Sunday 22 October 2017

Birds of the Night - wood-burned stacking boxes by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! It's great to be back at Calico Craft Parts blog. Now is the season to be spooky and Claudia and Kerstin recently cooked up some 'spooktacular' haunted houses, while Lesley added toppers to delicious Halloween cakes with Calico Craft Parts. I didn't want to let Halloween go by unheralded, so I have been consulting with my wise owl friends who tell me it's their favourite time of year. 

 I'd been wanting to get my wood-burning tool out and play with some of the lovely little Calico stacking boxes, so I decided to try my hand at creating 3 boxes with a Halloween/Autumn theme.

Because I love the natural wood colour of these Calico boxes, and they take the wood burning so well, I decided to use very little paint on them; but to create contrast with the wood-burned designs. My wood burning kit was a gift from a friend, but there are some excellent ones out there with temperature controls and - with a little practice - the effect is similar to drawing with a pencil. You just have to be careful not to allow the tool to get too hot and remember that mistakes cannot be rubbed out!

The boxes are very easy to assemble and secure with wood glue. I chose the small boxes, 1-3, but there are medium and large options too and you can buy the boxes individually. 

My friends know how much I love owls. I associate them with moonlight, wisdom and all things magical. Their plaintive calls are like a mysterious music to me: they invite us to fly into starlight and the rustling of black and silver leaves in the velvet night.

The Calico sheet of mini owls captures these wonderful birds in miniature. I thought they would make perfect details for my box lids. I added a little colour and some faux gems for eyes.

I like to have a 'dry run' with my Calico Craft Parts, putting pieces together without glue and playing with positioning until I'm happy with an arrangement...

experimenting with leaves on the upright sides of the box.

Here is the largest 'Owl Box', all fixed in place. On the lid, Autumn the Owl meditates. Her friends, the talking trees don't like to disturb her reverie, while beyond, the tower holds the secrets of the twilight.

The boxes stack perfectly one within the other. I hope the miniature pine cone and vine leaf give some idea of the scale of the tiniest box - ideal for a minuscule Halloween favour.

This birch-wood heart was just the right shape for Autumn the owl's face. I kept the wings and the acorns in their natural wood state too.

Now it just remains for me to decide on the treats those boxes will hold - chocolate pumpkins perhaps - or licorice spiders? Thank You for stopping by today. I hope you have been inspired to have a go at wood-burning one of the Calico boxes either with your own take on a Halloween design or the pattern of your choice. Until we meet again, have a creative and happy time as the days shorten.
Calico Craft Parts used in this project
Birch Plywood Square Box Kit, small 1-3
Birch Plywood Heart Shape (small)
Sheet of Acorns and Oak Leaves
Sheet of mini MDF wings (style 1)
Sheet of mini MDF wood bird shapes (owls)


  1. I love the owls esp the eyes lol! Totally wicked!

    1. Oh, wow! Thank You, Kat! I'm so glad you like them! xx

  2. I'm captivated by your wood-burning skills - what incredible detail on these tiny boxes. It's wonderful seeing your characters take shape in whole new medium! The wise owls are a wonderful Halloween contribution. Brilliant!
    Alison x

    1. Thank You so much, Alison. These little stacking boxes are brilliant to work on and so easy to assemble too. If you should ever want to practise wood burning they're a great surface. x

  3. Julie Ann!!!!!
    These nesting boxes are awesome and your woodburning has made them even more spectacular! Outstanding work! Your owls are the Perfect design for Calico's boxes- so well done! Bravo dear friend!
    Jackie xo

  4. They are so fantastic all, Julie , so many details in your drawings, they are truly master pieces, and so filled with playful wonders.
    Also you amazing stories- ...... I love this : "fly into starlight and the rustling of black and silver leaves in the velvet night "----which at once create strong pictures in my head. Thank you for always gifting joy with your creations !!
    Dorthe xxx

    1. Thank You so much, Dorthe. I was so happy creating these. xx