Monday 18 February 2019

Bird Box - by Claudia

Hi, servus and thanks for stopping by!

I know there's a movie out now that goes by the same title (and is an awesomely done post-apocalyptic thriller film with fabulous Sandra Bullock), but my bird box has nothing to do with it. On the contrary - it is a quite colourful and joyful project that was inspired by a newly bought book from amazing artist Geninne D. Zlatkis, which is about painting birds in watercolour and ink.

She adds beautiful white line drawing to her watercolour birds and that was something I wanted to try too! I had this lovely Bluebird wood shape in my Calico Craft Parts stash - and have been hoarding it for quite a few months now...just knowing that I NEEDED this bird shape and wanted to create something lovely and gorgeous from it. So when I stumbled across Geninne Zlatkis's book, I finally knew what do do with it!!!

Calico Craft Parts used: 

- MDF Cube Storage Box Kit - large
- Bluebird - MDF Wood Bird Shape - small
- Square Shape - Mini MDF Wood Plaques

As you can see I also used some mini thread spools as feet and some wood letter cube beads from the Euro store on top. And a lot of DecoArt products and paints of course ;)

But let me take you through the steps.

Assembling the storage box works best when using a fast drying glue (I like to use DecoArt matte Decou-Page) and laying out the pieces already in correct order, so you don't have to fiddle after the glue has already been applied to the edges.

I use a small size wide flat soft brush to apply the Decou-Page and work my way from back to left and right side and then the front.

VoilĂ  - the glued together box and drawer - ready to be set aside to dry.

In the meantime I painted my bird that I had already primed with a thorough coat of DecoArt Chalky Finish paint "serene".

To colour my bird I used DecoArt media fluid acrylic paints and watered them down, so I could use them like watercolours and achieve the same look.

I started with Phtalo Turquoise on the front wing...

...then added Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Teal Hue and Phtalo Blue to different parts of the bird in watercolour technique again (using a soft detail brush size 3).

To add the white line "drawing" I used DecoArt media Titanium White, which works just perfect - if you use a detail brush size one. ;)

I have taken steps images of this process so you can see what has been added in which order.

I added bit of media Green Gold for more depth and interest (not paying attention to resemblance to any real living birds).

Once the paints had dried I applied a generous coat of DecoArt Triple Thick to my bird and put it on the heater to speed up the natural drying process.

The front of the drawer had been given a coat of "refreshing" and the outer box a coat of "heritage" Chalky Finish paints. I always use a wide, soft flat brush to apply the Chalky Finish paints to get even coverage with no visible brush strokes.

While my bird was sitting on the heater to dry, I painted the thin front edges of the box in Phtalo Blue and added white little stripes to repeat the white line theme of my box. I also painted a thin white outline around the drawer front.

Wonderful Seth Apter calls this "if you do it once, do it twice" - I like to teach my pupils the "law" of "binding together by repetition", which is always a good thing to do to visually fuse your elements and pieces. Repeat patterns ,shapes and colour tones, but vary in size and amount so it doesn't get boring. This will give all the elements of your project "meaning" and make them essential parts of your composition.

Once the Triple Thick on my bird had dried, I also covered the front of the drawer with a generous coat of it and simply set the finished bird on top - using the Triple Thick as the glue to fix my bird to it while it dried.

I love the contrast of glossy surfaces against the chalky finish effect on the sides!

I wanted more bird paintings on the sides of my box and something on top of it, so I used more "refreshing" Chalky Finish paint to prime two little Calico Craft Parts MDF squares and DecoArt "Patina" Vintage Effect Wash to tone in my letter cube beads.

Using a soft pencil I drew two birds heads to colour in with DecoArt media fluid acrylics.

More Triple Thick to repeat the glossy effect from the drawer front!

After I had glued the dried letter cubes to the top of the box I found that I needed more white line drawing to add more interest to the orange sides. So I used more Titanium White media fluid acrylic and a fine detail brush to draw a thin white outline around the top. To steady my hand I used the Chalky Finish paint container as it had the perfect height.

The little spool feet got some painted on white and orange lines and dots patterns as well ("binding together by repetition" ;) ...

...and I also filled in the letters with white paint to fuse these with all the elements on my box.

With the same intention in mind I added a white dots border around the glued on bird images on the sides of the box (for more repetition of the patterns I had used in the bird paintings).


The two small bird panels on the sides close up:

I haven't decided yet whether I will keep the box (as I am more than happy with the outcome) or if it will become a present for my wonderful niece...ah,

I hope you like my little bird box drawer as much as I do! Birds are always a rewarding subject to paint, aren't they? And there's a wonderful wide range of beautiful bird shapes in the Calico Craft Parts store to choose from!!!! I would love to see any of your bird paintings - so, please, share these (either on here in the comments section or over at my blog....I will love to visit)!!!

Hugs and happy crafting!


  1. Claudia, I love your little bird box! This is one of my favourite Calico bird shapes, although I like so many of them it's difficult to have a 'favourite' really! The colours and shapes and composition on the project are a delight and what a great idea to get some sharing of bird paintings started! Lovely project and wonderful tips and ideas! xx

    1. Thank you, Julie Ann! Yes - this is an especially lovely bird shape indeed.
      Claudia xxx

  2. I love your bird box Claudia! I'd have a hard time giving it away as a gift too. ;-)

  3. Beautiful box, I love everything about it and would hate giving it away :-) and now I need to go buy boxes to decorate lol

  4. Aw! Thank you so much, Lisa and Gemma! So happy you like my little box too!
    Mwah! XXX