Friday, April 03, 2009

Frugal Craft That's Also Chic: Altered Box

This frame is made using a sheet from the luxury stack and some rose stickers, and then outlined with puff paint or glitter glue. To make it simpler and less messy, you can just cut fancy edging with decorative scissors, from glitter paper or other fancy papers, and stick on with glue.

This frame is made using fabric and padding, with sewing trims. It is not necessary to spend money on projects like this. Even if you do not sew, and have no trims or fabrics, you can often find things on discarded clothing or other things around the house.

The empty box, shown below, had a "window." You can make this frame from any box, however, and just trace a shape in the middle for the window.

There is also a stitched version of it, that is much easier, which I may show at a later time. I made this from an empty tea-light box, which had a little window in it.

I would really recommend trying the paper version if you want quick results.

The first thing you will need to do is cut off the front and back, which will be your two main pieces of the frame. Trim off all the little tabs. Cut out a piece that will work for the stand. You can see all those bits in the upper right corner, and the flat pieces below them. I want to also remind you that fabric scissors are usually never used on anything else, least of all paper, because it dulls them, so I show the fabric scissors on the left, and the paper-scissors on the right. You don't have to have special fabric scissors, you just have to choose which ones you want and not use them on paper, if you want to keep them sharp.

For a fabric project, trace the front and back cardboard on to a piece of felt, as you see on the left. Do not leave any margins or extra allowance, but cut to fit. Then trace on your fabric, but when you cut it out, leave about a half inch extra to wrap around the cardboard. When tracing the window area, cut into the corners, as I have shown, in the pink fabric. Here, I used a scrap of glittery fabric. Trace your box pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, with pencil, leaving the shiny side for the outside.

Scribble white glue all over one side of the cardboard pieces.

Lay the felt, which is your padding, on top of the glue and press it down to stick.

Turn it over and put the padded side on the wrong side of the fabric and pull the excess around, using clothes pegs to anchor it while it dries.

This project does have a drying period, so if you want quicker results and less frustration, just use a piece of luxury paper and some scrapbook embellishments.
Glue the seam allowance down and clip clothespins on it until it dries. You can set it in front of a heater for faster drying time, or put it outside in the sun.

Glue another piece on the backs of these padded pieces.

Glue three sides only. The un-glued side will be the place where you insert your picture. It is very important to make only a thin strip of glue. Now put both the front and back together, with padded sides facing you, and anchor with clothespins til dry.

Cut a piece of cardstock, trimming it to fit inside the open end, add stickers or a verse, and slip into the frame. Decorate the edges of the frame with trims from your sewing supplies, old buttons, and craft materials. Remember, when you press the top piece onto the bottom piece, that you may have to anchor it all down with clothespins until it dries. The clothespins will leave some marks but they will smooth out after awhile.

It is possible to earn a little money making things like this. I know a lady who had a tea party at her house, and she had a little shelf where she kept a few things like this, which she made to sell.

Scrap crafts and altered boxes make you look at ordinary things a little differently!


Lydia said...

If you are having trouble printing articles for your notebooks, try highlighting the article, and pasting it into a wordpad or other blank space on your computer and then clicking "print." I am trying to figure out how to make the "printer friendly edition."

Diane Shiffer said...

wow, these are so pretty! and one could put a cherished picture in the opening as well.. sort of like scrapbooking something to put on a shelf for all to see, instead of keeping it inside a scrapbook.
very very nice☺

Lydia said...

Adapt any altered project to the colors you really like.Although I have used scraps I had, here, in pink, you can use bright, shiny colors and all kinds of exotic trims. These projects can match your home decor, or that of someone you are giving a gift to. Persuaded, yes, you can clip a photograph to fit, and you can also stand it upright the long way. A photograph of scenery would also look nice in soemthing like this.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty! I had to smile at the words in your frame... "Pink is a primary color". My second daughter is crazy about green. I was lucky enough to find a little hanging pillow at a thrift store with these words on it: "Get your own color. Green is taken". :o)


Alexandra said...


Anonymous said...

Your lovely box inspired me to cover a box my husband uses to keep all his stuff (keys, driving licence, pens, check in card for work, etc.) and I did!! First time I have ever done a thing like this. I was going to buy a box but didn´t want to spend money on a thing like that. So I actually covered it with black cloth with a tiny white print. Looks beautiful. I still can´t believe how good it looks.
Thank you so much for your blog. I have read it for about 2 years. God bless you Ana

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I have to say you're one talented and crafty woman! You could sell these, they are that lovely :-)