Wooden boxes

Wooden boxes: Guide to learn how to decorate them yourself

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The wooden boxes, cedar or pine trunks and, in general; all the pieces of ornamental wood, have a very high price in spite of being simply wood. But why this? Well, the answer is simple, to the time and effort that people invest in them to decorate them.

It is not about the price of the materials used to make the box, much less those that were used to decorate it; all the additional surcharge of the price is due to the creativity and ideas embodied in the wood so beautifully. For that same reason, raw wooden boxes are so economical; but its simple appearance can be depressing.

Today, we will show you the most beautiful, economical and fastest ways to create incredible decorations in wooden boxes. Whether you want to make a unique and special gift, or if you want to beautify that horrible wooden box that is rotting in the garage. Whatever your case, we will teach you how to turn that horrifying piece into a work of art.

Materials that you will need to make wooden boxes

Wooden boxes

If you like crafts, you are sure to have many materials for the art of DIY. However, as we will be working with wood today. We are going to add other materials and tools that will be essential for the work we will do.

  1. Electronic soldering iron or soldering iron
  2. Screwdrivers
  3. Nails and hammer
  4. Screws pull backgrounds
  5. Sandpaper of various thicknesses
  6. Varnish
  7. Paint
  8. Washer

Maybe the last two materials are not well known, but we guarantee that they are really necessary if you want a professional finish in your work. For that reason, if you do not get them in your favorite craft stores; before buying them online pay attention to this article, here we tell you how to do your home washings and gesso.

Washes and Gesso, what exactly are they?

Wood has two very special qualities that are a double-edged sword when it comes to doing work on it; the first of all is that being a porous material, absorbs the paint.

Wooden boxes

This causes one, two and even three layers of paint; they are never enough to cover the color of the wood, which translates into an excessive expenditure of materials and resources (money).

The second quality is its natural relief. The wood is not perfect, it has small cracks, and reliefs that give it that attractive appearance; especially when we want to highlight an old or worn appearance.

However, when we use paint to cover the base color and even the same varnish; these details may be lost drastically, obtaining as a final result a synthetic, artificial appearance, not at all like that of natural wood.

The gesso and the washes are to help us deal with those qualities. The gesso is a material similar to painting; It is a primer with which we will close the pores of the wood and avoid that, the color with which we want to paint, is absorbed and lost in the grain of the wood.

On the other hand, the washes are diluted inks that settle in those details of relief and, as the case may be; they create “shadows and lights,” at least that’s what the human eye appreciates when the work is finished.

But wait! Do not go out and buy them, if you already have your reserve of acrylic paints; Today we tell you how to make your Gesso and Washes.

Making your Gesso

Wooden boxes

To create that paint intended for priming to close the pores of the surface of the wood before applying the final color; You will need the following materials that you already have at home:

  • White paste, 25 grams
  • Talc, 25 grams
  • Acrylic paint, 50 grams

We recommend that you do a good amount of gesso for your projects; for which the measures that we have given you are not obligatory to follow, but you must take care of the proportions.

The first thing will be to dilute the glue in water and a ratio of 50-50, stir well and, while you are stirring the glue with the water; go placing the talc in the mixture until no talcum lumps remain.

The last step will be to add the color of your preference. Remember that the paste and talcum are white, you could keep that base color and add white paint. However, you can add transparent paint; It will be of great help when you want to preserve the natural color of wooden boxes.

Making your washes

Wooden boxes

This time we will need to reduce the paint, but without breaking the pigments in an exaggerated way. For this, you will need:

Acrylic paint

Liquid soap or softener

Ethyl alcohol or water

As you can see, the options are broader when it comes to making your washes. In general, we usually use equal portions, that is to say; 33.33% of each. But you will notice that some darker colors do not require so much paint.

Experiment, create washings of different colors to highlight the minutest details in your colorful wooden boxes; or keep the basic things and make a whitewash, one black, and one brown/wood.

Now, since you have all the necessary materials, let’s start with the real decoration work. This time we will tackle one of our favorites.

How to do

Wooden boxes

No need to complicate things much and, using basic DIY materials instead of the ones we listed before; you can create a beautiful and romantic wooden box, a cute box or simply a precious memories container. All thanks to the technique of transfer in wood that we will explain how to do.

First of all, you should sand the surface of the wooden boxes to which you want to place a photo. It is not a job that you should do right at the moment; so you can dedicate to sand them and clean them all.

The next step is to add gel medium or decoupage glue both on the surface of the box and in the photo we have chosen. Make sure to spread the gel well on all two surfaces. Once you have finished, you must place the photograph on the surface of the box impregnated with the gel medium.

The following process is very simple, once the paper has dried (we recommend leaving it for 24 hours); Use a damp cloth to rub the paper and then with the tip of your finger, start to remove it, it does not matter if it falls apart.

You will notice how the image has been transferred to the wood, yes; do not forget that the image will be inverted, so maybe you should use a program on your computer to rotate the image in a mirror. Otherwise, if there is any word or phrase, it will be inverted. Finish the job by sanding the edges of the image and applying varnish or protective paint.

Rustic and aged engravings

Wooden boxes

Now we move on to a more complex technique but just as beautiful and rewarding once you have finished the project. The rustic engravings on wood can imitate leather or imitate the passage of time. You can make them look like metal or as an additional relief of wood; everything depends on what you want to convey.

To achieve this, the first thing you will need is a stencil with a motive to record. From complex designs to a single letter. Anything will serve to give a new appearance to your wooden boxes.

Steps to follow

Once you have the design, it’s time to transfer it to the wooden boxes. In case you want to do a project and then sell them. For this step, you will need to heat the soldering iron or soldering iron.

This tool for electronic welding can heat at a high temperature, but it also has another peculiarity, and that is its fine tip. With this tip, you can practically write thin lines on the wood without much trouble; giving them more or less depth or thickness.

Just do it in a ventilated place, you will be burning the wood to make the engravings. Of course, you can also use a lathe to record or a pyrography if you want really fine details; but as it is about making these projects without spending a lot on materials, we recommend using the electronic soldering iron.

Wooden boxes

Once you have made your engraving, it is time to begin the real work of embellishing the wooden boxes. Begin by sanding and removing the hinges, if you consider it necessary; you can then add hinges with a more vintage or rustic look, something that suits the engraving you’ve made.

Apply a layer of Gesso to the box if you want to add a new color or, if you want to preserve and highlight the wood; use the varnish. Of course, do not forget to apply the wash to highlight the details of the grain of the wood.

Final score

The result will be a really beautiful chest and far from what was previously the insipid case you had at the beginning. Remember that wood by nature is very beautiful, but do not be afraid to use different colors like blue or pink.

Although it is true that you could paint your designs, from experience we tell you that the most efficient ways to achieve a professional finish are these two. With the transfer technique, you will achieve a drawing of extreme detail. With the technique of the pyrography, you will be able to draw simpler things, but adding a rustic relief that will always look good.

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