Wednesday, June 20, 2018

a stylish surprise

I often hear how difficult it can be to create masculine things, whether it's a simple card for a special occasion or even a gift. In our family, June is a month full of celebrations. In addition to Father's day, there are many birthdays, a few of which are masculine. I am always trying to come up with new ideas for the guys, and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my stylish surprise. 
I use the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts double explosion box as a base for the project. This set is comprised of five pieces that arrive flat, ready for assembly. 
Each piece has pre-scored lines for ease of assembly. Once I have laid out the pieces, I like to fold along the score lines to get an idea of how the piece will take shape.
As always, the first step in my creative process is to generate ideas and get a feel for the theme I would like my project to follow. Because of the nature of the exploding box, this piece could go in so many directions; it's good to have a solid idea before getting started. The person I plan on giving this to is quite style savvy. I decide it will be fun to use Tim Holtz papers from the Dapper collection that I have in my stash. The next step is to begin thinking about what types of elements will be appropriate for the theme. I envision pockets and plackets, leather and linen, and buttons and zippers. 
Since I am using papers to cover the different faces of the piece, before I begin to glue the flaps of the lids and the smaller inner box portion, I trace an outline of these flattened pieces on the papers I will be using. This will serve as a template and facilitate the process. All of the flat panels are measured and the paper pieces are cut. When creating pieces that have multiple levels, I tend to work one layer at a time. I find this easier to know which papers go where and also to keep it in a manageable format. This project has so many flat planes to be covered and embellished, it could easily become overwhelming. I found it easiest to add the base papers to each tier/level before moving onto the next. Then, once all of the base papers are in place, I add the embellishments, one level at time.
Working my way from the outermost box inwards, I cut the squares that will be adhered to the outside. The squares are all 3 inches. I select coordinating but different patterns for the insides and outsides and a different pattern altogether for the interior base square. Before the papers are adhered, I run a piece of design tape along all of the folds. Each square is inked along the edges and attached to the chipboard with collage medium and then the piece is set aside to dry. 
While that is drying, I consider the box top. I want this to coordinate with the pattern paper I use on the outside, yet give a glimpse of what is to come. I decide to die cut a floral pattern that will mimic the floral of the sides. I cover the middle flat of the box top with a piece of linen. This will show through the openings where the negative space of the flower is. The paper is trimmed and scored, then adhered to the outer portion of the main box lid.
 
Before embellishing the large box flaps, I cut the squares for the next tier. I add design tape along the folds, ink the paper edges and adhere them. This second tier can be attached to the first, larger piece; however, I decide not to. Therefore, I cover all sides and panels of each piece. If you want the layers to be attached to each other, the bottommost square of this (inner) tier does not need to be covered. 
While I have all of my papers out, I select the coordinating pieces for the small box that will be located inside both tiers. This small box and its lid are covered in the same manner as the main lid. I trace the outline of the flattened pieces, cut out, score and fold and ink all the edges. I the use a quick dry glue on the box flaps and secure in place, creating a 3-D box. Once the box form is dry, it is ready to accept the paper covering. Make sure that it fits correctly before gluing onto the chipboard piece into a 3-D form, you may need to make a few adjustments; these are much easier to do while the paper can lay flat. follow the same steps to complete the small box lid. I like to cover the inside of the lids as well as the outside. This is not necessary, I feel it makes for a much better presentation.
Depending on the theme you choose for your double explosion box, there are many ways to embellish the flaps. Keep in mind that the inner tier, when open, rests on the outer tier flaps. Try not to add anything that could be crushed or alternatively, anything that would be so heavy that it would crush what is underneath. With this in mind, it is a good idea to keep placing the tiers into their respective locations as you go, so that you can easily see how they interact.  Each of my outermost flaps focuses on elements that can be found on an outer garment. 
I emboss a Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts zipper and pull with oil rubbed bronze embossing powder. After it is cool, I cut a piece of denim patterned paper to fit the void and adhere it to one of the panels. 
I create a pocket with denim paper trim, then die cut a square of linen with the stitched square die. The decorative edges are painted with faded jeans distress oxide ink. This square is folded like a handkerchief and stuck into the pocket.
Using the base paper, I create a collar element that is trimmed with the denim paper and attached to the top of another interior square. 
Using a stitched ovals die, I cut a piece of faux leather paper and ink around the edges to give it a broken-in feel. This is attached to the last panel to mimic an elbow patch found on a jacket sleeve.
In order to keep the second tier/layer from opening immediately when the main lid is lifted, I sew buttons on two outside corner edges and use a piece of elastic cord on the adjacent flaps to create a fastener that secures around the sewn buttons. I also later add a paper lid (not part of the laser cut set) to prevent the inside from being seen and to add to the "surprise" element when opening the box. 
The inner tier panels of my box focused on the finer details of mens dress shirts. 
I create a diagonal pocket to hold collar stays on one panel. 
Another panel has a "scrap" cut of linen covered by a faux leather piece that rotates on a jeweled "cuff link". This might be the perfect spot for a hidden message to the recipient. 
Another diagonal pocket holds an extra piece of "scrap" linen as well as a button card. 
The last panel of this tier contains a coordinating shield/logo. This may be a nice location to add a monogram for a personalized touch.
The "piece de resistance" is, of course, the inner gift box. I created this box with the thought that it may be used to house special mementos, cufflinks, or perhaps an heirloom pocket watch. 
Here are a few pictures of the pieces when they are stacked inside one another:

