Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Exploding Box!

Hello everyone!  It's a gorgeous warm Fall day here and I wanted to share a new project with you.  Known as an exploding box, it's a project I've wanted to try for a long time.  I love boxes and these are so easy to make and so much fun to open!  My friend, Patti, is a certified Zentangle teacher and she gives classes at her shop, The Queen's Ink.  She does intro classes and follow-up classes in basic Zentangle but she also offers seasonal classes.  I'll share last year's Christmas project as we get closer to the holidays.  This year for the Fall season she taught an exploding box with Zentangle components.  Technically it's called Zentangle Inspired Art, or ZIA for short.  Whatever you want to call it, I called it fun!  Here's a picture of the box.

We started with two pieces of 12x12" cardstock for the top and bottom.  The top is made with origami folds and the bottom was folded and cut so that it would form a box.  We cut out stamped images of the leaves and acorn and then did the tangles.  I used Distress inks and a water pen to watercolor the leaves.  The acorn was stamped on kraft cardstock so I just lightly colored some shading on it.  Patti had used white gel pen highlights on her leaves and I was really impressed with the way it made the designs pop.   I did the same and it's amazing the difference.  I chose an orange CS square to create a background for the grouping of leaves and acorn and did some pen work around the edges.  I glued the leaves down and use dimensional glue dots for the acorn. 
But the magic happens when you open the lid!   Here is what it looks like.
You may be able to see that there are two levels of panels inside the box. You can add more levels if you want.   Once the lid is taken off the box falls open, or explodes, and you can attach anything you want inside.  I love when there are dimensional things in the middle.  I used acorns and some descriptive word stickers for Fall around them.  Then I used the Tim Holtz Tattered Leaves die and his small pumpkin and acorn die to cut watercolor paper for the leaves and pumpkin and acorns I used on the panels.  I did Zentangles on each one and used Distress inks to watercolor them.  I also added some shimmer to these with Lindy's Stamp Gang Magicals.  They are dry shimmery pigments that I use with a water brush and then highlighted with the white gel pen.   Here are some of the panels close up.  Unfortunately, the shimmer doesn't show up in the pictures. 


Each panel has a leaf or the acorns or pumpkin.  I just love handing it to people and seeing their reaction when they take the lid off! 
I was so pleased to finally have a reason to make an exploding box.  It seems that right now if I don't have a reason to sit down and work on a project I don't find (or make) the time.  That has to change, for sure!
Thank you for visiting with me.  I hope you're enjoying this glorious time of year!  The leaves are starting to change into their lovely colors right now and it's delightful to see.  Have a wonderful day!


  1. This is gorgeous! All those little details just pop! This would look amazing in an entry hall table...perfect for Fall, or Eben a Thanksgiving tablescape! The acorn on the op is fabulous!

    Hoping your home remodeling work is nearing completion for you! :)

  2. I love this idea, Maryann! An exploding box! And you did an amazing job with your fall project. I absolutely love the colors and all of your gorgeous details. I cannot wait to see the Christmas project, too. And I want to thank you so much for stopping by my blog and your heartfelt words of condolences. I really appreciate them at this time. HUGS to you, my friend!

  3. Your Leaves and Acorns are Sensational!!! The Fall colors are so comforting. What a fantastic exploding box and what a great idea! If you ever find the secret to photographing shimmer, please share.

  4. It really is cool :) And you know I love the acorns the most!

  5. Wow, what a fabulous box - I adore the leaves and how you've coloured them and patterned them, and I also love the acorn on the top - was that zentangled by you? It's perfectly lovely!

  6. Awesome exploding box Maryanne. Sounds like it was a fun project and even more fun to see the faces of the people opening the box for the first time. You did a beautiful job on the box.

  7. how fun is this?! love your exploding box and the fall inspiration is beautiful

  8. I just love what you chose to do with the inside of your box. The exploding box format has so many possibilities and you've chosen a good way to use it advantageously.


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