Sunday, April 22, 2012

My First Connie Crystal Post!

For anyone who saw my Connie Crystal Design Team Audition (the Crystal Egg and Mermaid Box), I made it!  It is so exciting!  I must admit that I enter this team with just a little trepidation.  After all, while I have done some jewelry work in the past, I now consider myself more of a mixed media or papercraft artist.  This new team should open up some wonderful new artistic challenges for me, but enough of my thoughts for now.  Lets take a look at the project.
This box started as a small, premade wooden box at Michael's.  It's original price was one dollar, but being that the mesh covering the open hole in the top was ripped, I purchased it for only twenty five cents.
Original box and Connie Crystals
While I enjoy a price as much as anyone else, the broken mesh discount was not required for my purchase of this box.  It did, however make the project slightly easier, as you can see in step one.
1)  Remove the mesh from the top of the box.  If you push down hard on the screen, it is a great way to initially break it out of the frame.  You can also cut it with wire cutters.  The most important part, though, is to make sure that you remove all of the wires from the frame of the lid by pulling them out with jewelry pliers.  You need to leave the wooden frame intact while completely removing the wire.
2)  Paint the entire box silver.  I used the Tim Holtz paint, but any acrylic paint should do the trick.  The silver on the inside of the box will reflect a little light and make the crystals sparkle a little more.  On the outside, it will show silver through any of the mistakes you make with the metal, making them less obvious.  Don't paint the hardware.  Leave the box open to dry.

Top showing "tile" sections, crystal units and placement

3)  Place a piece of Mercart Blue Coated Aluminum (blue side up) over the top of the box.  It should be slightly larger than that top.  Use an artist blending stump to press lightly around the outside and the opening.
4)  Remove the aluminum and put it face down on a piece of suede.  Use a small Mercart Ball Tool (on the back of the Refiner Tool) to outline the rectangle and the inside opening.  This should be easy to do, because you have just defined them with that blending stump.  Cut out the inside rectangle with small, pointed scissors. 5)  Using the same ball tool, divide the remaining metal into squarish "tile" shapes.
6)  Flip aluminum back over and place on a hard smooth surface, like an acrylic stamping block.  Define the edges of those "tiles" by using the Mercart Teflon Tool to flatten the areas around them. 
Machine embossed metal on back
7)  Flip the aluminum back over and fill in the raised edges of the tiles with Mercart Embossed Metal Backing Paste.  Let dry.
8)  Using your manual die cut machine and the appropriate "sandwich" run Dreamweaver Mosaic Swirls Stencil LJ901 with Blue Coated Aluminum twice.  You will want to deboss the insides of the tile like shapes, so make sure that the center of the "sandwich" is stencil, metal (blue side up) and soft embossing mat.  I use a Cuttlebug, so my layers go: A plate, B plate, stencil, metal, Dreamweaver Details Embossing Mat and B plate.
9)  Using 22 Gauge blue wire and Connie Crystals in square and in blue, create the crystal inserts. Make a "hook" with the wire and put it through the square crystal.  Then, twist the end around   for one side.  On the other, do the same thing, then add the blue crystal.  Make a small loop and then pass the wire end through, creating a "knot".  For both sides, leave a sizable tail, maybe about 1/2" of wire. Make 3 units.
10)  Bend the tail of the crystal units.  Stay close to the wrapped ends.  Bend the two different sides in opposite directions.  Place the crystal into the frame and push the tail wire into the groove in the wood.  Once you have placed all three units, use a small drop of glue to seal it into place.  I used my favorite Art Institute Designer Dries Clear.
11)  Go back to the metal.  Sand all three pieces.  Sometimes it is easier to put the metal embossed pieces back on the stencil before sanding.
12)  Place the embossed pieces up against the box to measure and cut around them.  Cut around each side of the box seperately.  You should have plenty of embossed metal for this portion. Then, place the metal against the side with the box opened and cut along the opening.  You should have 9 pieces of metal total (one for the lid).
13)  Select random "wells" in your tiled areas and fill them with Gloss Glastique by Globecraft Memories.  Then throw on some Art Glitter Ultrafine Transparent in 270 Chesapeake.  Use the same process to fill wells with Ultrafine Transparent 100 Sea Shell.  To create this effect, you must use transparent glitter.  It will reflect the background color and beautifully modulate the color.  Do this to all the metal pieces.  Let dry.
14) Glue your metal pieces where they belong.  I used just a little of the Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear.  It takes a little while to dry on metal, so press the metal down and be patient.  This is admittedly not my strong suit.
So, you are done.  I know it looks like a lot of steps, but it really isn't too difficult. It also wasn't very expensive, because Connie Crystals are reasonably priced.  This box is pretty, shiney, and yet not too feminine.  Best of all, it really shines.  Sparkle on folks, and enjoy your day!


  1. Wow, great project Laura! You always do such a beautiful job with the metals. Love it!

  2. Looking good, you will do great girl! as long as they let you use some glitter;)

  3. This is wonderful much detail too! Just would love to watch you do it! And last week's post is wonderful as well. CAS in the's amazing how something so simple can be so complex at the same time. But these creations are sooo YOU!

  4. soooo pretty... this would be awesome on the frame of a mirror! This is going to be a great little treasure box... what will you put in it??? ;)