Handmade Love Letter Box
Artist Judy Lynn of Decatur, Georgia, makes a beautiful handmade box for sentimental love letters. Thanks to Judy Lynn for this project.
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Oddly enough, this artist's own love letters are still in an old shoebox, but she does have plans to create her own handmade box to put them in.
Materials and Tools:
mat knife with replaceable blades
ruler/metal straight edge
acrylic craft paint
book binder's board
wheat starch paste
brush for glue/paste application
8-1/2" x 11" decorate paper pieces with photocopied text
additional decorative paper without photocopied text
embellishments: beads, ribbon, buttons
heavy books for weights while drying
1. Decide on paper, design and dimensions. Lay out book-binding board and measure out pieces, including top flap and triangular lid.
3. Assemble sides, front and back to base with craft glue. Use masking tape to hold pieces together while drying. Double-check fit of top flap and triangular lid with assembled box base to ensure accurate fit.
4. Sand edges of top flap and lid. Remove masking tape from dried box and sand box edges as well. Use dust mask if necessary.
5. Measure out location for ribbon tie on front of box and button on lid. Punch holes with awl on underside of lid and inside of front.
6. Cut small area around punched hole and remove several layers of board to allow space for tail of ribbon and button (so a bump won't show under the paper when finished).
7. Lay out book cloth and cut hinges--two for triangle lid and one for front and flap. Before gluing hinges, paste scraps of chosen paper in corners to ensure board will not show through on final piece.
8. Glue top flap and front together with hinge on inside of the box and let dry.
9. Glue triangular lid to back with hinges--first exterior hinge, then interior hinge. Then cover with wax paper and heavy books while drying.
10. When dry, box is ready to be covered in paper. Prepare wheat starch paste according to package instructions (this can be made ahead).
11. To cover triangular lid, decide how you want the text/paper to look, and tear paper to fit allowing 1/2 inch or so on the non-hinge edges to wrap around lid. Paste with wheat starch, smoothing out bubbles with bone folder. Use wax paper as a protective layer over wet paper and under bone folder.
12. Cover top flap with paper, also leaving a 1/2-inch border to wrap around edges of flap but have paper cover front hinge and top of the front of the box. Take careful note to conceal any bookcloth that may show. Smooth out paper with bone folder and wax paper.
13. Tear paper for inside of top flap, paste paper and smooth with bone folder and wax paper as above. Dry top flap and lid with weights and wax paper for protection.
14. Tear paper for front and back of box, paste and smooth as before. Have edges wrap around to sides of box and bottom. Tear side pieces and have paper wrap over top of side and onto bottom of box. Paste and smooth. Tear paper for bottom of box, and paste and smooth. Let box dry with weights, and rotate weights during drying time.
15. Re-punch holes through paper for the ribbon and button closures. Attach piece of ribbon to pearl button and push this ribbon tail through hole on triangular lid. Glue ribbon tail in depression area and let dry.
16. String beads with wire or ribbon and push through hole on the front of the box. Glue this ribbon tail into depression and let dry.
17. For the tie closure, take length of ribbon and fold in half. Push the fold through the same bead hole on the front of the box, knot on the inside, and glue down. There should be two lengths of ribbon coming out of the front of the box (sometimes I glue down a scrap of paper over this area). Let dry.
18. Cover any bead wire that is showing by tying a knot over wire with the two lengths of ribbon from the front of the box.
19. Tear paper for inside of triangular lid, paste down and smooth. Let dry with weights on top. Tear paper for inside of box. You need one long strip to cover both sides and back, a strip to cover inside of front, and one for the bottom
20. Paste in bottom piece with a 1/2-inch border on each side of paper to fold up onto interior of each side of box. Smooth in place. Paste long strip to inside of box and smooth. Paste in last short interior piece, smooth and let dry.
21. Paint wooden feet with acrylic craft paint. This may require more than one coat. When box is dry, attach feet with craft glue and let dry with weights.
22. Cut ribbon to desired lengths.