Monday, 13 February 2017

Owl ATC Box - Julie Ann

Hello! It's great to be back again on the Calico Craft Parts blog. It's Valentine's Day tomorrow and although my project has a romantic theme, it's not traditional - there's a complete absence of hearts or flowers, I'm afraid! This little project grew out of my love for owls and the need to find a special box for ATCs, but in view of tomorrow's date we could imagine it containing love letters! Please meet Ava, the Elf Owl. She does look a little dreamy: maybe she is contemplating her fiance, a handsome barn owl. Perhaps it's his love letters that the box contains!

Where did the idea for Ava come from? I once lived in Sussex and one of the most beautiful sights I recall from an evening walk was a barn owl sweeping overhead, his wings illuminated in the moonlight. Since then I've been fascinated by owls and the many species still extant. I returned from a walk the other day and sketched Ava on a page from a vintage natural history book, using water-colour pencils and fine line pens.

After scanning her into my computer, I played around with re-sizing her and experimenting with adding her head to different bodies. It seemed to me there was something romantically Renaissance about Ava, the Owl, so I combined her body with a Renaissance lady. For background, I used a master-board that I had brayered, stamped and stencilled onto.

The small Book Box Kit was the perfect size for ATCs. After positioning Ava's head, I wondered if maybe she is adjusting her feathers so that she will look particularly attractive for her beau!

These box kits are easy to assemble. They are designed with a tab, which fits through the little hole seen here on the left. As I wanted to use one of the decorative key-holes and copper wire to secure my lid, I cut off the tab and sanded down the edge, drilling a little hole in one of the side panels with my Dremel.

With a little gilding paste and some pearls, the MDF escutcheon looks quite effective.

Tiny hinges and a word band given a touch of a copper toned gilding paste and darkened with a little archival ink, help to give Ava's romantic box an aged look.

Attaching the master-board to a plain wood ATC gives dimension to the book cover.

Painting with a brick red Acrylic, a layer of a Crackle Glaze and a neutral top coat, finished off with a touch of archival ink and some gilding paste add to the antique look.

In the next 2 weeks I plan to create some more owl themed ATCs to fit into the box.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. When we next meet I hope to open Ava's tiny casket and share a couple of her ATCs with you.

Calico Craft Parts used in this Project


  1. What a great make! Ava is gorgeous!!

  2. Oh wow, you are so clever! What an incredible artistic process to go through,
    Lucy x

  3. Thank You so much for your lovely comments, Helen and Lucy. xxx

  4. What a marvelous little painting and collage! Love this!

  5. Such a fabulous make Julie Ann ! I love how you weave your own stories into your work and your fabulous original drawings too. I so wish I could do that! Looking forward to the ATC's. Jennie x

  6. She is such a beauty, Julie Ann!
    And I love that you drew and painted her face on a dictionary page! What a wonderful keepsake!

    Claudia x

  7. Oh Julie Ann! This little booklet is just wonderful! The way you aged the book is just fab! I goes so well with your beautiful Ava! Well done!
    hugs,Jackie xx

  8. Many thanks to Autumn, Jennie and Claudia for your lovely comments. xx

  9. A magical book box - what a wonderful idea for storing the ATCs, and your owl woman will keep wise watch over them I'm sure.
    Alison x

  10. Thank You, Alison. They're resting inside very cosily right now. x