Turning a Cardboard Shoe Box into Decorative Jewelry Storage

My basement is a treasure trove of discarded boxes, hardware, game boards, maps, and other goodies just waiting to be re-purposed and re-cycled into works of art.   I’m always down there foraging through shelves and drawers while I’m doing the laundry, looking for something interesting.   My husband had an old pair of shoes that he was looking to get rid of, still sitting in the box on the coffee table of all places.  I finally threw the shoes out and took the box upstairs.  It was a nice, lightweight corrugated cardboard box, just waiting for the ribbed layer to be revealed.  I decided to make a textured, mixed media jewelry box out of it.  I cut out the pieces I would need and constructed a lovely little box just 6 inches long x 4 inches wide by 1 inch deep with three compartments with an attached lid.   Since I love and am inspired by all things feminine, pretty and Victorian that was the theme I decided on.  I also decided to use various shades of purple as my choice of color and embellished the box with pretty metallic charms, flowers, scrabble tiles that spell the word “Promise” and other assorted whimsies.    Handmade Jewelry Gift Box Victorian Theme by Robin Larido on Etsy Handmade Jewelry Gift Box Victorian Theme (photo 3) by Robin Larido on Etsy Handmade Jewelry Gift Box Victorian Theme (photo 2) by Robin Larido on Etsy Handmade Jewelry Gift Box Victorian Theme (photo 7) by Robin Larido on Etsy


Fabulous & Classy Girls: A Mixed Media Art Shrine

This is an original Mixed Media Art Shrine dedicated to fabulous and classy girls everywhere. Inspired by my love of all things Victorian, pretty, girly and the colors pink and purple, I created this  handcrafted shrine assemblage art  from mostly upcycled materials, including cardboard and newsprint paper.  I hand-painted the entire piece with the exception of the inside top and bottom using acrylic paints and PearlEx pigments mixed with clear varnish in shades of magenta and violet and added accents of black and white*.  This art shrine features decoupaged images of fabulous Victorian ladies, together with floral motifs and other pretty elements. I added lots of embellishment with vintage-inspired bling such as a tiny hand mirror, a winged fairy, rhinestone chain pendant, flowers, pearls, crochet lace and sparkly beads. The shrine sits on four bead-encrusted thread spools (it took me hours to glue on all the tiny crystal beads). The shrine has a door on either side, painted metallic bronze with a layer of tulle mesh that stay open to reveal the imagery inside. The left-hand side door displays a quote from Coco Chanel: “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous”.

*The inside roof surface is covered in a black and white stripe decorative card stock. The bottom shelf (floor) is covered with soft black and white paisley felt which makes this shrine art suitable for storing and displaying small pieces of jewelry.

You can see this art shrine, along with more of my original mixed media art for sale Coco Chanel Shrine Mixed Media Assemblage Art (photo 5) by Robin Larido on EtsyCoco Chanel Shrine Mixed Media Assemblage Art (photo 7) by Robin Larido on EtsyCoco Chanel Shrine Mixed Media Assemblage Art (photo4) by Robin Larido on EtsyCoco Chanel Shrine Mixed Media Assemblage Art (photo 6) by Robin Larido on Etsyin my Etsy shop http://www.RobinsArtAndDesign.etsy.com.




PearlEx Pigments

One of my favorite materials to use is PearlEx pigments by Jacquard Products (www.jacquardproducts.com).  These opalescent pigment powders can be mixed into any medium including acrylic paint, clear acrylic varnish, gel medium or even water.   Or, you can use them straight out of the jar by themselves, brushing them gently onto any surface where you want to add Moonlight Fairy Mixed Media Original on Cardboard by Robin Larido Number 4 Mixed Media Original on Canvas 11 x 14 by Robin Larido Garden Curiosity Mixed Media Original on Cardboard by Robin Laridoa little sparkle and shimmer.  My favorite colors out of the dozens available are Pink Gold,  Duo Green-Purple, Antique Bronze and Pearl White.   I use PearlEx throughout my work, even incorporating them onto the pages of my altered books.

