The Box

A few months ago a co-worker brought me a wooden box asking if I would like to have it. I don't know if it used to belong to a library, but it was a little battered, had a slightly rusty latch, and still all I thought was that maybe some day I would pick up bead embroidery, so I said yes.
Since then the box had been standing around openly in my hallway, so I was reminded of it every time I walked by. I guess that was the reason why I had bought the Stiff Stuff (a backing for bead embroidery) I recently found in a box on my stash drawers and also bunch of dichroic glass cabochons. I honestly don't remember.

So I gave this a try. First I did all the cabs, and from there I just winged it, determined to decimate my stash of bugles and seed beads, and after I improvised the "tentacles", I remembered having some shell pearls, so I threw them into the mix as well.
Had I decided on a background beforehand, I would probably have used more bright colors for the tentacles. I simply hadn't thought about how many seed beads I would need for it, and the only colors that I had in bigger amounts were black and gunmetal - I had already used both black and gunmetal bugles in the tentacles, so that was not a choice - and my beloved gunmetal AB. I'm getting withdrawal symptoms if I don't have enough seed beads and Delicas in that color in the house, it was the first one I fell in love with, and I love using the beads for night skies.
The background was good practice for embroidering curves.

When I had finished the piece which took me so many hours, I had another look at the box. The color of the wood seemed all wrong now. What now? A friend of mine advised me to consider chalk paint.
I had a look around and then ordered some because it sounded easy enough for even me to use. When it arrived, I was a little surprised because I had expected a darker color from the picture, but so what?
I gave the box a light sanding and then a few coats of paint, allowing each one to dry in between. The advantage of chalk paint is that it dries rather quickly (an advantage that really sold the idea to me ;-)). Afterwards I scrubbed it just lightly with the rough side of a kitchen sponge because I didn't want to go for the full shabby chic look, I just wanted the color not looking so uniform and boring.

I'm not a painter, and this is not perfect, but I didn't aim for perfection. I would have had to do a lot more with the box to make it perfect. It has dents here and there, there's the latch that was hesitant to lose all of its rust while I was hesitant to look for a new latch to put on, and so my brush strokes are not even, either. That rather fits me, though.

Next I glued on the embroidered piece. There we go. Or not.
I wasn't completely happy with the latch, so I decided to try painting part of it and randomly adding some beads. So far none has fallen off, but I don't think I'll let Gundel too close!
I didn't seal the paint because I don't intend to bring water near it, either (chalk paint is water-based). Now all I have to do is glue in a bead mat because the inside looks a little battered as well.
Of course I don't have an idea what to use the box for yet ... what would you do with it?


  1. Why, I would fill it with beads from my bead stash! It's beautiful, Cat. I told you before that it reminds me of the Starry Nights painting and I have not changed my mind about that.

    1. Thank you so much, Dawn!
      A bead box sounds like a wonderful idea. Maybe it would also be a good WIP box instead of using drawers ;-)