed media goodness!

Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Translucent White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - English Red Oxide
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Paste - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Paint - White
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Carbon Black
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Patina Green
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - Primitive
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - Relic
  • Americana Decou-Page (Glue-Sealer-Finish) 16oz - Americana Decou-Page Matte
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Orange Flicker
  • Assorted brushes
  • Palette knife
  • Plastic palette
  • Sturdy cardboard box
  • Die cutting machine
  • Crackle pattern rubber stamp
  • Black stamping ink
  • Blending foam
  • Soft cloth
  • Water in spray bottle
  • Sticky foam dot
  • Paper towel
  • Embossing folders


Step One: Prime all the outer sides of the top part of the box with two coats of Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in Primitive. Only paint the bottom of the lower part of the box. 

Instruction #1 - DAMMB sep18 step1
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Step Two: Die cut and emboss four strips using an embossing folder of your choice and one focal piece for the top of the box using a different embossing folder. 

Instruction #2 - DAMMB sep18 step2
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Step Three: Stipple a thin and even layer of Chalky Finish paint in Relic onto the die cut and embossed pieces. 

Instruction #3 - DAMMB sep18 step3
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Step Four: Using black stamping ink and a rubber stamp randomly apply a crackle pattern to the five sides of the box lid. 

Instruction #4 - DAMMB sep18 step4
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Step Five: Create a wash of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Translucent White and apply to the primed die cut and embossed pieces with a wide soft brush. Let air dry. 

Instruction #5 - DAMMB sep18 step5
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Step Six: Once all is dry, apply a very thin wash of Fluid Acrylic in English Red Oxide to the box lid and the paper embellishments you have created. Let air dry as well.

Instruction #6 - DAMMB sep18 step6
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Step Seven: Go in with another wash of Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide, but only apply it loosely here and there. 

Instruction #7 - DAMMB sep18 step7
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Step Eight: Using the very tip of a palette knife randomly apply a very thin coat of DecoArt Media Clear Crackle Glaze and let dry naturally. 

Instruction #8 - DAMMB sep18 step8
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Step Nine: In the meantime gently rub some DecoArt Metallic Lustre in Orange Flicker onto the raised parts of the embossed and painted paper embellishments using your fingertip. Once dry use a soft cloth and buff to a sheen.

Instruction #9 - DAMMB sep18 step9
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Step Ten: Now add a random layer of loosely applied white DecoArt Media Crackle Paint, just like you did with the Crackle Glaze. Once more set the box lid aside to let everything dry naturally.

Instruction #10 - DAMMB sep18 step10
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Step Eleven: Once the crackling process has finished and everything is dry, cover everything up with a thinned down 1:1 mix of Raw Umber and Carbon Black Antiquing Cream. You really just need four drops of each tone and a bit of water to cover the whole box lid. You can use a heat tool to speed up drying time.

Instruction #11 - DAMMB sep18 step11
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Spray a piece of soft cloth with water and wipe off most of the Antiquing Cream until you are content with the look. You will find that the cracks from the white Crackle Paint have become more visible and that the Crackle Glaze has created a kind of resist so now the original colours from the very first layer with the paint washes have come back to the surface again. 

Instruction #12 - DAMMB sep18 step11 2
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You can always go in with more Antiquing Cream and repeat this step if you find you have removed too much of it. 

Step Twelve: Now use some slightly diluted Patina Green Antiquing Cream on the box lid. This time do not wait for it dry but use some crumpled kitchen roll (paper towel) to randomly lift off the still wet Antiquing Cream in various spots. Let dry. 

Instruction #13 - DAMMB sep18 step12
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Step Thirteen: Sprinkle on some diluted English Red Oxide and Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide Fluid Acrylics by using the fully loaded brush and lightly tapping it against your other hand‘s forefinger, aiming towards the box. Cover your workspace or use a large shoe box to shield everything else from getting sprinkled with paint. 

Once that has dried, blend the edges of the box lid with black stamping ink. 

Instruction #14 - DAMMB sep18 step13
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Step Fourteen: Trim the embossed and painted paper strips to the according length. Then use matte Americana Decou-Page and a soft brush to glue the paper embellishments onto the box. Fix the embossed focal piece to the top with a large sticky foam dot. You‘re done!

Instruction #15 - DAMMB sep18 step14
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I love the weathered look of the painted sections against the subtle bling from the paper embellishments! The Patina Green in the background forms a great colour contrast against the more orange toned focal paper elements and the orange sprinkles I have added repeat the colours from these – so everything fuses beautifully. 

Instruction #16 - DAMMB sep18 fin landscape
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Instruction #17 - DAMMB sep18 fin detail
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Thanks for stopping by everyone! Hugs and happy crafting!


Be sure to visit Von Pappe II  for more projects and to learn more about Claudia.


Thank you so much for this wonderfully detailed and precise tutorial. Your finished box is lovely with so many layers of color and texture!

Kathi R

September 13, 2018

Thank you so much, Kathi! xxx


September 17, 2018

Claudia, the box is so beautiful with all the lovely grungy details , thanks for a detailed tutorial !!


October 1, 2018

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