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. 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, ink their 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 then  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 so 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 (coming soon) 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.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Used:
Zippers (coming soon)

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts has a Craft Group on Facebook. The design team would love to have you share your Gypsy Soul creations; there is a giveaway going on right now! Click here to join the group and learn how you could win a fabulous prize. 

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