Boxed In!

Lynn Schoeffler © 2008

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Before I could start the CQ for my niece, Stacy, I needed a box. My vision was a nice wooden one, with plenty of room for keepsakes.

After several months of searching, I got lucky one day and found this one in Granny’s Attic Antiques for an astonishingly low price, stand and all. Although it certainly wasn’t an antique, it was exactly what I was looking for—a box with straight lines for a contemporary feel, and something that Dave, my husband and go-to guy of thirty-five years wouldn’t have to build from the ground up!

The box measured almost square: 16" x 14", and 7" deep, with a hinged lid. My plan was to cut a hole in the top and somehow mount the crazy quilted piece from the inside. Dave, wise after many of my projects, knew I’d probably need more room as he eyed the variety of beads, buttons and found objects I’d been collecting.

Photo two shows the 14" x 12" opening Dave cut with a jig saw, leaving maximum visual room for the "Stacy Street" piece. The inside of the box was already nicely finished in black. Dave added another 1" of height with a frame that would also hold the quarter inch protective acrylic in place, and allow for a little extra room; necessary because the inside hinge was close to the top of the lid. He made a rabbet cut along the inside of all four frame pieces to further secure the acrylic in place; this is the cut that is done on picture frames to hold the glass.

We chose acrylic rather than glass for this piece for a number of reasons. One, it is much lighter in weight—the box might be a little top heavy on the stand. Two, plastic is much less expensive, and is easy to cut. Although glass is more scratch resistant, it would to have to be custom ordered from a glass supplier if we wanted it tempered for safety.

Three sides of the frame were mounted to the box lid with glue and finish nails. The rabbet cut boards of the frame allowed the plastic to slide right in, and the last piece was nailed into place. The box was painted black with Rustoleum! There is just a light texture to this paint, and it rendered a really nice satiny sheen. The front catch was also painted with Rustoleum—I liked the black better than the original dull brass. It matched the handles then, and we didn’t have to take it off to paint the box.

My job was to mount the finished CQ piece on a piece of l/4" thick plywood. I sprayed the board front and back with three coats of acid-free sealer, and cut a piece of Warm & Natural Craft Batting the exact size of the mounting board; this was glued into place with fabric glue. Because there was so little room between the hinge and the box lid, I did not want to use matt board or extra fabric.

I started mounting the CQ by positioning the bottom center of the board, and holding it in place with a pushpin. Next, the work was stretched and pinned at the top center, then right and left center. After repeating this process completely around the board, it was turned CQ side down into a thick, folded towel. Using the pins made it relatively easy to staple the fabric borders tight to the back of the mounting board. I cut a wedge from each corner of the border to make it lay as flat as possible, stapled and removed the pins.

A piece of thin, black, acid free matting board was added, and then a l/8" piece of birch plywood painted black to finish the underside of the box lid. The mounted piece fit perfectly into the frame! Dave added eight metal frame points to secure it firmly, and we were finished—the Schoeffler D.Y.I. team scores again!

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