Original Mixed Media Art Dolls

Meet Faith, Hope and Love!  My collection of Paper Art Dolls features three beautiful ladies, dressed in their best finery.  After discovering and admiring the work of Diana D. Darden, a talented mixed media artist and designer, who creates the most wonderfully whimsical dolls I’ve ever seen, I decided to try my hand at creating my own free-standing original paper art dolls.   For the body of each doll, I sketched out and cut the dress shapes from a shirt box.  For the heads, I looked through my collection of Somerset Studio magazines and selected appropriately sized vintage looking images.   I added bits of decorative paper, specialty vellum, clip art images and embellishments to the cardboard shapes.  The dolls are backed with decorative floral print card stock.  I attached stands to the back of each doll using re-purposed cardboard packaging, which I also decorated to match the theme of each doll.   Two of the dolls, “Love” (in purple) and “Hope” (in gold) have articulated arms attached with tiny flower shaped brads.  “Faith” (in pink and light blue) has silver metallic angel wing pendants for arms that I attached with jump rings.

I will be showing these dolls at my mixed media art exhibit at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose, New York beginning next Saturday, January 31st.  You can see them in person in the first floor display case in the lobby.  At the end of February, they will be available for sale in my Etsy shop www. RobinsArtAndDesign.etsy.com.

Paper Art Dolls Mixed Media Originals by Robin Larido
Paper Art Dolls Mixed Media Originals by Robin Larido

Paper Art Doll Original Mixed Media entitled FAITH by Robin Larido Paper Art Doll Original Mixed Media entitled HOPE by Robin Larido Paper Art Doll Original Mixed Media entitled LOVE by Robin Larido

You can find Diana on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diana-D-Darden-ArtistDesigner/152672571493366

Friendship Journal

I made this lovely Friendship Journal that I’d like to share with readers of my blog.  Here are the instructions for making your own unique handcrafted book.  The list of materials is a long one, but it’s worth the time and effort.  You will have a beautiful book for yourself or to give as a gift to a special friend.  You can personalize it to your taste!  Enjoy!

Instructions for Making a Friendship Journal

By Robin Larido of Robin’s Art & Design on Etsy

Materials & Supplies:

9 sheets of 11″ x 14″ heavyweight drawing paper

One pack of 12″ X 12″ double-sided decorative cardstock (I used K&Company) old-fashioned prints.

Seven sheets of light weight patterned 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper (one to three sheets of different designs.)

1 sheet of scrap paper for hole template (at least 8″ long)

1 yd each of 5/8″ wide satin ribbon in a solid color and a floral print.

1 yd. of Celebrate It 6″ wide tulle mesh ribbon

6-strand embroidery floss in 4 different colors

1 yd. of rayon eyelash yarn or other decorative yarn fiber (Blue Hollow and Fish Bay Elements on Etsy have beautiful yarn bundles) https://www.etsy.com/shop/bluehollow or https://www.etsy.com/shop/FishBayElements

½ yd. of yellow daisy trim

½ yd. of ¼” wide satin ribbon (optional)

1 used dryer sheet or other scrap of textured paper for cover

1 flat-back pearl embellishment for cover

Small round craft buttons and Victorian theme novelty buttons (swans, hearts, roses)

Manila file folder, pre-cut tags or clothing tags.

Two – 3-1/2″ x 5″ white envelopes with decorative lining paper

One silk fabric flower

Silver glitter

Three small paper scrapbook frames

Tim Holtz Ranger Distress Ink in Tea Dye and Broken China

Tim Holtz idea-ology ChitChat word stickers

Inkadinkado rose stamp (No. 95380)

Adhesives: Decoupage glue or gel medium, PVA glue and/or scrapbooking tape

Large sewing needle

Clip art images: flowers, bouquets, butterflies, birds, Victorian children (I used Dover Publications Old-Time Fruits and Flowers Vignettes in Full Color and 504 Decorative Vignettes in Full Color). You can also find wonderful high-quality free clip art at http://www.imagesbykim.com/free and http://www.thegraphicsfairy.com.

For the book:

1. Cut the 9 sheets of drawing paper into eighteen sheets measuring 8″ x 7″ using a rotary cutter mat.

2. Trim two 12″ x 12″ sheets of decorative cardstock to 8″ x 7″ for the covers.

3. Cut a piece of decorative cardstock measuring 7″ long x 3″ wide for the spine.

Make the decorative collage pages:

For my friendship journal, I made a total of nine collage pages.