Once I decided upon a theme, this "stylish surprise" came to life. Knowing the likes (or dislikes) of the recipient can make such a difference when coming up with creative ideas, regardless of gender. I  have a feeling that this set may need to be a staple among my crafting supplies; I already have ideas for an entirely different theme.


I hope that you can savor each moment, the days pass quickly. 
 Don't forget to make time to explore your creative side.
Thank you so much for stopping by today.
~Ann  


Materials Used
Emerald Creek Allure embossing powder: oil rubbed bronze
Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts: Double Explosion Box, Zippers
Ranger/Tim Holtz Distress inks: ground expresso, brushed corduroy
Ranger/Tim Holtz Distress Oxide: faded jeans
Ranger/Tim Holtz Distress collage medium: matte
Sizzix/Tim Holtz Alterations:
gift tags, labels, mixed media #5, stacked postage, stitched ovals, stitched squares
Sizzix/Tim Holtz 1" circle punch
Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements: thread
Tim Holtz Ideaology:
design tapes, mini pocket watch, found relatives, textile surfaces,  thrift shop vellum ephemera
Tim Holtz Paper Stash: Dapper



I am entering this project in:
Mixed Media Monthly Challenge: June 2018-Wrap it Up
(the surprise box inside is wrapped in papers as well as "wrapped up" by the outer exploding boxes)




I truly appreciate all your wonderful comments, and do try to respond to each and every one; you may not always be notified, but please know that it means a lot to me.

32 comments:

  1. I am completely in awe Ann...it's outstanding! I love explosion boxes and this is by far the best I have seen...Brava my friend!!! Hugs xxx

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    1. Oh, that means so much to me Simona, Thank you! This was actually the first I have made and it was so much fun, as I was putting it together, I had many ideas for others. I am so happy that you stopped by. Hugs, ~Ann xx

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  2. Very stylish indeed. Absolutely gorgeous. Tracy ❤️

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    1. Thank you so very much Tracy! It was so much fun conjuring up ideas for the different elements. Thank you also for stopping by, it means a lot to me. hugs, Ann xx

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  3. Ann, this is a little masterpiece! It's intriguing, beautiful, ingenious and totally stylish! I love it! x

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    1. Julie, I am so happy you like it. I was intrigued by the possibilities this type of layered box could present and it was such a treat to create. Thank you for taking time to check it out! hugs, Ann xx

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  4. Oh my Ann! This is fantastic! What fun it must be to search through the pockets and layers of boxes. A truly delightful project. Big hugs, Autumn

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    1. Thanks Autumn, it would be a fun piece to receive. Thank you for stopping by, it is truly appreciated! Hugs to you, Ann xx

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  5. That elbow patch is my favorite!!!! Ann, this is a work of art.

