Saturday, February 2, 2008

Alpha Stamps ABC Pencil Box

Created as part of my job as a design Team Member for Alpha Stamps (smile). If you click on this photo you will be brought to my flickr photo sharing account where you'll find lots more views! Below, I'll share how I created it with you .
AlphaS.ABC-box03, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

This started as a plain, stained wooden box. The owner of Alpha Stamps, Leslie Elledge recently published a number of new ABC/School related collage sheets and also new clear Pen & Ink stamps that I wanted to use together on a design team project. This was on my mind as I was unpacking yet another box in my studio from our move last fall. The good thing about finally trudging through the unpacking of what my husband Steven lovingly calls "most of what we moved" is that I am finding cool things I have not seen in months or in some cases even a year & a half (we moved twice!). In a large carton with canvas boards and pads of paper and my label maker, was this wooden box -a perfect match for my idea! This box did not need any prep first, to be able to work on it. *If you start with a rough wooden box or container, I would sand it and stain it (if you wish) first.

To start, I looked through the new collage sheets and chose images I wanted to work with that would fit on either the sides, top, or inside lid of my box. I cut out more than I would need and played with their placement by trying them out on different places. I decided to begin with the inside lid that you see above. I chose an image from the chalkboard sheet (Y & Z) and one from ABC Books #3 (A,B, C,D and ABC).

I thought about HOW I wanted to attach these paper images to the wooden box and decided upon Yes Glue. From my experience Yes Glue is one of the best glues to use when you really do not want the paper you are gluing to buckle, and especially if you will be covering the paper later with some type of medium. I trimmed the images to fit the inside lid space and used an old credit card to spread the Yes glue on the back of my images (it's almost like a paste). Once in place on the box I used my bone folder to make sure the paper images adhered to the wooden lid securely and I let the images dry.

I decided they needed some 'framing' -- so I reached for some ribbons from Alpha Stamps:
a 3/8" dark brown velvet ribbon that I ran vertically on either side of ABC and then a 3/16" reversible tan/rust ribbon I found in Christmas Set #1 that I used around all the edges of the lid and images. To attach the ribbon I used a thin line of tacky glue on the back, cut to size, and then pressed the ribbons into place. See the photo above.

Next, I turned my attention to the outside of the box. The large main image on the top of the box is from the new Alpha Stamp collage sheet Animals in School. I really wanted to use this entire image along with the "S" text; I think it is so cool! By doing a little trimming it fit nicely. I went ahead and made decisions about additional images from this sheet, the Chalkboard sheet and the ABC Books #3 sheet. I trimmed the images to fit the available space on all sides of the box and once again used Yes glue and a little burnishing with my bone folder to make sure all of the images were secure. One of my favorite images is from the Animals in School sheet, called "kittens in school" . . . probably because at this time we have 2 kittens at home. I think that's what makes this image is so endearing to me! I will use it to show my next step in creating this box. (see the back of the box below)

I wanted to 'age' the images (and the box) a little bit so I used brown acrylic paint and a rag. By rubbing a bit of paint on the edges of the paper collage images & also some areas of the box and then before it dried, rubbing some of the paint away with a damp rag -this gave the box the 'old' look I wanted. Since I liked it, I went ahead and did this process all over the box!

Next came rubber stamping. To combine both collage and stamping for this project, in line with my theme, I grabbed the new pen & ink set of clear stamps from Alpha Stamps to use. Because these stamps are perfectly clear, when I mount them temporarily on clear acrylic blocks, I can see right through to whatever I am stamping, a blessing when working on a project like this. I used a black StazOn Ink Pad which is a Permanent ink and just right for a wooden box! You will want to practic first at least on paper. Permanent inks are different - tackier (stickier). Practice first and make sure you have a re-inker handy to refresh your ink pad as needed. With unmounted clear stamps such as the pen & ink set I worked with here, you have the option of stamping without the acrylic block and bending the stamp around the corner or re-stamping (clear=easy to line up again) if you did not get the entire image the first time. Check out the corner below by clicking on the photo. Not my best 'around the corner' stamping, but fun!

The final thing I did was use my heat gun all over the box to make sure all the ink was dry. Then I used a self-leveling matte medium by Golden for the nice sheen you see all over.

I hope you enjoyed learning about my process & you try this project out yourself! If you would like to view a slideshow of all the different sides of this box, go to this page and chose 'view as slideshow'. p.s. my husband says he's stealing this box for his art pencils!


  1. fabulous work! I do like all you did to the box!

  2. The box is simply gorgeous, no wonder Steven wants to get his hands on it!!

  3. Hi Lenna! This is a fabulous project! It looks wonderful, and it's so interesting to read about your process. I don't blame Steven for wanting to "steal" it:>

    I hope you're doing well - we need to get together soon:> xox - Carla

  4. A MASTERPIECE....really great job on your box....
    Love all the elements x

  5. Lenna, this is so cute! I love all the different layers; ink, images, paint, etc. Lovely!

  6. Hey buddy,Excellent project...Tat is soooooo cute.U have done nice piece of work.Thanks for sharing.
    keep up the work.


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