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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

Dragon Skin Treasure Box

by: Louise Crosbie
November 10, 2015

Dragon Skin Treasure Box

I openly admit I am a bit of a geek. A fantasy sci-fi nerd who loves, among other things, computer games, Tolkien, Wiccan witches, Magic etc (you get the idea.). I started out wanting to make a large spell book like a book of shadows of some kind but I caught a chest infection and couldn’t get out to the shops to look for a big enough book to put spells in. Desperate to try out my idea for a “dragon skin” effect, I decided to try it all out on a wooden treasure box instead.

Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Prussian Blue Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Green-Yellow
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Yellow Green Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Interference - Turquoise Interference
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Interference - Green Interference
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Interference - Magenta Interference
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Modeling Paste - White
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Lavish Green
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Fab Fuchsia
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Brilliant Turquoise
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Copper Kettle
  • Metallic Lustre 1oz - Gold Rush
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Glaze - Clear
  • Americana Decou-Page (Glue-Sealer-Finish) 2oz - Americana Decou-Page Matte
  • Andy Skinner Stencils 12x3 - Shedded
  • Assorted Brushes
  • Palette Knife
  • Wooden Box
  • Toilet Paper
  • Polystyrene Ball

Instructions :

You will need a plain untreated wooden box.(if it is a previously treated/painted box then prepare it first by sanding and washing down.

Coat your entire box in a thin layer of gesso and allow to dry 

Using Andy Skinner’s snake skin stencil and a palette knife, add some modeling paste to the lid.

When the modeling paste has dried and hardened, paint your lid. I chose to do mine green so used a mix of Media Fluid Acrylics Prussian blue, Phthalo green-yellow and Yellow green light that I had left over from a project I was doing just before, rather than waste it. I then began to add my first layer of interference paints.

I did not want it a uniform colour when the light hit it but wanted a more magical multi coloured look so I added patches of different coloured interference paints to the surface.

As I was going to be going for an aged “used” look to the box, I decided to start darkening the edges. I used some antiquing cream. I added a few dots around the outside edge and then blended it in with a brush. Once it had dried I was able to wipe it back a little with a cloth. 

To add more magical colour and shine I began to build up layers of Metallic Lustres that just hit the surface of the texture. I used lavish green, fab fuchsia and brilliant turquoise at this stage. You can build more layers of colour with lustres and interference paints after you have added your eye feature.

For the eye, I used a polystyrene ball. I cut a section off (less than half as half was too tall. Probably about a third) and painted it to look like a dragon eye.

I have no doubt you can use clay for this next part, but I didn’t have any. What I did have was toilet tissue and Decou-Page medium. So I soaked my tissue in the medium and sculpted an eye socket and lids from the slightly pulpy mixture.

When the eye area had dried out and hardened up, I painted it to match and blend with the rest of the box. (I ended up changing the eye on the finished item as I didn’t think it looked dragon’y enough as it was. I also added more antiquing cream and a layer of Copper Kettle Metallic Lustre to the edges.

Now I simply spent time adding more layers of Interference and Metallic Lustres until I was content with how it looked. The layers added a great depth and age to it and when it hit the light lots of new colour appeared. To finish it off and seal it, I gave it a coat of crackle glaze, let it dry and then highlighted the cracks with some orange acrylic in places. (you can do this by painting on the orange paint then wiping it right back off with a damp cloth. The paint stays in the cracks). 

Now you can go ahead and decorate and embellish your box in any way you like.
Good luck!

Be sure to visit ZuZu's Petals Altered Art and Stuff for more projects and to learn more about Louise Crosbie.


This is such a magical creation, Louise! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! My son would give his right arm to own a treasure like I may well have to try out your fab tutorial. TFS! Hugs, Claudia x


November 10, 2015

Great tutorial and project, love the cool dragon skin you created. Thank you for sharing :D

Norma Gomez

November 10, 2015

I absolutely love your eye socket, brilliant and the interference colours look fabulous. Fantastic texture too. Great piece Louise. Tracy x X X

Tracy Evans

November 10, 2015

Oh love this!!!!!!

Kathy Gledsdale

November 10, 2015

Wow!!!! Fabulous idea and box, this is totally amazing Zuzu!!!!!!!!! :) Coco xx


November 10, 2015

Stunning Mark x


November 10, 2015

That is just awesome so going to try my hand at making one of these thanks for the wonaderful instructions..


November 11, 2015

Louise your box turned out fabulous. Gosh what a lovely exciting texture. And the colors... Oh my they look fantastic. Your eye deserves a chapter of its own. What a gorgeous idea to use a piece of styrofoam. And the toilet paper pap mache. FANTASTIC result. The wrinkles look so realistic. Also the swirls you added make a great impact. Can I ask if you made them yourself ot is it wooden cut outs ? I like the relief look they have on top.. Hugs from Monica..... Spain


November 11, 2015

I don't know how to reply directly to you Monica so hope that you check back and just spot this. The eyebrows are "Faux plaster" Shabby Chic embellishments by Prima. and thank you everyone for your encouraging comments Z x

Louise Zuzu

November 11, 2015

Hi again Louise Luckily I checked back.. Just to see if you had time to reply AND to have another option of enjoying the marvellous box.. I still find that surface amazing and the idea of how you made the eyeis awesome. Thank you for your kind reply. I just love swirls in my mixed media projects. Thanks again forr sharing this lovely project and for your kind reply. Now I'll go and have a look at your blog.. Hugs from Monica... Spain


November 11, 2015

wow its magical ! Thank u for sharing ! Can we do this with cardboard boxes ?


March 5, 2016

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