Wednesday, August 15, 2018

sunken treasure

As  the summer days grow shorter and preparations begin for the return to school, I often find myself contemplating the ocean. Maybe its the ebb and flow of the currents or perhaps just the peaceful lull it can induce. Regardless of the reason, whenever my thoughts drift to this wondrous aspect of nature, I often times envision the great depths where ships have gone to lie and sunken treasures abound. This is my inspiration for today's piece. 
I begin with the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts treasure chest. This heavyweight chipboard piece arrives flat in 16 pieces. I always find it easiest to arrange all the pieces as if I would be assembling it. This allows me to easily identify what areas will be exposed and which will be concealed, it also allows me to generate ideas on which finishes might work best.
I want the treasure chest to be finished on both the inside as well as the outside. I plan to finish the inner sides of the pieces before it is assembled, this is most easily completed using paints. I paint the inner sides of all the pieces that will be exposed with distress paint creating a look that will closely mimic the exterior finish I am planning to use. 
Next, I assemble the pieces to form the basic body of the treasure chest. Using a multi purpose adhesive, I glue along the edges and insert the tabs. This piece is fairly simple to put together, each piece has interlocking components and when constructed, it forms a rectangular box. The lid has an additional rim that is attached on the inside. I am undecided on how I will finish the external strapping slats, so these are painted along with the interiors and then set aside for later.
The exterior of the treasure chest is covered with embossed wood grain paper that has been painted to look like real wood. I am awed by the incredibly realistic look of this new 3D folder. In order to achieve a finish that might appear on an old sunken chest, I emboss pieces of watercolor paper and color them with vintage photo spray stain and a bit of water (to move the stain around) then allow to air dry. Once dry, I coat the pieces with vintage collage medium. When this has completely dried, I paint a layer of walnut stain distress paint on the pieces and wipe mostly off with a damp cloth. This layer is dried with a heat gun. I color areas with black soot distress crayon and rub around with a wet finger to get the pigment into the crevices. I am really pleased with the result.
These "wood" papers are cut to fit each exterior side of the treasure chest. I adhere them with collage medium in matte vintage finish. I also cover the top of the lid with this paper. After covering the sides, I realize that the embossed paper is fairly thick and affects the wood strapping pieces. I decide to modify the chest a bit. I cut the bottom strap in half lengthwise and apply the exterior finish paper. This wraps the chest on the front and both sides. The top strap is also only used on the front and sides. I use the remaining pieces as blocking inside the chest when I attach my hinges.
Once all of the exterior papers are applied, I install two hinges at the back of the lid. The small antique brass hinges have tiny screws that are easily attached by poking a hole and simply screwing into the chipboard. A latching mechanism is installed on the front of the lid to keep it closed.
With the added hardware, the box can be be displayed in an open position, if desired.
I love how the treasure chest looks even before I begin to embellish it to become a sunken treasure chest. This piece could be used in so many different ways, even as a simple keepsake box.
Now that the base of my project is complete, I set to making all of the pieces to create an undersea scene. I use multiple greenery dies and cut pieces to mimic sea grass, coral and kelp. All of these pieces are colored with distress inks. The coral pieces are colored with distress oxide and when dry, I coat them with a layer of glue and sprinkle with clear rock candy glitter. This gives it a bit of texture and sparkle. When I create my embellishments, I always like to make a lot more than I believe I will need. This gives me more flexibility in placement, and whatever is left over I simply keep for future projects. I also put together a couple of mermaids from some favorite stamp sets. The mermaids are colored with distress inks, and copic markers then embellished with pieces of the die cuts and small shells. I also add some finish to a few resin blanks that will complete my scene.
The die cut pieces are adhered to the treasure chest with a multi purpose adhesive and allowed to dry.
Lastly, I add some vintage jewelry to "spill" out of the treasure chest, and arrange the two mermaids. I prop open the chest with a golden edged shell and miscellaneous
relics and pearls adorn the scene.
I hope that you enjoy these final weeks of summer, and perhaps this sunken treasure has inspired you to create something. We always love seeing your ideas come to life and invite you to join and share on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group on Facebook.  
Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts used:


  1. Ann, I loved this when I saw it on FB but how wonderful seeing how you put it together! The TH embossing folder was just perfect for your treasure box and you really have made it look so realistic. The greenery and the mermaids are just the icing on the cake - this really is a treasure in itself! Hugs, Anne xx

    1. Thank you so very much Anne! I loved the transformation of the treasure chest. Each time I use the embossing folder, I am amazed. Thanks for stopping by, and your lovely comment. It made my day. xx