The inspiration for my Cabinet of Curiosities collection was my interest in Victorian naturalists and explorers. I love that so many people during the Victorian time went on walks, collecting various and assorted bits and pieces of nature, documenting their finds in sketchbooks, and finding ways to display their natural treasures.
As I was preparing for my exhibit at the Vancouver Art Space, I knew I wanted to make some unique pieces to display some of my artwork, so I created my own nature specimen case and filled it with bits of nature I’ve collected (and made!). This has been one of my favorite projects to make EVER, and I’m really pleased with how it came out. Especially considering it started life as one of those plain, cheap wood boxes you can get at the craft store. I called on my friends at Plaid and they sent me some paint products that would help me make the box look like old wood, with a little moss growing on it, because I wanted my display box to look like something that has been dragged around in the damp, outdoors of England countryside as I foraged for inspiration and specimens for my collection.
Once the exhibit is over, I’m bringing this piece home with me. I’m dreaming of setting up a table in my front hall to look like a naturalist’s desk. I am hoping my daughter and I can fill it over the years with the treasures we find on our nature walks.
If you want to make one, here’s how:
- Wood Unpainted Jewelry Box
- Folkart Painted Finish Kit: Barnwood
- Folkart Painted Finish Kit: Moss
- Moss from craft store
- Various natural elements such as; shells, rocks, acorns, pine cones, etc.
- Follow the label instructions on the Barnwood Kit to paint the jewelry box. Allow to dry completely.
- Add Moss Finish, according to instructions to the sides of the box and inside the compartments. Allow to dry completely.
- Once the box is completely dry, glue additional moss into some of the compartments.
- Add natural elements. It’s optional if you want to glue the elements in or not. You may want to gently place them, without glue, so that you can rotate your nature finds.
Note: I received free product from Plaid to create and share this project. I have a professional relationship with the company.