Creative Carte Blanche: Think Outside the Box!

CCB4.16.27Serene sunrise silhouette on the outside…

Hey guys! We’re “Thinking Outside the Box” this month at Creative Carte Blanche, by altering cigar boxes (or really, any box you’d like to alter!). If you’ve been following the adventure this month, you’ve already seen some amazing art by my creative cohorts. Those girls are good!

My own piece for the April challenge is a cigar box transformed into a (fairyless) Fairy Garden. From the outside, it looks all elegant and pretty, but once you open it up…? It’s a little goofy! I sure had fun making it, though, and the silliness of it does my heart good. I’ll take you through the process step-by-step…

CCB4.16.25…a springtime party within!

I started off with a wooden cigar box…

CCB4.16.01If your box is varnished, sand it to remove the shine. This will allow glues and paints to adhere properly. Wipe off the dust with a clean, lint-free cloth.


CCB4.16.03Smear white gesso onto the front of the box, thinning it out toward the edges. Allow it to dry.


CCB4.16.04After the gesso is completely dry, lightly sand the perimeter to fade the edges more.


CCB4.16.05Place small blobs of Dina Wakley’s Heavy Body Acrylic Paints down the side of the gessoed area. We’re creating a sunrise, so the darkest color– Blackberry Violet– goes at the top, followed by Magenta, Ruby, Tangerine, and Lemon.


CCB4.16.06Seriously, why use a brush when finger painting is so much fun?! Use your fingertips (or a sponge brush) to streak and lightly blend the colors until the look is reminiscent of a dawn sky. Add more streaks of paint as you wish until you get a look you’re happy with. Allow the paint to dry.


CCB4.16.07I used several stencils for the garden silhouette: Tim Holtz’s Wildflower and Mini Wildflower, and Wendy Vecchi’s Wildflowers and a Bird. Wendy’s Black Embossing Paste made a great dimensional silhouette when pressed through the stencil.


CCB4.16.08I also cut a stencil out of cardstock with Tim Holtz’s Mini Butterfly Movers and Shapers die, and used it with the same Embossing Paste.


CCB4.16.09Almost done with the outside! Let everything dry. It won’t take long.


CCB4.16.10Now, let’s make that fairy garden! I purchased a small resin pool in the reptile aisle at Petco to use as a pond. I placed it where I wanted it inside the box, then worked some polyester batting around it. The batting will go beneath the fake grass so the scene won’t be flat.


CCB4.16.11The reptile aisle in Petco has all kinds of cool stuff, actually, including rolls of Moss Mat, which looks just like a nice, green lawn.


CCB4.16.12Remove the pool and cut a piece of the moss mat slightly larger than the box. Use hot glue to attach it to the bottom of the box where the pool will go, and to the sides. The batting underneath gives the look of gentle hills in the “grass.”


CCB4.16.13Hot glue small pieces of the moss mat to fill in any bare areas on the sides of the box.


CCB4.16.14A cool thing about a moss mat– you can pull off clumps of the moss and glue them onto surfaces like the resin pool. Cover the outside to make the pool blend in with the “lawn.”


CCB4.16.15Next, hot glue the moss-enhanced pool into the box. It will fit right into the dent you left in the batting beneath the moss mat.


CCB4.16.16At this point, it occurred to me that it would be nice if the edges of the box at least sort of matched the lawn. I mixed Forest Moss, Pine Needles, and Ground Espresso Distress Paints to approximate the shade of green and applied it with a small brush.


CCB4.16.18I stole some aquarium gravel from my dwarf frogs’ tank and added a little to the pool.


CCB4.16.17How ’bout some water for our little pond? I mixed up an ounce of Ice Resin, added a squirt of Adirondack Color Wash in Stream, stirred it like crazy…


CCB4.16.19…then poured it into the pool, on top of the gravel.


CCB4.16.20Next, I made a little stone pathway with more aquarium gravel and hot glue.



CCB4.16.21The pool needed some pizazz, so while the resin was still soft I added a cute little porcelain frog and some Wedgewood Blue Perfect FX Mica Chips.


CCB4.16.22Puffy clouds! We need puffy clouds! I hot glued in clumps of the leftover batting in vaguely cloud-like shapes.


CCB4.16.23To give the clouds a little shading, I lightly brushed them with gray acrylic paint.


CCB4.16.24Gigantic flowers in tiny pots? Heck, yes! I found mini resin flower pots at Michael’s, and hot glued silk roses and leaves into them.


CCB4.16.30To complete the happy scene inside the box, I glued the flower pots onto the moss mat, and added a few scatterings of gravel.

CCB4.16.28Closed box…

CCB4.16.26Open box!

Thank you so much for taking the tour of my little altered cigar box. Come join the party at Creative Carte Blanche, won’t you?