1. Cut 4 squares of scrapbook paper or other decorative paper measuring 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, mixing the patterns.

2. Using decoupage glue, adhere two each of two different prints to a sheet of drawing paper, aligning three sides – right side, top and bottom (making sure the edges match up), leaving a blank 1″ border on the left side (this will be where you punch the holes). Press and smooth the paper down to seal out any air pockets.

3. Find and print out friendship quotes from the internet. Carefully cut out and rub the edges with distress ink, using a direct application method. Tint the paper by rubbing a cotton ball on the ink pad first and then gently rubbing it over the quote.

4. Again using decoupage glue, adhere clip art images and a friendship quote in a pleasing arrangement on top of the decorative background. Brush a layer of glue over the images to seal.

5. Add ribbons, buttons, word stickers and embellishments. I added glitter around some of the images and in the center of some of the flowers and butterflies.

6. Punch holes on the right hand side or the bottom of the page using a needle, spacing the holes evenly about ¼” apart, starting and ending ½” in from each edge and about ½” in from the edge. Thread a needle with embroidery thread, knot one end and sew the thread through the holes, leaving a tail. Tie a knot to secure. You can even add a small bead to the end before knotting.

7. Rub distress ink along the edges of the pages.

Make the pocket pages:

I made a total of nine pocket pages.

1. Cut a piece of decorative card stock 5″ wide x 4-1/2″ high. Fold under ½” on all four sides, using a bone folder and secure to the underside with PVA glue. Apply strips of scrapbooking tape to the side and bottom folded edges. Adhere the pocket to the page aligning the bottom edges, leaving a 1″ border on the left-hand side of the page to make room for the holes.

2. Decorate the front of the pocket with a square of contrasting paper or clip art image.

3. Cut 2 strips of cardstock 7″ long x ¾”-1″ wide. Adhere the strips to the right side of the page, overlapping slightly, leaving a ½” border at the edge. Stamp roses in a vertical line in the border with Tea Dye ink, next to the paper strips. Rub the edge of the pages with Tea Dye ink.

Make the tags: (I used a combination of clothing tags and manila folder templates).

1. If you are using manila file folders to make your tags, draw and cut out five tags as follows: 1 @ 5″ x 2-1/4″, 2 @ 4-1/2″ x 2-1/4″, 1 @ 4-1/4″ x 2″ and 1 @ 4-1/4″ x 2″. Trim the top side edges at a 45 degree angle.

2. Trace the manila tags (or pre-cut tags, if using) twice onto decorative paper and cut out. Using gel medium or decoupage glue, adhere the decorative paper onto both sides of the tag. Smooth out any air bubbles with a bone folder.

3. Punch a hole if necessary ½” down from the top edge. Rub the edges of the tag with ink, let dry. Decorate with clip art or word stickers. Tie a length of embroidery floss through the hole. Place the tags in the pockets.

Make the envelope pages:

There are a total of two envelope pages.

Open up the flap of the envelope. With the decorative liner facing you, apply scrapbooking tape or a thin line of PVA glue around the sides, bottom and along the fold on the envelope back. Adhere one envelope to the back of a pocket page and one to the back of a collage page.

Make the picture frame pages:

There are a total of two frame pages, plus a frame on the back cover. These frames will hold a wallet size photo.

1. Cut six pieces of cardstock 4-1/4″long x 3-1/2″ wide. Measure and cut out an inner rectangle measuring 3″ x long x 2-1/4″ wide, leaving a 5/8″ wide border all around on three of the pieces, using an X-acto knife and cutting mat.

2. Apply scrapbooking tape to the back of the frames along the outer edges on both sides and the bottom. Press the frames down onto the uncut pieces of cardstock to create a backing. Rub the edges with ink.

3. Apply more scrapbooking tape or a line of PVA glue to the underside of the backing. Press the frames down firmly onto the other sides of two pocket pages. Embellish if desired.

Decorate the blank pages:

On the blank side of the collage and pocket pages, stamp a border of roses on the left side of the page. Rub the edges with Tea Dye distress ink.

