Bear and I have been married for 17 years. And over that time the only thing we fight about is how messy the house gets. With my OCD I’d be happiest with everything always put away in its designated place and if nobody ever moved anything. Bear would be happy if he left things wherever he happened to be standing when he stopped using them. Even if that was in the middle of the living room, or the bathroom, or in the middle of our bed. It’s been a journey to try and find the middle ground between us, and for many years I had to settle for “hygienic enough to not get CPS called.” Bless him, no matter how he tries, Bear just doesn’t seem to possess a cleanliness gene. So since I’ve learned that he’s never NOT going to have piles of crap around, I can at least give him places to put those piles of crap that won’t make me crazy.
Even if you don’t have the pile problem that Bear does, you probably have keys and spare change and earbuds to corral. And since handmade gifts for dudes are always so hard to come by, this project solves a lot of problems at once.
- Wooden Box with a frame on the top
- Cardstock for the inside of the box (I used this script paper)
- Cardstock to decorate the inside of the frame
- Wax Metallic Finish (I used Spanish Copper)
- Alphabet Stickers
- Clear Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel
- E-6000 Adhesive
Apply the wax finish to the box by rubbing it in with a shop rag and buffing until absorbed. I loved working with this as an alternative to paint and I ADORE how it looks when it’s done, but this stuff reeks to high heaven and will stain anything it touches until it’s cured. So use gloves, open the windows, and wash your hands when you’re done.
Cut the paper to fit each side of the inside of the box and glue it in place. Cut another piece to fit the backside of the inside of the frame.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay out your box and the frame inset piece. Cover both with ultra thick embossing enamel.
Heat in a 300 degree oven until melted. Repeat with a second layer if necessary to get the coverage you want. Repeat this process for every side of the inside of the box. Watch it closely because as soon as it melts it will start to drip. Let each side cool before applying the embossing powder on the next side and watch it close again. If the embossing gets away from you and you end up with a pool on one side of the box, a heat gun can help as you keep the enamel melted and spread it around where you want it.
The cardstock I used for the inside of the frame had this great texture that could be sanded to reveal the interior color. I took full advantage of that, but you could decorate yours any way you want.
I am always looking for an excuse to add nailheads to my paper projects, and making a masculine box is a great one. Push the nailheads through the front of the paper and bend the prongs down on the inside. Make sure you don’t put these too close to the edge or they’ll get in the way of the frame.
Use letter stickers to finish the decoration.
Insert the decoration into the frame and pour more embossing powder over the top. Bake as before but remember that all your enamel on the inside could melt again too. Position it on the cookie sheet with the box open. Watch it closely and take it out as soon as the powder melts. Since these frames aren’t made to be water tight it might start to leak. That’s another reason you want it to only get hot enough to just melt the powder. It might even help you if you use a heat gun to finish it. Keep adding layers as necessary to get the look you want.
Cut the chain to be long enough to fit around the outside of the frame and glue down with the glue. This stuff is pretty dang stinky too, so keep those windows open.
When I gave this to Bear he was so excited. “You made me a box for my crap! You made me a crap box!!” Everyone loves to be seen and embraced for who they are. And God love him, I love this big lug. Piles of crap and all.