Sunday, August 9, 2020

Halloween Matchbox Tray

Hi Friends!

We have been secretly working away on samples for the release of the 2020 idea-ology Halloween product.  Today i'm sharing a fun project made with Matchboxes that are part of the everyday idea-ology line.  The foundation is a large Vignette Tray which is 6 x 12".  It is the perfect size for the six Matchboxes. So follow along and I'll give you all the details!

Start by painting a Large Vignette Tray with Black Soot Distress Paint. I painted the entire tray except the inside background that will be covered with paper in the next step.  Once dry, I sanded the surface inside and out to bring back some of the natural wood, then painted on a thin coat of Collar Medium to seal and give it a smooth finish. I used paper from two packs, the new Mini Stash, Departed + Wallflower (for the perfect bug paper). First I cut a piece of Wallflower to cover the entire back of the tray (adhering with Collage Medium). Then I ripped paper from Departed to add over the top. The entire center will be covered by the matchboxes so no need to worry about what that looks like.
The bug paper had an interesting tiled pattern on the back so I ripped small pieces and added that over the Departed paper.
Once the paper was in place I added a thin layer of Collage Medium over the top and let that dry completely.  Then I scribbled Walnut Stain Distress Crayon on the surface and used a damp paintbrush to work it into the corners and around the rips in the paper.  If you scroll back two pictures you can really see the difference the crayon makes.
I decided to add our new Trim Tape with the pinked edge to the box.  So I squeezed out a bit of Antique Linen paint and used my finger to rub it along the edge.  It was good that I had painted the tray with back paint because it sealed the edge so the creme paint stays on top, instead of soaking into the wood.  Once the paint was dry, I added the tape to the edge and then rolled the remainder over the edge and down the outside of the box. The last thing to do was a just a bit of crayon to take away the brightness of the paint color.
Matchboxes (1 1/2 x 2") come in a pack of six which fit PERFECTLY in the Large Tray.  I cut six, 2" strips (six different papers) from the Departed paper stash. Then used Collage Medium to adhere the paper to the boxes. I added Collage Medium over the surface to seal (so I can use crayon later).
Once I had the boxes covered and the Collage Medium was dry, I used my finger to add Distress Crackle Paste to the edges.  Not too much that it covered the design of the paper, but enough to make them look old.  I waited for the crackle to dry, then colored with crayon.  I scribbled Walnut Stain crayon on the Glass Mat and picked it up with a damp paintbrush to push it into the cracks. Followed by scribbling both Walnut Stain and Forest Moss crayon directly on the crackle to get darker spots.
For the drawers, I simply painted three black (be sure to paint the outside) and covered the other three with vintage book paper (again, adding collage medium and crayon to age).
Just a little tip before I show you the details of the tray.  When I was done creating all the boxes and ready to move them into the tray, I cut a thick piece of book board (1" wide) to use as a jig .  It fits right between the bottom of the tray and the bottom of the matchboxes.  Then when I glued each Matchbox to the tray they were nice and even.  Once I was done gluing, I removed the jig.

Before creating the interior of the boxes I lined them up in the tray to see how I wanted to arrange them.  The balance of color and texture is important to me, especially when I know I will be combining all the little Matchboxes into the tray.  As I went along, I tried to balance the "weight" of the three visually "heavy" boxes: the filled dome, the Toadstools, and the glass bottles in the bottom left.

The first quad of boxes are:
1. Red tag from the Snippets pack.
2. Black box - Hitch Fastener added for drawer pull.   Transparent Wings: I held the center of the smallest wings with a wood screwer and heated it with an embossing tool until the wings curled.  I swear I could do this all day long if I had the time!
3.  The Apothecary bottles were the same size so I decided to break one.  I just put the bottle in a plastic bag and hit the bottom of the bottle with small hammer to break it.  I rubbed Mushroom Alcohol Ink over the bones then tied them to the bottle with green string.
4.  The metal bug has been painted with Speckled Egg Distress Paint.  Once dry, I pounced Mushroom AI over the top.  Then I just wove the bug into the Mummy Cloth and glued it to the box.  The number came from the clippings part of the Halloween Sticker book.
box 2
box 3
box 4
5. Before adding the Peculiar Things token to the box, I threaded a needle an sewed two X's into the right side of the box.  My favorite little detail.
6. This is another of the black boxes.  I scribbled Distress Crayons onto the glass Mat and picked up the color with a Detailer Water Brush and just painted the Toadstools.  I adhered the tiny frame from the Baseboard pack to the front of the box then added the Poison, cut from a poison label.
7. The orange pumpkins have been painted white, Distress Crackle Paste added and dried, and a crayon wash over the top.  Words from the Halloween sticker book.
8.  Box is left plain to show off the crackle paper from Departed.

