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Altered Cigar Box Idea… Revisited


About a year ago, I created an Altered Cigar Box Project and presented it as a class at Captured Moments. It was a well received class and while I was developing my presentation for the class, I realized that a project like this one would make an excellent Blog entry. I think it is difficult and overwhelming to sit down to a project like this without a process in mind. Here is an image of my finished Box and here is what I did to make my project easy!

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My "Treasured Things" Altered Cigar Box

OK, here is how it started. My husband is a cigar smoker. I had a ton of accumulated cigar boxes that I’d been hauling around, knowing that some day I would develop a class to use them for. Fortunately, he smoked the same cigars for a long time so I had quite a bit of the exact same cigar box… perfect for developing a class.

So now I needed to come up with a theme. It is difficult trying to conduct a class or workshop unless everyone is focusing on at least a similar theme. I decided to promote this project as a “Treasured Things” box. I selected a paper line from 7 Gypsies that I thought looked antiquated and nostalgic. (Certainly a style that I like!)

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Covered Cigar box, inside and out

I first covered the box with the paper inside and out and for the class was able to pre-cut the papers for everyone so that paper cutting was not taking up too much time and effort in the class. Then I needed to give everyone, including myself, some “homework”. We had to write down a list of our “treasures”. Things we treasure in life, or treasured items, it didn’t matter… the list would become our guide and template for developing our box.

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My list of treasured things

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List featured on inside cover of box

Once my list of “treasured Things” was created, all I had to do was find ways to represent the things on my list. This was the fun part. Not only was it fun, but I was able to use stuff out of my scrapbook bag, using up some of those accumulated extras that seem to multiply overnight!

I chose to represent one or two items on my list on each side of the box. As I rifled through my scrapbook bag , I pulled all kinds of things that I thought could represent something on my list. Some things I did use, some things I did not. It was fun to be creative with these representations, keeping in mind that the theme was quite personal and was representative of myself.

Here is some of what I was able to come up with…

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Motherhood, Marriage & Love are represented on the cover

Using sayings, photos, rub-ons, stickers, fibers, etc this box became very 3-dimensional and very interesting to look at. It was almost a challenge for someone other than myself to recognize the specific treasures and how they were interpreted and represented on the box. A true conversation piece!

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Free Spirit, Mystery & Intrique are represented here

The obvious representation as well as the obscure make this box fun and interesting. Once I got rolling and started to find interesting things to use on the box, everything just came together.

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My family is the featured treasure here

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Music and Nature are represented on this side

What was great about this class was that once the box was covered with the paper, everyone’s box then took on a life of it’s own. It was great to watch the transformations of each box as it became the owner’s own. Each person was asked to bring whatever they wanted to use on the box as well as stuff they might offer up to others. We had tables full of everything anyone could possibly think of needing for their project. It was exciting. Everyone helped each other with ideas and suggestions.

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Time, Freedom and Adventure is portrayed here

This was a fun class and a great project. I have since used this type of planning for similar “altered” type projects that need a direction in order to come together. I hope this explanation is helpful for you when you are looking to create something like this. The box takes on so much more meaning if what you select to add to it represents something about you. Have fun!


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3 Responses to “Altered Cigar Box Idea… Revisited”

  1. Sandra Bryan Says:

    Tara, Lovely cigar boxes. Please tell me . Did you paint the boxes or just leave the wood as is. And how did you do the papers on the outside? I have cigar boxes that I am making for Christmas presents. Thanks.

  2. Tara Says:

    Hi Sandra. Thanks for your compliment on the cigar box. It was a fun project for sure. For one box, which was more of a sturdy cardboard and not wood… I only painted the edges of the box so that I wouldn’t have to bring the paper around the corners. (The box was a bright green color on the corners which I didn’t want to come through). I slightly roughed up the smooth surface with sand paper just so my paper would adhere stronger. I cut the paper down to size and used a good quality scrapbooking glue stick to adhere it. On another cigar box, that was wood, Again, I just painted the edges a color I wanted them to be because I covered the rest of the box with paper. I did also sand it very lightly.

  3. Pamela Spicer Says:

    Tara, I really appreciated hearing your thought process on the altered cigar box. It really helped me understand how you think through the creative process and development so that you have a meaningful and beautiful object. I think this will really help me break out the collected stuff and make it into real objects of art and expression – the kind of results I really want to turn out. Thanks.

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