Monday, 8 June 2015

Mixed Media Boxes for Lavender Sachets

Today I started making the little boxes to contain my lavender sachets, which I am making as gifts for my fellow chemo-ites.

11 Closed Box

The other night I was indulging my Pinterest addiction and came across the template for these boxes. They were originally designed to be made up in fabric, and the design is available as a free download along with some other small quilting projects, but I thought I could make them from card and embellish them with mixed media.

First of all, here are the completed foiled dragonfly sachets.

15 Foiled sachets

Since they were quite rich looking, with gold embellishments, I wanted to create an exotic style box for them, and I must say I am delighted with the result!

I decided to use watercolour paper to make the boxes, because it is fairly thick and strong, and takes a lot of moisture without falling apart. Some while ago, I rescued a whole pile of sheets of watercolour paper from my hubby’s bin – they were what he considered to be failed watercolours, some of which were incomplete. Nearly all the sheets were unused on the back, and if I had been him I’d have kept them to paint on the backs! I have used quite a lot of the blank backs to dry teabags on.

For these boxes I decided to use the painted side, because it had the makings of a reasonable background with a bit of work! Here is one of them after I drew around the box template twice, and cut one out.

01 Watercolour Paper Being Cut

This watercolour was rather appropriate because of was one that my hubby did in Granada, and the boxes have a distinctly Islamic look to them!

The first step was to wash over the piece with a large, wet brush, to try and mute and blend the paint a little. It was surprisingly resistant to this treatment, so I added some of my own watercolour, nice and wet.

02 Watercolour Wash

For the next step, after drying the piece well with my heat gun, was to rub my Versamark pad randomly over the surface, and I then added some sticky embossing powder, shaking off the residue. I recently acquired this stuff and it’s brilliant for loads of things. It behaves like ordinary embossing powder, but when you heat it, it melts into a sticky glue. Here it is, before heating.

03 Sticky Embossing Powder

Here is the first step in the foiling process, with the foil being peeled back.

04 Foiling

The foil didn’t go onto all the sticky surface, so I repeated the process several times, until I was satisfied there was enough foil on the surface. I dusted it with talcum powder to counteract any remaining stickiness on the surface.

05 Foiled

The foil sheet, as you can see in the photo where it is being peeled back, now has patches with no foil on them. However, this does not mean that it is used up and should be thrown away – on the contrary – if you use it to foil over a sticky surface, any remaining foil on the sheet will be applied, leaving gaps of stickiness on the surface, and you can use another sheet of a different colour to fill these gaps, giving a gorgeous variegated effect (this is a technique I have yet to try).

The next step was to distress the edges, and I used Forest Moss distress ink, applied with an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

06 Distressing the Edges

I then took a glue pen and drew a line around the edge of each piece, and embossed it using gold embossing powder. Here I made a rather disconcerting discovery. I have a Chinese takeaway box into which I had emptied a large pot of gold embossing powder several years ago, and when I embossed with it today, it came out a dark greeny-brown colour! I had no idea that embossing powder could have a limited shelf life, but this stuff is certainly no use for producing gold any more! I shan’t throw it away as it might be useful if I want a dark greeny-brown colour. Fortunately I had a small tub of gold which was more recent, and I got the effect I wanted.

07 Gold-Embossed Edges

I added a bit more distressing with the Forest Moss distress ink to give a darker, richer effect and to show off the gold of the foiling and embossing better. You can still see some of the original watercolour paint, giving subtle variations in colour.

For the insides of the boxes, I smooshed some Forest Moss distress ink onto my non-stick craft sheet and spritzed it with water. I also spritzed the pieces, and smooshed them around in the ink, drying in between and re-applying, until I was happy with the result – a nice random background.

08 Ink-Smooshed Insides

I painted the surface with regular matt gel medium, using a foam brush, and then added some gold gilding flakes, pressing them well into the surface with my brayer.

09 Gilding Flakes

I finished off the insides by distressing around the edges with Forest Moss distress ink (I forgot to photograph this, but you can see the effect in the photos below).

The boxes are assembled by bending the two tabbed pieces upwards and holding the tabs together, and then folding up the other two pieces, one by one, threading the tabs through the slits. The shape of the tab on the top holds the box closed.

Here are the two completed boxes, together with the foiled lavender sachets which will be put inside.

10 Boxes and Sachets

The completed boxes.

11 Closed Box

12 2 Closed Boxes

13 Box Partially Opened

14 Open Box with Sachet

I am very pleased with this effect, which looks like rich gold-embossed leather. The original watercolour background gives subtle variations of colour on the outside of the box. The foiling, using the sticky embossing powder, has worked extremely well – I didn’t have a lot of joy with this technique using fabrics but it’s great for paper or card.


  1. Hi Shoshi, these are gorgeous! Adore the rich, jewel like tones. Thanks for all your lovely emails, I'm getting myself sorted out slowly! Love & Hugs, xxxx

  2. These are so lovely . . . I am sure that your new friends will be excited to get them and feel the love that you put into making them:)
    Have a happy week.
    Connie :)

  3. What beautiful boxes Shoshi. Such an unusual design.


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