Peek through binoculars and what do you see? Spots, stripes and stenciled storage! If your office is crafty, you might need storage for supplies. With paint and animal print stencils you can easily transform paper mache boxes, and even shoe boxes, into stylish safari trunk storage for small things.
Stencil Supplies for this Project:
- Royal Design Studio Stencils: Spotsallover Furniture Stencil, Tiger Stripes, Zebra Stripes Furniture Stencil
- Paper mache boxes – trio of three stacking boxes from craft stores like Jo-Ann and Michaels
- Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan – Natural base coat colors: French Linen, Old Ochre, Old White. Contrast colors: Emperor’s Silk, English Yellow, Florence
- Stencil brushes
- Flocking from com: 1 oz. each of Charcoal Gray, Golden Brown, Light Brown
- Flocking applicator (a plastic bottle with funnel shaped cap)
- Silver metal screw posts from Tandy Leather
- Silver metal box corners from Tim Holtz Idea-ology
- Misc: Flat Purdy Brush, Dust Mask, Glue, Foam Roller, Leather strips
First, paint a base coat on the boxes. I used various natural colors of Chalk Paint®: French Linen, Old Ochre and Old White.
I decided to not even try to replicate real animal fur. Because I thought it would take a lot of effort, and I might not be very good at it! Once I let go of needing to be realistic, fun ideas popped in mind. Such as, what about add some fun colors, like put some bright red, acid yellow and flashy blue in the animal prints. Have you ever seen an acid yellow zebra or a blue cheetah? Wouldn’t it be fun if they were real?
So first I stenciled small areas of the stencils with these contrast colors of Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk, English Yellow and Florence. I chose the areas so the colors would flow visually when the boxes are stacked together. Let the paint dry completely.
You can keep using paint to make the animal print patterns, if you want. For a fun challenge I decided to try something different with stencils. Because animal fur has texture, I decided to play with flocking to create a fuzzy surface.
This poses an interesting challenge and problem to solve. Usually when stenciling you apply just a light bit of paint so that the paint is applied nearly dry. But when applying flocking, you need a thicker layer of paint or glue so that it stays wet and the flocking will catch in the glue and stick. The challenge is to not apply so much paint or glue that it oozes under the stencil.
You can try using glue. But flocking will also adhere to wet paint! So I chose to roll a thicker layer of Chalk Paint® as “glue.” I used the same colors of Chalk Paint® as the colors painted on the boxes, so if any Chalk Paint® oozed under the stencil, it would blend in. So, for example, I brushed French Linen through a stencil on the box painted with French Linen.
I found what worked best was to use a foam roller and roll Chalk Paint quickly over the stencil in a heavier layer. Then immediately, before even lifting the stencil, blow a layer of flocking over the wet paint with an applicator. Tap the flocking lightly with your fingers to help it adhere to the wet paint, hen lift the stencil.
If you follow this method of blowing flocking over the stencil before lifting the stencil, be sure to wash your stencil frequently before the flocking dries on it. You can see I used different flocking colors than the animal prints in real life. This was part of the plan to intentionally make the animal prints totally non-realistic!
A few tips about working with flocking:
- Because it’s made of tiny fibers, it’s recommended you use a dust mask so you don’t breathe the fibers into your lungs.
- Use a plastic bottle with a funnel-shaped cap as an applicator. Cut a hole in the cap. Fill the bottle about halfway with flocking. Squeeze the bottle to blow flocking out through the cap.
- Blow a heavy layer of flocking over the wet glue area. It’s better to blow too much than not enough.
- Some flocking will stick to the glue, and some will not. Once the glue is drying, you can shake off and re-use the flocking that didn’t stick.
The Tim Holtz Idea-ology box corner protectors come with matching brads. Just poke holes in the box corners with a nail, then attach the metal corner protectors with the brads. Easy!
Once you’ve finished fuzzing up your boxes with flocking, you can add embellishments to make the boxes look like traveling safari trunks.
You can find ready-made leather straps, or you can cut leather into strips. I had some dark brown leather on hand and cut strips with scissors. To make little leather handles, poke holes through the leather and the boxes. Then attach the leather strips with screw post rivets. I found some of these rivets at Tandy Leather. They are also called Chicago screws. You can also find them from Etsy sellers.
And that’s it! Do you know what I see? I spot tigers, cheetahs and zebras — in safari stenciled style storage!
A few final notes about supply options for this project: Instead of paper mache boxes, you can also use strong quality shoe boxes. Flocking is not easy to find in stores, but the website listed above specializes in flocking and sells it in dozens of colors in small and large quantities. For the silver metal box corners, buying enough for three boxes adds up, but you can get them with a coupon at craft stores like Jo-Ann, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Another option is to look for metal corner protectors for “doll trunks” from doll supply websites.
I hope you enjoyed this “wild” DIY stenciling idea! Perhaps you can think of some other interesting ways to incorporate animal print stencils?? Please let me know in the comments below!