box 6

box 7

9. Another bug from the Adornments Entomology set.  This time I glued Mummy Cloth to the underside of the bug, then wired the bug to the box (poke the holes first and then thread thin wire).  Heavy crayon added to the wire to look like dirt build up.
10. Pack cut up Boneyard and Spooky Eyes in Corked Dome.  Pack the bottom with Mummy Cloth then glue the dome to the Cork.  Add a Remnant Rub (Field Notes) and tie with string.
11. Color a Paper Doll with Distress Crayons.  Cut her to fit into the small box.  Glue a wood block behind her to bring her forward in the box.
12.  I placed a wood block inside the Matchbox so I could hammer a carpet tack into the end of the Optical Lens.  These Lenses are from the regular idea-ology line and can be use for many things.  The Remnant Rub was added (Field Notes) and a tiny spider from the Adornments Halloween pack.
box 10
box 11
box 12
just a couple more photos...

I used a Mini Hardware Pull on the end of the tray to make it look like a drawer that had been pulled from a cabinet of curiosities.  The words are from the Halloween Sticker book.
Well I hope you liked the tray as much as I did making it.  I'm happy to be part of the makers creating these Halloween pieces.  I am in awe of the magical things my fellow maker put out there!  I also love cooking up these products with Tim.  We have a fun time imagining what would work for Halloween each year and helping it come to fruition!

now carry on,


  1. Oh my!!!! I have to read it again. It’s beautiful!!!

  2. Oh Paula! What an amazing halloween tray. Such a feast for the eyes. Thanks for sharing the steps.

  3. Please sell kits of this
    If I can’t see you in person, I would love to do this project!

  4. WOW, WOW YOU ARE AMAZING!! I see something different within this wonderful tray every time I look at it. ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR!!! Thank you so much for posting the tutorial!!!

  5. Eye candy for certain...thank you for putting this tutorial up, I so want to make this...just waiting on my stuff to get here...LOL...

  6. Stunning creation and perfectly 'spooky' for halloween.xx

  7. OK, so you know Halloween is not my jam, Paula, but this is so cool! I could re-create it for ANY occasion, or no occasion at all! I often do that with your makes. Re-create them for other purposes! Betcha didn't know that!!

  8. This is so deliciously spooky and grungy, every matchbox is a delight. I really love the bug and those curly wings.... and those mushrooms, they have to be my favourite elements of this new release - I am stocking up!

  9. Paula, the tray is amazing!!!! I love this idea so much. I'm not a Halloween person but I can see lots of flowers and butterflies along with the bugs and mushrooms. You are master, Paula, of putting together so many details into an absolutely fabulous make!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Absolutely spectacular - every square millimetre has something to pore over. Love the Speckled Egg bug wrapped in Mummy Cloth, and the papers on the matchboxes with crackle creeping over them like lichen, fabulous finishing on the tray itself, and everything so full of imagination and stories. You've outdone yourself with this one!
    Alison x

  11. What an amazing Halloween tray filled to the brim with horrendous details! I especially love the corked vial stuffed with bones and creepy eyes. I agree with you on the butterflies; it's so much fun to watch them curl up under the heat. You and Tim did a great job of putting together the perfect blend of Halloween goodies--my favorite: the toadstools.

  12. Absolutely amazing! Your creative talent is awe inspiring and your attention to detail...
    Your directions are flawless and this will be a project I hope to tackle. Thanks again for your inspiration!

  13. Perfectly spectacular! I love every detail, embellishment and reading your process!

  14. Love this project and hope to see a lot more Halloween. I appreciate all the little details. I have an antique drawer I need to do this with.

  15. I have my matchboxes all layed out in the tray ready to start creating. Love the matchboxes in the try.... Each piece tells a story!

  16. Paula.... you're a genius!! I'm in awe of your creativity and really appreciate you sharing with us. It truly gives me inspiration!

  17. I keep returning to this. I just love it and all of your matchbox creations. Such story and character to each one you do!! Of course loving the new one with the house and portraits too!!