Tutorial: How to Make an Aged Treasure Box (Part one)

I promised a tutorial on how I created my aged treasure box, so here it is. Its rather long, and I wanted to break it into three parts, but the natural breaking points dictated two. So here you are. Part one. Tune in tomorrow for part two.



  • pine box
  • wooden decorative element
  • paintbrushes
  • water jar
  • palette with paint wells (paint will be watery so a flat palette will not do)
  • acrylic paint: brown, yellow-ochre, black, and a few colors (I suggest a sky blue and a red)
  • sandpaper
  • hammer
  • carpenters glue
  • lighter (or a stove, if you are brave)
  • old toothbrush
  • wax (I used a few votive candles)
  • wax melting pot (a shallow tin or even a bit of aluminum foil in a frying pan will do in a pinch)
  • newspaper and paper towels

Thus begins the adventure….


Step 1: Set up a work space with newspaper, and make sure materials are accessible. If your workspace will need to be used for other purposes over the next days (for example, if you work at the kitchen table, like I do) make sure you have somewhere the box can sit to dry.


Step 2: Check to see if there is an evil price tag sticker. I didn’t do this and found it after I had started, but its better to get rid of it now. If there is, see if it will peel off easily. If so, you are one of the lucky ones and can continue to step 3. If not, keep reading.


If it peels off in pieces about equal to confetti like mine did, peel off what you can. Then, wet it, and continue rubbing to get as much of the paper off as possible. Finally, take some sand paper and sand away the sticky parts. Yes, I know. It’s a pain. Don’t look at me. I’m not the one that put the stupid sticker there.


Step 3: We will primarily be painting with watered down paints. Because the layers are thin, once they accumulate, they have a nice effect. Here’s how I watered my paints. Put a pea sized puddle/glob of yellow-ochre (or gold, or tan, or some other similar color) in one of the paint wells, and then add water until it is mostly full. It helps to use a medicine syringe. I don’t have the patience to carry the water drop by drop with a paint brush when I need to water the paints that much. Use a small paint brush to mix the paint. This paint brush is for mixing ONLY. Once the watered down paint is fully mixed, put the mixing brush in the water jar and take a small to medium size flat brush. Give the box a good coating with the thinned ochre paint, inside and outside.


Step 4: Don’t forget your extra shape, if you have one. I chose a leaf because I like leaves. A lot. You can choose whatever you’d like. Paint the top of your shape, and don’t forget the edges. The underside won’t show, so there is no need to paint that. If you should have a shape with grooves or beveling, make sure the paint gets in there too. Allow both box and shape a bit of time to dry.


Step 5: Once the box is relatively dry (its ok if it’s still a little damp) water down some brown paint in the same manner as the ochre paint, and give the box a coat of brown. Remember, the mixing brush is not to be used for painting (some of the thick pigment lodges itself in the brush and if you paint with it, it will show up on the box). Don’t forget the inside and your shape. Allow some time to dry as before.


Step 6: Water down a few colors of paint. As mentioned in the materials list, I recommend a sky blue and a reddish color. They show up nicely on the finished box. Additional colors won’t hurt. Once your colors are watered down, apply them to the box. This time, do not cover the whole surface. It should be patchy and/or streaky. This layer should be completely dry before further paint is added, to preserve the streaky effect. Otherwise, the paint is just dissolved into the other colors and you will have to redo it. Add some to your shape too.


Step 7: If desired, apply additional coats of brown and gold, and possibly more colors (don’t overdo it, but if you see a place that could use an extra streak, go ahead. Just make sure to let the colors dry.) Remember to add to your shape every time you add to your box.


Step 8: Water down some black, and give the box a coat of black. This will darken the box a bit, and start to add the aged feel. Again, shape too. Allow to dry completely. (Overnight should be sufficient).

This is already very very long. Part two will go up tomorrow. Your box needs to dry anyways.  Happy creating.

Update: Part Two is up.

About cassandramarie

Cassandra is a 24 year old soon-to-be teacher, used-to-be poet, and when-I-can mixed-media artist; a bookish little nerd with her head in the clouds and the Lord's Word in her heart. View all posts by cassandramarie

4 responses to “Tutorial: How to Make an Aged Treasure Box (Part one)

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