March 04, 2020

DIY Craft: Paper Mache Trinket Box

DIY craft time! A free tutorial for you on how to make this paper mache trinket box.


This tutorial featured recently on alisaburke.com. Here it is on my lil old blog, but in a different colour way.

Paper mache is wonderful as it’s super cheap to make any sort of shape, limited only by your imagination! I wanted to make a small trinket box.

You will need:

-foam core board
-thick card (that can still bend easily)
-newspaper
-blank newsprint or butchers paper
-masking tape
-PVA glue
-craft glue
-air dry clay
-gesso
-acrylic paints
-gold acrylic paint (optional)
-gloss varnish

I started by finding a small bowl to use as a template for the lid and base of the box. Trace around and cut 2 from foam core board. 



I then cut from thick card a length 2” wide, and a small strip 3/8” wide. Make sure these are long enough to fit 1/4” inside the circumference of your base and lid. Tape the wider one into a circle, then tape this circle to the base using masking tape. Do the same with the 3/8” piece, keeping in mind that it needs to sit in a smaller circumference than the base walls, also taking into account a bit of padding from the paper mache layers. My inner rim sits about 1/2” in from the lid.



Using newspaper strips and a mix of PVA glue watered down slightly with water (approx 1:1) cover all over the base and lid, making sure you overlap the paper strips as you go. I then do another layer in plain newsprint so I can see where I’ve already covered. Let dry.


Using air dry clay, roll out a small slab to a little under 1/4” thick. Cut a leaf shape out with a blade, and smooth the edges using a bit of water and your finger or a clay tool. Roll three small balls of equal size for the feet and gently press down with something flat to make the balls slightly flat on the top and bottom. Let dry.


Once the clay pieces are dry, use clear craft glue to glue the feet onto the base, and the leaf shape to the lid. Allow to dry.


Gesso the whole box and lid, inside and out, including the feet and handle.

Now it’s time to paint! I chose to draw some simple leaf shapes, then painted around them and added wiggles, stripes and dots. You can copy my designs or come up with your own! Adding gold paint around the rim is a fun touch too. 






After decorating, I used water based gloss varnish everywhere except inside the box, and the inner rim of the lid, as my varnish can get a bit tacky when varnished pieces touch, as I discovered in my sketch book!



Now you have a gorgeous box to stash some special treasures!

Jules :)

February 18, 2020

Sewing Table DIY Furniture Upcycle

Hands up who likes a before and after DIY furniture story!?

The finished table...

I am loathe to spend too much money on stuff inside the house. It seems like wasted money sometimes and if I can come up with a cheaper way of making things look good, well then, why not?

And as much as I love interior design shows, it all seems very wasteful to throw away things and get new stuff, just because we like a different look or style. I mean, some people in the world live in tin shanties and huts, and we need to rip out our old tiles because the colour is a bit daggy? We are very spoilt!

I am no saint and we do a lot of things in our house requiring new materials and funds, and I won't rule out ever removing tiles in my home, but I do love to think creatively when it comes to what I already have.

I had this sewing table that I bought for $4 from the op shop. It's nasty! I bought it quickly when we were setting up our house as I just needed a table. I was pretty proud of the cost :) Though recently I was looking into new ones and was going to throw this one to landfill, when I started wondering if I could save it.

(insert horror screaming soundtrack!)

Painting this thing would've looked terrible due to the worn away veneer revealing chipboard, so my solution was to cover it with oilcloth, which is essentially fabric covered in plastic, and nail it on with some upholstery tacks. I stretched the top piece on (after ironing on low) like a canvas, stretching it and tacking it from the middle one way then the other, and then working my way out to the edges of the table.

This is the desk upside down

I wrapped oilcloth around the drawers and tacked it on from behind. I glued the drawer back together with PVA, and spray painted the brown plastic handles. New handles probably would've looked nicer, but once again, it had handles, and this challenge was after all about not sending bits of it to landfill.


And now I have a cute little sewing desk! The bonus of which is anything you're sewing glides easily over the oilcloth and doesn't snag on that terrible rough chipboard that is now sneakily hidden.

Now if anyone could come and un-jam my sewing machine from me letting kids use it, I would be most grateful!! 




 Jules :)


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