Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Altered Domino Set with Carved Box

The Holidays have a tradition of handmade gifts. I made this set of altered dominoes for my boyfriend and I'm very happy with how they came out.
My boyfriend and I love to play "analog" games - from Cribbage to "Bones". After seeing a bracelet I had made with altered dominoes as charms (very tiny ones) - he was intrigued by what he thought were imported tiles. So, I took a cigar box that had been in my craft stash and a set of "double 6" tiles and with stamps and a lot of work, created a one of a kind set to entertain ourselves with.
First the Box:
I first painted the box with a mixture of sienna, umber and red acrylic craft paints. The box was plain pine, and I wanted the look of lacquer. I then took a Ranger Paint Dauber in metallic gold and brushed the surfaces of the box with gold. The top has a second layer in a cross hatch pattern. I let this dry over night. I had a large bamboo stamp (from Plaid) that I stamped on the box with black Stazon. I then took my gouges and etching tools to remove all the stamped image. It isn't very deep, just to the raw wood.
With Twinkling H2Os, I brushed in light blue and light green into the exposed wood and let dry. The "antique coin" is from Tsukineko and is adhered with burgundy faux sealing wax (actually a colored glue stick). I then sealed the outside with a light coat of Kumar Varnish for a shiny but NOT high gloss finish. The Varnish seals the watercolors and brings up the colors, the box really does look like it is lacquer.

 The inside of the box is lined with suede paper. You could use fabric or felt. The suede paper reminds me of jewelry boxes and silver boxes. Small cork dots on the bottom make sure the box sits level and stable on the table surface.
 The dominoes inside were altered with rubber stamps I have collected over a period of several years. I used Versacolor pigment inks in Sand, Oasis, Black and metallic gold. The key is to make sure you place the stamps in the same place on each domino, or after a few rounds you will be able to "mark" the tiles and they will be no good in actual play. The design is a base of green bamboo, over stamped with a Japanese paper lantern, then Japanese script (don't worry, the lettering is far too small to be able to read), lastly a solid gold fan stamped on top. I heat set each image before stamping the next.
I did give them each a coat of workable fixative and then a nice soft light coat of Kumar Varnish to seal. I've done this for brooches and pins made from gaming tiles and this is quite durable.
If you are worried about stamping each tile exactly the same, you could design and adhere a Lazertran decal. Or stamp tissue and decoupage to the backs.

My favorite part was the idea to stamp and then carve the box lid. The box was very inexpensive, but the carving really made it more than just a container for the dominoes, it is really a nice display piece. I have plans to try a similar idea on other plain wooden items such as cigar box purses, jewelry boxes or other wooden containers.

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