Lou's Cigar Box Purse
Cigar box purses seem to keep popping up here and there. Whatever the reason, there seems to be no end to the ideas of how to decorate them, and these days they are also readily available to those who only want to buy and not make.
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There are many different styles of cigar boxes around, but the following directions pertain to the one used in our show project, although many of the basic steps are the same, no matter what the shape and size the box.
Our Star of the Show purse was a collaborative effort of two of the Carol Duvall Show staff. The artwork was by Lou Cannizzaro. The assembly was done by Cherryl Green.
The first step is to obtain the cigar box. These are often available at yard sales and flea markets; however a more direct way is to ask at a cigar store or any store that sells cigars, such as liquor stores, drug stores and discount stores. In some cases, they are free for the asking, although some of the store owners who have discovered how in demand the boxes are will now charge for them.
There are two main types: boxes that are made of wood and those that are made of pressed cardboard. The wooden boxes are preferred. Even those that are covered with paper can be used. You will have to buy hardware (clasp and hinges) for those boxes that do not have their own. These are available at hardware and home improvement stores.
Materials and Tools:
wooden cigar box*
3" drawer pull
2 black dice or large wooden beads
electric hand drill (optional)
black acrylic paint
blue pearl metallic paint
color copies of selected art work**
flat charms, rhinestones
wall paper paste
2"-3" boat sponge
water-based acrylic sealer
2 pieces chipboard cut to fit inside of box (top, bottom)
fabric to cover chip board
clear silicone-type adhesive
piece of wax or parchment paper
*preferably with hinges and clasp
**The artwork selected for the featured purse was from a postcard done by Lou Cannizzaro. Cherryl copied it on a copy machine in the original size then copied it a number of times in smaller sizes. Some of these she cut to look like postage stamps by using Fiskars stamp scissors. Some she punched or cut out to look like jigsaw pieces. Lou's artwork had "good day" printed in Italian, so to continue the theme, she also rubber stamped and/or printed "good day" in several different languages.
1. Sand the cigar box. If the box has deeply embedded wood-burned letters or a logo, do not attempt to erase it. Sand just enough to make the surface smooth and splinter free.
2. Paint a black base coat inside and outside of the box. Apply two coats.
3. Sponge blue pearl metallic paint over the outside of the box.
4. Measure and drill holes for the handle in the top of the box. To determine the exact placement of the holes, turn the handle upside down and place a piece of paper over it. Poke around with a pencil or toothpick until you can feel the holes in the handle, and mark or poke a hole at these spots. Fold the paper in half and unfold. Place the center crease at the center of the edge of the purse and poke thru the paper into the box to indicate the placement of the holes.
5. Mix one part wallpaper paste with one part PVA glue. Tear or cut decorative papers and adhere to box using the paste/glue mixture.
6. Place a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper over glued pieces and brayer to ensure a smooth and permanent attachment and to prevent any air bubbles from popping up later. Repeat with all of the selected art work.
7. Seal with several coats of polyurethane. Do one side at a time and wait two hours between each coat. Do not use a foam brush for this step as it may cause air bubbles. Be certain that the box is on a perfectly flat surface when you apply the coating to avoid buildup at the outside edges.
8. When all surfaces are completely dry, attach the handle. If it is not high enough for you to comfortably get your hand under, it will be necessary to add some height. On the purse featured, Cherryl added two dice, so it was necessary to drill holes thru them. If you use wooden beads, this will not be necessary.
9. Attach the drawer pull and dice. Be certain that the screws are long enough to go thru the box and the dice and into the drawer handle.
10. Measure and cut chipboard to fit perfectly into the top and bottom of the purse. Cover each piece with fabric. Attach the fabric-covered chipboard to the inside of the purse using the glue/paste mixture.
11. Attach mirror to inside of the top of the box.
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