Monday, December 10, 2012

Altered Cigar Box Frenzy!

First, I want to thank my members (WOW - I have "members"!!!) and all those people who have commented on my art projects and given me such wonderful feedback. I really appreciate you taking some of your time to spend looking at my works. 

I decided to do a quick post showing you some of the cigar boxes I've altered. I like to call them Keepsake Boxes. I took a class last winter with Patti Euler at The Queen's Ink to learn her techniques for this process. She has some fabulous pieces that she's done displayed all over her shop. When I heard she did classes teaching how she turns old cigar boxes into such cool works of art, I was all in. Its a lot trickier than you might think and Patti passed along some of her tips that make this much easier than if you'd grab a box and some paper and try to do this from scratch. If you are anywhere near the Savage, MD area, check out The Queen's Ink website for their class schedule. Patti has regulars that travel in from out-of-state for her classes, so don't miss out on the opportunity she offers her customers and students. 

Here are some of the ones I've made: 

This is the first box I made in class. Pics aren't great of this one. I was taking a few quick pics at my desk at work before I gave it to my niece Chelsea. 

 Patti taught us to decorate each surface of the box, top, bottom, inside, outside, and all the edges. It really does make the end product very special. 

 Even the bottom gets some special touches.  

It's tough to see the butterfly that's 3D on the top. You may recognize the Tim Holtz metal legs. They really give the boxes a professional look and make them very sturdy.

As you probably remember, I don't just do one or two of something. If I like the process, its on baby! Here are some pics of my second box, third, fourth ... you get the idea! 

Then I got the idea to make a box for my Mom with pics of she and my Dad with my brother Skip and I as kids. We just lost my sweet Daddy a couple years ago, and I knew this would be something special for my Mom. She loves it! 

 Yes, those are pics of me when I was 3 and 4 years old. That little knucklehead  in the bow tie and suit is Skip. 

 My handsome Daddy at about 17 years old when he joined the Army Air Corps in WWII. Oh yeah, that little tramp rockin' the 1947 bikini -- that's my Mom! (Clearly I didn't get many of her genes!) LOL 

That's a hat for the Easter parade if I've ever seen one! I notice a theme here -- yet another bow tie for little Lord Fauntleroy! Ha!!!  

Then I progressed into other 'themed' boxes...starting with the wine theme...

 I should have retaken pics of these. This was taken before this one was finished. I've since added a champagne cork as the handle to open the lid. This one is going to my friend Gail as part of her birthday present. 

And the clock theme...

Followed by the garden theme...

 I used some tiny wooden flower pots I got from Michael's for legs on this one. Thought it was more fitting for this theme. I painted them with Silks. 

And then the tropical theme...

 Sometimes the boxes choose their own theme due to the colors of the foil edges. 

 I really like that black background paper against that bright pop of yellow when you open the box. 

I eventually let my paper stash guide help guide me to the theme of the boxes...Girlfriends...

 I put some wooden balls with a flat top I found at Michael's for the legs on this one and painted them with a really pretty bright pink Silks color I had. 

A friend asked me if I could make a box with a dragonfly theme in purples and golds she needed for a gift. Here's how it turned out...

 I did this box while I was away at Stamp Camp, so its not complete in these pics. I added a stack of various colors of lilac buttons as the handle for opening the lid after I got back home. 

 The 3D embellishments aren't showing up as much as I'd hoped. That silver dragonfly at the top left is a 3D metal embellishment that was really cute. The fleur de lis is a 3D embellished as well. 

This one is a Christmas present for the newest member of our family, Giana. She's going to be 14 soon, I hope she likes it. 

 I wish the knob showed up better here. Its one of the Tim Holtz clear glass screw on handles and I added a little bling on the top just to dress it up a bit. 

In the future, I'm going to put more effort into taking better pics of things that I plan to post. Most of these works are things that I'd done before I started my blog, which was just a couple weeks ago. Some of these are gone from my hands now, so I wasn't able to retake the pics. 


Since everyone seemed to like my painted folders, I thought I'd show you ones that I made yesterday. It was such a grey, yucky day outside, I decided to get inky. (I do the same thing on sunny days, just sayin'!). I made three yesterday, but I'm only counting two of them as successes. No matter what I did to the one folder, it just kept going from bad, to worse, to really bad. But, now that I look at it with a fresh, less disgusted eye today, it just may grow on me and not end up in the place all old unloved folders end up! 

