Friday, September 14, 2012

An Up-cycled Puzzle Box Art Canvas

 Happy Weekend!
I am am super excited to share this little project with you today. Super excited. (Cheesy grin) I have another canvas to show you made from something that would have otherwise ended up in our recycle bin. In the past I have transformed shoes boxes into pieces of art to hang on our walls, but today I used an old dollar store puzzle box. Yipppeee! Since everything in the store cost a buck this little bit of happiness was practically free. I don't know about you, BUT I love finding good deals on home decor and this is a steal. It is so super easy!  Even if you have never painted before - you can do this!
So let's get started...

Wait. Hold on. Before I start...I was a bit confused about Recycling vs. Up-cycling. The concept of up-cycling is not a new one, but the term is. Now I am NO expert but basically up-cycling is taking something headed for some land fill and creating something with equal or greater value/purpose. For example; glass bottles into a chandelier, cheese grater into earring holder (seriously), old tires into planters, etc. You get the picture. Recycling is when an item is taken and through chemical process changed back into it's initial form or something with sometimes lesser value. For example; plastics into sleeping bag filling, cardboard boxes into recycled paper, aluminum cans into new cans, etc. See the slight difference. Like I mentioned, "up-cycling" is a fairly new term. But artists, renovators, and crafters have been doing it 
for a long time!

OK. Now, let's get started! :)

First, find any box you want to save from the recycle bin.

 Use old book pages to cover the surface.

Glue down the pages using matte medium or Mod Podge. I used Mod Podge for this one. To avoid bubbles try using an old credit card or something flat to burnish it to the surface. The paper not only creates fab texture for the background, but it also reinforcing the box to make it more sturdy. It did come from a dollar it's not the strongest. :)

Don't forget the edges!

Here it is just waiting for some gesso.

I covered the surface with Liquitex gesso. I put down a pretty think layer in places so I could doodle and mark into it. I love the added texture that it creates.

Now, choose a color palette. Hmmmm, I think I see some turquoise. Lol. It is still my absolute favorite. 

Add some color using your fingers and an occasional paintbrush. :) I can't tell you how much I love painting with my fingers. The placement of the color can be so random and plus it is just way too much fun! Welcome back to Kindergarten. 

I painted some butterfly chipboard pieces I had in my stash using a contrasting color to make them pop. After they dried, I attached them using some foam adhesive squares from Recollections. I knew I wanted some dimension and these worked perfectly. 

I doodled some more with a white Gelly Roll and added some white rub-ons.

There you have it! 
I love how this little puzzle box turned out. It will look perfect on my wall and I can't beat the one dollar price tag. So, the next time you are about to throw something out...take a second look at it. Maybe it is just waiting to be turned into something fabulous! :)

Linking up with Paint Party Friday and Studio JRU.


  1. Wow. Now that's inspiring! I just love what you have done with that box. I have been a little worried about spending money in canvases again and now I realize I don't have to! I wish I could find those little bottles of paint here too.

    LOVE this!!!!

  2. this is a great idea, i love the colors that you have used....

  3. Fabulous idea! And I love your results. Think about something like this for Christmas packages. Very clever.

  4. awesome! i love the step by step -- process posts are my faves! :)

  5. Love your piece! Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial - the step-by-step was easy to follow!

  6. Your piece is fabulous, really lovely! Thank you for sharing! HPPF!

  7. Great! I made one of these "canvases" recently, but I like your painting much better. Now I'm inspired to do it again. I love making things like this. Your colors are gorgeous.

  8. What a lovely DIY project and painting!
    Such an inspiring message in it, too!

    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  9. Excellent up-cyled project!! You go girl...Green is in and so is this wonderful idea!Very pretty artwork!!

    Hugs Giggles

  10. Great recycling with fab results. Happy PPF, Annette x

  11. Thanks for clarifying those terms..I actually have been confused a few times when I see them used. This project is awesome, what a great way to use the box top, love your work!!

  12. great step by step... and the finished product is fab.... even better as it was such a bargain...xx

  13. Oooooh I LOVE it Jen... beautiful background.... thank you for sharing your progress steps... what a gorgeous project...

  14. You really did turn this into something fabulous! Are you going to have to fight your daughter for it?

  15. This is so pretty! I love seeing all the steps and how this creation came together. Such a creative canvas! LOVE the color palette! :)

  16. this is fantastic and your work is beautiful

  17. Okay Lady! THAT is really awesome! I love the tutorial and the finished results - and the lesson too! I did not know the difference either, thank you ;) xoxo

  18. That is just SO pretty... thanks for sharing the technique


  19. WHOA this is awesome!! I've been reading back a few entries through your blog... and seriously everything you create is so cool. Following your blog now - can't wait to see what else you come up with!

  20. So inspiring and beautiful! Thank you for showing step by step. your work is just gorgeous!!

  21. Oh this is absolutely stunning and the butterfly made my heart flutter:)