An Upcycled Cigar Box

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This article is written by Kathi Rerek

My father used to smoke cigars that were packaged in wooden cigar boxes. He reused those boxes to store various items like nails, screws, keys, and batteries. When he passed away, I claimed many of those boxes.

My Upcycled cigar box will feature colored stamped images, a painted surface, and seashells from my collection.

The first step is to smooth the wooden surface with sandpaper so that there are no splinters or jagged bits. When done, the exterior was coated with a layer of gesso to seal the wood and provide some tooth for the acrylic paint. The gesso was left to dry overnight.

The surface of the box was painted with Mermaid, Bora Bora, Sky, and Beach Hut Fresco Finish acrylic paints by Paper Artsy as well as Salty Ocean and Chipped Sapphire Distress paints by Ranger Industries. The paint was applied top and sides of the box and blended using Cut n’ Dry Foam and heat set between layers.

Inky Pool and South Pacific Fresco Finish acrylic paints were sponged over the Waves stencil by Memory Box

A paintbrush was used to apply Nougat and Irish Cream Fresco Finish to the bottom of the top of the box.

Recycling mixed media project with cigar box

Leaf Green Archival ink by Ranger and Forest Green StazOn ink were sponged over a Club Scrap vine stencil to both sides of the top of the box.

Bone Stone Effects paint by Art Anthology was thickly applied over this using a palette knife, left to dry, then the same colors of  Fresco Finish paints were used to add definition to the “sand”.

Recycling mixed media project with cigar box

A Flourish Trim Spellbinders die was used to die-cut white cardstock, which was then sponged with Leaf Green Archival ink by Ranger and Forest Green StazOn ink. Gel medium was used to adhere it to the top of the box.

Water from The Elements collection by Susana Loves Stamps was stamped with Tuxedo Black Memento ink onto white cardstock and colored with Copic markers. The image panel was cut into an oval and adhered to the box with gel medium.

Gel medium was sponged over the die-cut, image panel, and the top of the box, excluding the “sand area”.

Shells from my collection were adhered to the sand area of the box using Best Glue Ever by ScrapPerfect.

Pearls were adhered around the oval to finish the top of the box.

Recycling mixed media project with cigar box

The inside of the box was painted with black acrylic paint and the rims were painted with Beach Hut Fresco Finish acrylic paint.

Water Babies, a stamp by Susana Loves Stamps, was stamped with Tuxedo Black Memento ink onto white cardstock and colored with Copic markers. White Gelly Roll Glaze pen was used to highlight the pearls on the mermaid’s outfit. The stamped image was die-cut using a Die-Namics die.

Patterned paper from my stash was cut to fit the interior of the box. The stamped panel was held along the bottom and a continuation line was marked on the patterned paper. Nougat and Irish Cream Fresco Finish acrylic paint was painted along the bottom of the patterned paper. The stamped panel was adhered to the patterned paper, which was in turn adhered to the inside top cover of the box using gel medium.

Bone Stone Effects paint by Art Anthology was thickly applied to the bottom of the inside of the box using a palette knife, left to dry, then Nougat and Irish Cream Fresco Finish paints were used to add definition to the “sand”. More shells from my collection were glued to the “sand”.

A sea horse metal charm was painted with Verdigris, Jade, Moss Patina by Ranger and Nougat Fresco Finish acrylic paint, and then sanded when dry. It still was missing something, so it was smooshed into a Champagne Dazzle VersaMark pad and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. The seahorse was adhered on the right side of the stamped image panel.

A brass anchor charm was colored with blue Sharpie marker and suspended from the top with some waxed floss.

Recycling mixed media project with cigar box

Patterned paper from the Maritime 6×6 pad by 7 Gypsies was adhered to the inside base of the box.

Recycling mixed media project with cigar box


Kathi F. Rerek is a mixed media artist who lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She’s been crafting for almost fourteen years and has been lucky to have served on several design teams.

Her blog, Kat’s Tales of Stamping and Scrapping can be found at

Water and Water Babies are stamps by Susana Loves Stamps. They can be found at




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Mixed Media Mermaid Painting

This article was written by Michelle Brown

I’ve signed up for a tip-in page round robin with one of the groups I belong to over the internet. We are to create a layout of 2 pages each month to send to another on our list.

Last month the assignment theme was mermaids and sea creatures and I had heaps of fun creating this layout. I also love the method and formula that seems to be developing for this project and that’s what I wanted to share with you today.

mixed media art with mermaids

Firstly I take a piece of water colour paper and tape it to a backing sheet, covered in cereal box plastic (as shown in MMA Tips Video #1), add some ephemera with PVA glue then cover with a layer of gesso.

ephemera and gesso base

Then I started adding acrylic paints. I was after an effect of looking up into the sunlight from depth of the ocean, so I wanted to use teals and blues and phase them into white. I build up each layer, blending al title between colours and allowing it to dry a little before I add another layer.

white, blue and greens paints

I painted the rock for the mermaid with  a little brown and dark blue. I avoided using black as I wanted it to be dark but not too solid, so the brown and navy washes worked well.

blues and browns for rock

I found a great quote via Google and typed in up in nice font, printed it out then for it into strips. These got stuck onto the background along with the mermaid, with gel medium. The mermaid image was found over at Paper Street Supplies (no longer available.)

computer generated text to add to the story

Then some more blues were added to make the border darker and stencilling, with white paint, and highlighting words, with water coloured pencils, were added.

paints and pastels

After varnishing the layout, I realised it needed a few highlights, Since I couldn’t find my gold thread to add hand stitching, I chose to use a textured stamp and add a free area with Gold Brilliance ink. I heat set the stamping  with a heat gun as I was worried it may not dry properly over the varnish (and I was in a hurry!)

gold highlights added

Then I cut out the pages with a cart knife and metal ruler, added gold edging with metallic pens. i also added a few little gold sticker and some german scrap to finish it off.

right side of layout

left side of layout


Michelle Brown is passionate about mixed media art and enjoys sharing her knowledge and techniques with you to allow you to express your own creativity. Michelle understands that many of us have an inner need to create. By learning a few basic techniques the amazing world of mixed media art is accessible to everyone! You can see more of her work at Mixed Media Art.



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