I really like the way this one came out!  Below is the folder laid open so you can see the front and the back sides. 

Same here...

And here's the problem child. Looks a little better to my eye in the light of a new day! 


Thanks so much for stopping by! More to come soon! 


  1. Patti .. just wanted to tell you that I love the cigar box that you made for me... I treasure dearly! - T

    1. Thanks T! I wish I'd have taken some pics of that one before I sent it to you.

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  3. HOLY CRAPINOLY! You weren't kidding! This is like cigar box multiplicity! They are all gorgeous! But my fav has to be the one of your parents and 'specially Mom rockin' the bikini - love it! Keep rockin' the blog, girl... awesome stuff! Hugs! xxx

    1. Thanks girlfriend! I like that word -- crapinoly! I'll be using that one!

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  5. You've really been busy! Love the boxes AND the beautiful papers. Don't you just love arts and crafts? I've been doing some these days, too, and feel so calm and satisfied! But soon the FIRE will start up again!!! ;) Merry Christmas!

    1. I do love creating. There aren't enough hours in a day for me to do everything I'd like to do! Have an awesome holiday my friend!

  6. Patti,

    You have been quite busy my friend. They are so beautiful. You are so great at so many things.....

    1. Well, these were made over a period of months, but I have been busy! Thanks for the kind words!

  7. Patti, these boxes are gorgeous!!! Each one is so unique and your chosen imagery is wonderful! I'm loving your painted folders as well!!! Very Cool!

    1. Thank you so much Margaret. A great compliment coming from you.

  8. Patti, I just love all your cigar boxes and files, they are absolutely gorgeous. I have tried to cover a cigar box, but my lid keeps warping,do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong? The lid will not stay down flush with the body. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks Pamela

    1. Thanks so much Pamela. Do you use a wet glue on the lid? Maybe that would warp it. Also check on the inside of the lid where it meets the bottom of the box. You have to trim the paper so it doesn't fall down into the crease on the inside. Thanks for the nice note.

  9. Thanks for sharing these. I have never done one. I recently found several old cigar boxes that are in good shape. I want to make a treasure box for my five year old nephew and a jewelry box for my three year old niece. I was wondering how to make legs and a handle to open the lid. Seeing your pictures gave me some good ideas. Thanks and wish me luck!

    1. Hi. Good luck on the boxes. I use the Tim Holtz metal legs and glue them on with Glossy Accents. The knobs are either a Tim Holtz glass or porcelain knobs or a stack of buttons. Hope this helps.

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  11. First and foremost I want to say that your boxes are absolutely amazing! I wish that there was a class around where I live (NC) as I am a non-domesticated wife and mother. I can make a lung that works out of a few household items but, can't cook (unless microwave is involved lol) and surely what you have done ummm put it this way my husband wraps the gifts in the house.

    The reason for contacting you is I was assigned the duty of finding a great inexpensive DIY gift as we have 17 nieces and it gets expensive. We have unlimited resources to free cigar boxes. I have a few questions if you wouldn't mind throwing a rope to help save me as words such as Mod Podge sounds like foreign language that I do not speak. LOL

    Here I go...You seem to not paint your boxes but, cover them in paper/card stock is that correct? Do you sand your box first? What type of glue do you use? My head is spinning I just want to say!! :)

    I think if I get that far I would be good. I do want to say I LOVE THE DRAGONFLY BOX you did for your friend and the Tim Holtz legs really make the boxes stand out. Also, your picture one gave me an idea for my in-laws as my mother in-law has cancer we just found out and her parents both have been gone for many years, but my husband and I have their pictures on our bedroom wall. I can make her a memory box....

    Patti you have inspired me to try something at least.

    Thank you,


  12. Thank you Patti for all the ideas. Going to try some of these myself. Your the best.

    1. That's great Sharon! Hope you enjoy making them.

  13. Hey Petty, a nice collection you have in cigar boxes for crafts Category. I really love your collection. We have cigar boxes for crafts many different beautiful cigar boxes for all your crafty ideas. We offer the best selection of boxes in the world