Friday, March 13, 2015

Making Felt Boxes

I thought I'd describe some of my techniques for making the felt boxes, which should work for any type of box template.  This is Lynn speaking, and you'll notice I've switched to the first person.  We started writing the blog in third person because there were three of us, and we thought it would help to identify who was writing.  But that seems awkward, so we are switching to the first.  Enough grammar - on to the boxes.

I use a heavy-weight Pellon (Ultra Firm Peltex) for the base of the box and paint both sides with a color I want to focus on from my scraps.  When I painted my first one at Koalas, I used Sharee Dawn's Liquitex Basics and only intended to paint one side.  But I didn't like that it looked blotchy on the other side as some of the paint seeped through, so I painted both sides and hung it to dry.  Back at home I tried using up some old Plaid paints, but that gave off an odor I didn't like.  Even though it eventually went away after a few days, I switched back to the Liquitex.  The paint gives body to the box.  I tried felting on the unpainted Peltex, but the felting broke it down and made it too limp to shape the box.

After the Peltex has thoroughly dried (usually overnight), I have found it helps to score the box folds with a ruler and pointed tool before I start felting with my needle felting machine.  Then I'm ready for my silk scraps.  As you see, I have quite a pile to choose from.
I love the way the silk gets distorted in felting, especially if it has a pattern to it.

Before the box is assembled, I attach the button that will be used for a closure.  I use a shank button, preferably metal.  It's positioned about 1 1/4" from the top edge of the box front.  I've used an awl to make the opening for the shank.

To secure the button, I cut a 3/4" piece from a staple, slip it through the shank on the back side, and then cover it all with my hot glue gun.  At this point the box can be assembled using the hot glue gun and is ready for the final step with the box lid.

The box lid is closed with a piece of braiding cord.  I've again used a shank button, a small one this time to hold the cord in place.  With my awl I punch a hole for the button which goes on the inside of the lid about 3/4" from the edge.  Before putting the button through, I slip one end of a 10" piece of cord through the hole, leaving just enough on the inside to wrap once around the button.  I then hot glue this, being sure to catch the cord in the glue.

I thread the other end of the cord through a darning needle and wrap it around the exposed shank (on the outside of the lid) four or five times.

I close the lid, wrap the cord around the button once or twice, adjust the cord length and add a small bead at the bottom to give the cord a little weight.  The box is done!

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