Saturday, July 21, 2012

Embossed Metal Box Tutorial

In this project I will show you how to take this humble little box from Alpha Stamps, and turn it into a grungy but elegant steampunk box.  This was also the technique used in my Altered Dress Form, posted a few weeks ago.  I am happy to report that this dress form was chosen to go on tour with an expo show for the next year.

Chunky Book Box

Here is a peek at the finished product. This box is 4x4 so it is perfect for small chunky books, altered coasters or just random junk.  

I started out by prepping the box feet with both black and patina guilder's paste.

Then I moved on to prepping my box.  I applied one thick coat of black gesso.  

While these dried, I worked on embossing my aluminum tape from the hardware store.  Now, I do happen to have a machine that I use along with embossing folders.  If you do not have this resource get creative.  I was able to sample some textures from around the house.  A beaded place mat, a wire basket, a heat vent...get creative!

To add more dimension and texture, I painted my embossed tape with gesso and then wiped it off.  This leaves a bit of color in some of the indentations of the foil.  It also dulled down the metal quite a bit.   

Now for the fun part, applying the tape.  This is so easy, since the adhesive is already there.  I layered three strips on the top, adding each of the outside layers before placing the one in the middle. 

A bit of tissue tape on the edges gives it a finished look.  To blend the tape in with the project, I wiped some black gesso on and then off of the tape to grunge it up.  I also added a bit of spray glimmer to shine it up with another layer of texture.

Now it is time to add the hardware.  I simply used a heavy duty glue for the feet.  Make sure they are all level as it dries!  A vintage clock gear is held on by the faucet handle, which was screwed onto the top of the box.  Be sure to do this before embellishing the inside and the backing of the handle will be hidden. 

Now I chose my wonderful Alpha Stamps imagery.  The round things collage sheet had many options, so I chose a few.  A few large spinners add my favorite element of movement to the project.  

Simply glue inside with a bit of coordinating paper, and you are done.  

Hard to believe this was a simple little gift box to start, eh? :)

I hope I have inspired you to step outside the box with your embossing.




  1. I love this, it's so ancient and luxurious looking. And steampunk too~!

    Now if I could please find this aluminum tape anywhere here in Germany? o.0

    I love your nails too, btw. ;D

    1. usually you can buy aluminium at the hardware is in the plumbing section and is used to repair pipes and air conditioners....very cheap and has about 100 yards to the roll.....dont try to buy in a craft store!!!

  2. WOW....Absolutely FABULOUS girl!!!!!! I LOVE that!!! Looks JUST like metal!!!!!!

  3. This is absolutely inspirational and gives me a ton of ideas for my jewelry designs. Thanks so much. The box is awesome!

  4. Aluminum tape is now on my shopping list! Awesome project!

  5. Very nice tutorial. Beautiful box.

  6. Really fun Rhea! Thanks for sharing I have this texture folder now I have something to try it on :)

  7. Thank you for your excellent step-by-step photos and directions...I'm adding it to my "To Create" list!

  8. Rhea,Wonderful project! Could you please tell us the thickness of the tape you used?1.5 mil. or 2 mil.I'm assuming 2" wide.Thanks so much.

  9. Awesome project! I just made some altered mint tins using this embossed foil technique and am now looking for other inspiring projects to apply it to. This is certainly one I will be doing. Cute nails by the way.

  10. This is gorgeous, Rhea. Amazing how much it looks like metal!

  11. I picked up a set of these feet on clearance a while have given me an idea of what to do with them! And aluminum tape at the hardware store--brill!


All the comments and feedback you leave affirms my creative spirit on a very deep level. I am grateful for your time and readership!