How To Make a Silk Covered Box

In my line of work, I always end up with a stash of little silk pieces too small to do anything, but too beautiful to be thrown away. So, I keep looking out for ways to use them.

You know all those silk scarves that you don't like that much anymore? You can use them to cover boxes and renew your scarves stock (don't forget to go to http://SilkArtFromBrazil.com for that -- couldn't resist a little merchandising!)

The box I am using in the step by step is the kind you can buy at any arts and crafts store. They are cheap and the results can be stunning. So, go ahead, get your pieces of fabric (or even paper), your box, and a few other things I am sure you have at home and let's make some art!

Material and tools

  • Sturdy box (wood, MDF, papier mache are all good choices) with lid. The lid shouldn’t be too tight.
  • Silk stash of coordinated colors (you can also use other fabric or paper)
  • Coordinated paper for the underside of the lid. Should be sturdy, like scrapbooking paper.
  • White acrylic paint (any brand is fine, even wall paint)
  • Brush
  • White glue (like Elmer’s)
  • Water
  • Liquid Alcohol
  • Bone folder, if you have it.

Best Practices:

  • You can do this without a bone folder but if you still don’t have one, you should think about splurging and get one. It is a very useful tool every time you have to fold paper. The folds are always neat, without those wrinkles that folding sturdier paper creates. If you can really splurge, get the Teflon Bone Folder. Besides being non-stick, it doesn’t make that “shining” mark on the paper.

  • Whenever you apply liquid glue, using a brush always makes the task easier and the final result neater. When you are gluing paper, you should use a thicker brush and dab the glue on the paper, instead of using brush strokes. This will help prevent those “bubbles” on the paper. Always use the minimum amount of glue you need to have the job done.
  • Also when gluing paper, use your bone folder to prevent any wrinkles and make sure the paper adheres to all the corners of the box.
  • Whenever you are painting a wooden piece, sand it first. Then put a base coat of white paint and allow it to dry thoroughly. Sand the piece and apply a second coat of white paint. Then, apply the final paint, allow it to dry, and apply another coat. When you are satisfied with the coverage of the piece, apply varnish, allow it to dry, sand it lightly, and apply a second coat of varnish. It will look great!

Recipe for the glue

2 parts of white glue, 1 part water, ½ part liquid alcohol

Step by Step

1)If you are using a wooden box, you should sand all the imperfections. MDF and papier marche boxes don’t need to be sanded. Clean after sanding to get rid of all the dust.

2) Paint the box white. This is necessary because you don’t want the color of the box interfering with the color of the silk.

3) Mix your glue according to the recipe above (make sure you don’t mix too much because this glue can’t be saved for later use.)

4) Now, the fun begins!!! Cut your silk in irregular pieces, not too small. I like the rustic feel frayed edges bring, so I tore mine.

5) Put the first piece of silk over the box, and pass glue over it using the brush. You can use the brush to make sure the silk is completely flat, or you can live some wrinkles to give it some texture. Whatever you like!

6) Keep doing the same with the other pieces of silk, creating an irregular mosaic. You will put the pieces of silk over the edges of the ones you put before, so no uncovered space will be left at the end.

7) Leave pieces of silk hanging on the sides of the lid, so you can cover the sides and make the "hospital corners" with them.

8) Now, as always, the devil is in the details. Pass glue on the silk hanging on the sides, so they adhere to the sides of the lid. You should fold the silk that is left on the corner to one side of the lid.

9) Pass glue under and over the little triangle and hold them with a clothes pin.

10) Repeat with the other 3 corners. To make sure your finishing is neat, fold the triangles to the same side of the lid. In other words, 2 sides of the lid will have one triangle on each corner, and 2 sides of the lid will have no triangle.

11) Fold the remaining silk under the lid and glue it. Clothes pins will help here as well.

12) Now, we are going to work on the underside of the lid, covering it with the coordinated paper. First, you should measure the insides of the underside: sides and bottom.

13) You are going to cut:

A) 1 piece for the bottom, with the exact measures you took

B) 2 pieces for the bottom, increasing 0.5 inch on the width. So, my sides measured 3/4” by 6”. I cut 2 sides 1 ¼” x 6”

C) 2 pieces increasing 1 inch on the length and ½” on the width. So, my pieces measured 1 ¼” x 7”

14) Now, start with the pieces you cut on “13C”. Fold ½” on each end, right sides together. Using a bone folder (if you don’t have one, use a ruler or even your nails), mark the folds. Open the folds.

15) Fold ½” lengthwise, right sides together and mark the fold. Cut the little corner that measures ½” x ½”. You should finish with something like this:

16) Dab white glue all over the wrong side of the piece of paper and glue to one of lid’s underside sides, like this:

17) Do the same with the other piece “13C”, gluing it to the opposite side of box.

18) Take one of the pieces you cut on “13B” and fold ½”, right sides together, marking the fold. Dab white glue on the wrong side and glue it to one of the sides not yet covered with paper. Do the same to the other side. You will end up with all sides of the lid’s underside covered.

19) Glue the lid’s underside bottom and the underside should be finished.

20) If you want, you can cover the lower part of the box with silk as well, or do what I did; paint with acrylic paint in a coordinated color. If you choose to paint it, you can varnish afterward for a better finishing. Take a look at the "Best Practices" above about how to do a great job when painting wooden (or MDF) pieces.

21) And you end up with a beautiful box like this one:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great instructions in making the silk box.
I think your work is beautiful and I love the colors.