Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Going on a Treasure Hunt

When I was about nine or ten years old, my dad and I built a box. You know the kind of box, the one you put special coins and tiny souvenirs in, old keys and dog licenses, stuff like that. When Bert got his first special coin from my grandparents for Christmas, I knew he would need a place to put it. Besides in his mouth, because that was what he wanted to do.

Shortly after Christmas, I was cleaning out a closet and came across a box from a project I had done in college. It came from a craft store, and would probably be labeled as a cigar box. It's a little better than eight inches square, and not quite two inches deep. I thought it would be just right for Bert's box. My box has my initials carved in the top, and I thought Bert's should too. But I wasn't sure if the wood would hold up to carving, so I had to come up with another plan. Keith was the one who solved the problem when he suggested wood burning. He was a little hesitant to tackle the project freehand, and left it up to me to sketch what I wanted burned into the wood. Well, I didn't want to go in freehand either, so I channelled that $40k graphic design degree to make up a design.

In Illustrator, I made up a sort of "crest," if you will. (And if you didn't already know, Bert is just a nickname. We aren't that mean. That's why his initials aren't BRE.)

Then I flipped it to be a mirror image, and printed it out.

Here's the part where I start winging it. I thought I could just center it up on the box and rub the ink off, giving Keith an outline of where to burn. Using a tool called a bone folder (but anything with a hard, smooth edge should work), I transferred the printed image to the box.

And wouldn't you know, it actually worked. It was a little faint, but enough for Keith to do his part.

In hindsight, I wouldn't have made the design quite as intricate. Or maybe we could have found something with a finer tip for burning into the wood. But it worked out alright.

After the design was burnt in, I put a couple coats of finish on, and it was done.

It's not perfect, it's not huge, but sometimes when you're a kid, you can fit your whole world in a special box.


  1. Wow, I love it! What a great idea. Both of my boys have yet to have a special box, but I need to start thinking of them now. My guess is once S starts collecting, it will be time.

  2. Can't stop laughing at the pic of Bert sitting on the end of the wagon! xo


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