Anyway, I need a nifty box to keep them in that will also be a useful and beautiful prop for the story. Why should you decorate a box? I dunno, but when you see it you’ll want to make one too.
A cardboard box (duh!) I bought one of those heavy duty cardboard ones at Hobby Craft (thanks to Iain and Rachel for bringing me there) but I suppose any old sturdy brown box will do.
Some masking tape
Plain old brown shoe polish (the kind that comes in a pot not the sponge on kind)
I bought mine for 50p.
That’s it! Seriously, that’s it.
What to do:
Tear uneven pieces of masking tape and layer it over the box covering all surfaces. It is okey-dokey if the tape overlaps. In fact, please overlap because that creates interesting shadow effects, but more about that later. The main thing is to cover it completely with different sized and shaped pieces. It will look better if the edges are raggedy rather than straight so try to get all sides of the tape ragged as you layer. Also make sure it is all pressed down well--no bits of edges poking up.
Here is a picture showing the whole box covered with tape.
Here is a close up of the lid where you can hopefully see the puzzle effect made by overlapping tape.
Then take some shoe polish on a cloth and rub some into the tape. Isn’t that amazing? I bet you didn’t think it would do that! But the polish stains it a nice antique brown and the edges of the tape get darker giving it that Bonanza burned map effect. Coat the whole thing with shoe polish and then wipe off any excess with another cloth. Let dry and apply another coat. Wipe off excess and let it dry. Keep going until it is as dark as you want it or you keel over from the smell of the shoe polish (which was a bit wiffy, but faded as it dried.)
A word of caution: Don’t try to do too much at once. The tape really starts to pull the skin on the pads of your fingers after a while (especially if you are a sensitive flower like me and adhesives bother you.) By the end it felt like my fingerprints had been pulled off which would be swell if I was master criminal embarking on a life of crime. However, I am not therefore it was all a bit ouchie boo-boo so please do take care. Don’t come crying to me if your fingers bleed all over your lovely box. I did warn you.
Here is the finished box. Isn’t it lovely? It almost seems a shame to fill it with rocks. I am so glad to have finally gotten to use this idea. You see, I am craft hoarder. I find craft ideas and I save them in a folder labelled CRAFT IDEAS I CAN’T WAIT TO USE (seriously, I have a labelled folder that is crammed with ideas.) I found this idea in some craft magazine 5-6 years ago and have just been waiting for the right moment to try it out. I was a bit nervous it wouldn’t work, I mean--masking tape and shoe polish? Spiderman was his usual sceptical self but in the end even he had to admit it looked pretty fantastic.
So go and make a useful box for putting things in today and impress your friends.