Turn A Chocolate Box into a Keepsake Spell Box Worthy of a Sanderson Sister

I don't know about all of you, but I always want to hoard things that I might want to repurpose later. One thing I always end up with is a surplus of empty boxes and tins. In honor of Valentine's Day I thought it would be fun to upcycle a heart shaped chocolate box and turn it into Winifred Sanderson's great love, her spell book... or at least my version of it! This project would be perfect if you got one of these boxes as a gift for Valentine's day, but you could also go pick one up at the store, eat the chocolates and then DIY it up. This is sort of a lengthy process but with patience you'll end up with a keepsake box to store your trinkets or love letters. It would also be an awesome gift for a loved one, but I'd recommend staying away from filling it with sweets due to the paints and chemicals used to make this DIY project.

If the spell book isn't your style you could even use this tutorial to create your own design using the same technique! I used a similar process as the spell book tutorial I shared a while back by my friend Savanna.

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Materials:

  • Empty paper heart shaped chocolate box, emptied
  • Mod Podge
  • A variety of paint brushes
  • Tissue paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Matte sealing spray (Optional)

Directions:

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Step 1: Take the lid of your emptied box and paint it with a thin coat of Mod Podge, including the sides. Put a layer of tissue paper over the Mod Podge and then paint another layer on top of that. Allow to dry completely. When the Mod Podge is dry it will become translucent.

*Don't wrap your tissue/Mod Podge around to the inside of the lid as the build up will prevent it from closing later.*

*Tip - I like to tear all the factory edges off of my tissue paper so that when you lay it down and layer it there will be no harsh lines, but that isn't entirely necessary since you want to build as much texture as possible for this project.*

Repeat Step 1 until you have built up a good amount of texture. I think 1-3 layers will be sufficient depending on whether you have to cover any embossed designs on the chocolate box.

Allow to dry completely.

 

Step 2: Create features by modeling tissue. You can do this by painting both sides of a piece of tissue paper with Mod Podge and then crumbling it into your desired shapes. Paint a layer of Mod Podge onto your dried box and press your modeled features onto the box. Apply another thin coat of tissue over the top any features which you'd like to appear blended (such as the eye) and then seal entire top with another Mod Podge layer. Allow to dry until translucent.

 

Step 3: Paint your entire top medium brown (or the color of your choice if you've chosen a different design.) Allow to dry completely.

Step 4: Add shadow. Mix a darker brown shade and paint it into any creases or crevices in your design. Think about where dust would settle - these are the right places to add shadow. Make sure you don't have too much paint on your brush as you will want to fade your shadow into your main color with an ombre effect. I used a dry brush to blend the two together and used my main color brown to fix any areas where the shadow color spread too far out.

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Step 5: Gradually highlight your texture. You can do this by mixing lighter shades of brown  and applying them with a dry brush. Make sure your brush has very little paint on it and use a gentle hand when sweeping your color on so it will only end up on the raised areas of your design. You can keep mixing lighter shades and continuing to do this process in varying areas to add more depth and age. I mixed two different highlight colors for my box. Allow to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

*Don't use pure white as a highlight color, or even any shade close to it as you'll need it to make your stitches stand out.*

 
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Step 6: Paint in your features. If you've chosen to do this design you'll need to paint in the eye, metal snake and stitches. While it would be difficult for me to explain this in a quick tutorial I can give you some tips for painting your features.

*When I paint eyes I like to keep my paints pretty wet since eyes are watery. I use some translucent layers of paint to create this effect. This is because I don't like to have many harsh lines in the pupil or iris. They're so reflective and wet that I think they look as if they're almost blending together in paintings and photos. I use some of that concept in my technique. *

*When painting the stitches, I kept my paint pretty wet and made sure I had a lot on my brush every time I painted a new stitch so each one would be very bold. I tried to make them as haphazard as possible to keep it looking natural and old rather than making them perfectly placed which would appear strange on an old spell book.*

*When painting metallic objects it's a good idea to paint a black base coat and allow it to dry completely first before applying paint. This will make your metallic silver paint on the snake look even more metallic.*

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Once you have your features looking the way you want them to you can continue to add dust and texture but that is optional!

Step 7: Once your painting is completely dried you can paint the bottom half of your box as well as the insides of the top and bottom a contrasting color. I chose black but dark brown would work as well. Allow to dry completely and then you have the option seal entire box with a thin coat of matte spray if you would like to help preserve your painting.

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