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    1. Thank you Jess! So much fun thinking which types of elements to include, the patch was one of my favorites too. I truly appreciate you stopping by and leaving some love. hugs, Ann xx

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your steps and thoughtful details, from the collar stays to the elbow patch and the cuff link. This truly is a dapper project! I’m just wowed by it!!!

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    1. You are so sweet Tami, I am thrilled you stopped by, and of course, that you like this project! It's always a treat working with and being inspired by Tim's papers. Thank you for taking the time to visit the blog and for your awesome comment! Hugs, Ann xx

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  7. Wow! Beautifully written, fabulous design. Love it!

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    1. Thanks Linda! One of the best parts about this project is the number of different ideas that it generated! It was fun to envision different details that could be used on each panel. Thank you so much for visiting, it means a lot to me! hugs, Ann xx

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  8. this is truly fantastic!! I love that you were able to create that using Tim's Dapper paper stash. Just fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Paula! I love Tim's papers, when I thought up the theme, I knew this would be the paper I would use! Thanks so much for visiting the blog and your lovely comment, I truly appreciate it. hugs, Ann xx

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  9. Oh my goodness - what a FABULOUS project! And thank you so much for the detailed instructions and pictures - perfect. Love your blog!!!!

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    1. Thank you for taking time to visit my blog and for your wonderful words. It means so much to me. ~Ann xx

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    1. Thank you so very much for visiting my blog, how exciting to have a visitor from Austria! I truly appreciate you taking time to read my post. ~Ann x

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  11. Never seen or even thought of a double explosion and it looks fabulous, what a great creation..xx

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    1. Thank you Janette, I just recently learned of this piece and it was really fun thinking up a special way to use it. I believe there are endless possibilities for it! Thanks so much for visiting the blog and for your kind comment! hugs, Ann

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  12. Wow Ann!!! You really knocked it out of the box!!
    What a way cool explosion box and for the manly theme-you rocked it!
    Is there anything you can not make? You amaze me,my friend!
    xoxo

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    1. Jackie my friend, you say the kindest things! Thanks you so much, I am really glad that you like this. It was truly a fun project to make and so many ideas swirling around now for another some time. I truly appreciate you visiting the blog and your comments mean so much to me. Thank you! hugs, Ann xx

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  13. A fabulous project, the detail is simple amazing and such a clever design!! Fantastic work and thanks so much for adding it to our final challenge at Mixed Media Monthly!

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    1. Thanks so much Astrid, this was definitely a fun project to create! I really appreciate you stopping by and checking it out. Thank you. hugs, Ann xx

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  14. oh, super cool take on the 'wrapped' theme for our challenge!! Thanks for joining us at Mixed Media Monthly & sharing this fab project with us! =)

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    1. Thanks Lisa, I was hoping it would meet the challenge. I always love unwrapping the layers to find the final surprise. Thanks for checking it out1 hugs, Ann xx

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  15. Oh, my goodness, Ann! This exploding box is such a wonderful gift in itself! You have really taken your time to think this through, and your end result is nothing short of amazing! Love those creative embellishments! Your work is impeccable and your post is so delightful to read! Thank you so much for your inspiration! Sending hugs!

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    1. Thanks so much Sara Emily! Your supportive comments always mean the world to me! I truly appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog. Hugs to you! ~Ann xx

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  16. i absolutely love explosion boxes and this is right up there with one of my favourite for many reasons ..they are so much fun to not only make but to open and explore all the little flips and flaps and the treasure in the middle! thank you so much for sharing and playing along with our final challenge at mixed media monthly!

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    1. Diana thank you so very much for your very kind words. I truly means so much to me that you would consider this among your favorite explosion boxes. Also thank you for taking the time to visit the blog Thanks! hugs to you ~Ann xx

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