Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A simple stenciled box for vacation memories


You might be wondering what we are going to do with our postcard travel journal once we tire of displaying it on the mantel. Well, I took about 30 minutes last weekend and made it a permanent home.

It's simply an unfinished cigar box with the year and destination of the trip stenciled in paint on the front. Here are the simple materials:

I chose gold paint because it blends in fairly well with the natural tone of the wood. I planned to display the box on a bookshelf and I wanted the lettering to be legible but not SUPER ASSERTIVE -- I wanted it to read like the spine of a book, if you will. The only gold paint I had on hand was actually fabric paint, but it worked just fine (acrylic craft paint would have been the obvious choice).

As for the play-by-play: Place the stencil for your first letter on the box:

Load up your foam brush with paint -- not too much now.

Dab paint on stencil. Don't worry, it's not rocket surgery.

It is a little fiddly, though -- those rubber stencils don't really stick to the wood, so some of my letters are a bit imperfect (I'm looking at you, D). No matter, it's not really noticeable from a couple feet away. And fortunately, one coat of paint turned out to be plenty, so I could remove each stencil right away and go on to the next letter.

You might notice in that picture up above a rubber band around the box near the top of the frame -- I used that to hold the box closed so I could flip the latch open and get a stencil underneath.

And that's it. You could put some kind of poly or varnish on the box to seal it, but I didn't bother -- I figured with the amount of handling it will get, the paint will hold up just fine. I gave the paint an hour or so to dry, then tossed the postcards and other trip ephemera inside.

(Yes, I did save tram tickets and the receipt from lunch at our favorite cafe, and I don't know why you're surprised; I've never pretended to be anything other than a sentimental fool.)

Anyway, here's to the future, may it hold a whole bookshelf full of cigar boxes.

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