Make the Covers:

Front cover: Cut a piece of dryer sheet or other textured paper 3″ x 4″. Adhere to the center of the cover with decoupage glue. Brush another layer of glue over the top to seal. Carefully tear around the words “FRIENDS FOREVER” separately using a straight edge or ruler to guide the tear. Rub the edges of each word with ink. Adhere the words to the center of the dryer sheet. Brush a layer of glue over them. Adhere a bird image to the cover positioning it toward the lower edge in the same manner. Glue on a pearl embellishment.

Back cover: Adhere a frame to the back cover, centering it. Embellish if desired.

Note: If you are not using double sided cardstock, cut two additional 7″ x 8″ pieces of cardstock and adhere to the blank sides of the covers. Decorate with images or squares of contrasting paper.

Make the holes and sew:

1. Make a 13-hole template from the piece of scrap paper. Mark holes 1 and 13, ½” from the top and bottom, respectively. Mark holes 2 and 12 equidistant from holes 1 and 10, ½” away. Continue to mark holes 3-11, spacing them ½” apart.

2. Fold the decorative paper spine in half lengthwise. Press with a bone folder and open up.

3. Decide on the order of your pages and arrange accordingly. Position the stack of pages between the front and back covers so that the left side is flush. Fold the spine over the covers.

4. Place the template on the cover within 1″ of the decorative spine; secure with large paper clips or bull clamps. With an awl, pierce sewing holes through the pages and the cover. Remove the hole template, leaving the paper clips in place.

5. Thread the needle with a 12″ piece of embroidery thread or thin ribbon. Begin sewing from the bottom hole, leaving a tail. Proceed along through all the holes. Exit the top hole, tie a knot and leave another tail. You can add beads if you like.

Add the finishing touches:

1. Run a bead of glue along the inside of the spine in between some of the pages. Cut several 10″ long pieces of yarn and press down into the glue, leaving top and bottom tails. You can also cut the pieces slightly longer and add beads to the ends. Tie knots to secure them in place.

2. Cut a length of satin ribbon about 27″ long. Apply some glue or a piece of scrapbooking tape along the middle. Center and press the ribbon along the outside spine on the back cover. Wrap the ends around to the front and tie a bow.

3. Cut a piece of tulle mesh the same length as the ribbon. Center the ribbon on the inside front cover near the inside spine and wrap it around to the outside. Loop it around the ribbon bow and tie into a knot. Trim the ends of the ribbon at an angle.

All instructions are the exclusive property of the artist. Not for resale.

© Robin Larido



If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Mixed Media Collage on Cardboard Panel

This is a new Mixed Media Collage on Cardboard Panel that I created from a piece of corrugated cardboard that came inside a calendar I bought yesterday.  I used a mixture of gel medium and Pearl Ex pigments in shades of Antique Bronze, Salmon Pink Mixed Media Collage on Cardboard Panel titled FALL (detail) by Robin Laridoand Rose Gold over a painted black base coat.  Using a palette knife, I scraped the mixture onto the surface, creating lots of texture and visual interest.  I applied a free-form butterfly shape that I cut from drawing paper, cardboard from light bulb packaging, red crushed tulle and some buttons and hardware to create a floating effect.  I couldn’t come up with a name, so I asked my daughter Becca.  She came up with “Fall”.  The piece measures 9 x 12 inches.

My First Gallery Exhibit

I will be having my very first gallery exhibit titled “Mixed Media Collage Art:  Explorations in Texture and Shape”  at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose, NY.  I have been very busy creating new works on artist canvas, as well as corrugated cardboard.  Using the cardboard as my substrate was a lot of fun.  I was able to create texture and visual interest by peeling away the top layers to reveal the ribbing underneath.  It made for some really interesting effects such as rusted patina copper, tarnished metal, and corrugated steel that became part of the overall design.   I have been working around themes such as garden blooms, natural elements, vintage ephemera and industrial.  The works will be displayed throughout the month of February 2015 in the 2nd floor corridor and conference room.  In addition, I will be setting up a display in the lobby showcase of my three dimensional works, including shadowboxes, shrines and mixed media assemblage art.