One of the most dramatic of all colour combinations is gold ornamentation upon a plain black background. Often utilised in the exquisite traditional lacquerware of Asia, the striking contrast it creates adds a touch of class when applied to almost anything, from jewellery and mosaics to simple finger paintings made by toddlers. Household waste-products such as bottles, cans, and cardboard boxes can be transformed dramatically and given a new lease of life, simply with a coat of black paint and embellishments in gold paint, gel pen, glitter glue and adhesive rhinestones.
This activity focuses on up-cycling small cardboard boxes into items of great beauty: treasure boxes to store your most prized possessions. Whether you purchase specially made craft boxes or source small cardboard boxes free of charge from your local supermarket or hardware store, simply by following these steps your humble box can be totally transformed into an beautiful handcrafted item that will make a delightful gift for someone special.
Time: Taking into account the time for drying the paint and glitter glue, this activity will take at least a few hours. Alternatively, it can be stretched over a couple of days.
Age: 5-10's, Over 10's, Parent Craft
Cardboard boxes (I used three different kinds: a small round craft box purchased at my local handicraft store, an old gift box and a recycled cardboard box rescued from my local hardware store. Although they were all quite small in size, you can use any size and style of box, provided you have sufficient paint and craft supplies to adorn it.
Black acrylic paint
Metallic gold acrylic paint
Gold glitter glue
Adhesive gold-coloured rhinestones
Water-based varnish (optional)
Paint the boxes with black acrylic paint and leave it to dry. However, the bottom should be left unpainted. This part of the activity can be messy so do your painting on an old rag. If your boxes have writing on them, ensure that this is all completely covered. If necessary, use a second coat of paint.
When the paint has completely dried, use the gold paint to make some decorative patterns on the boxes. If you're an experienced artist or have some talent, feel free to create your own designs. If not, keep them fairly simple. Using my designs (from the pictures accompanying this article) as a guide, paint simple dot designs, especially around the edges of the box, and perhaps some very simple flower designs. They don't have to be masterpieces: the gold on the black always looks stunning, regardless of any technical short-comings.
Leave the designs to dry. If necessary, gently add a second coat of gold paint.
Optional step: If you'd like your box to have a glossy effect, when the gold paint has completely dried, paint it with a water-based varnish. For a high gloss, do this a few times, allowing the gloss to dry between coats. If you'd prefer a matt finish (as I did), skip this step.
When the paint and varnish are completely dry, the gold design can be adorned with gold glitter paint. To do this, either use your own ideas, or follow what I have done, as per the accompanying photos. I tried to keep my entire design very simple, with mainly dots and simple flower patterns for embellishment. I used the glitter glue to enhance the patterns I made with the gold paint.
Allow the glitter glue to dry thoroughly. I usually leave it overnight so I'm certain that the surface will be totally dry for the final step.
When the glitter glue is totally dry, you can add adhesive rhinestones or other glittery embellishments to your box. However, don't be concerned if these aren't available. As you would have noticed by the time you've reached this step, your box will look sensational simply with the gold paint and glitter glue.