Her Grace, my niece, does not read this blog, so I can tell you now that this is a present for her. It started when I found this wooden box at Value Village with hinged openings, and some delightfully tacky rhinestone clip-on earrings. Bear with me. This is how my mind works. You’ll see.
HG is at that age where she is into all things shiny and all things miniature. Originally, I planned to create a miniature castle-doll house on the inside, with three levels, a grand staircase, and a chandelier. It quickly became apparent that this idea (WHILE TOTALLY AWESOME) was beyond my abilities and time allowances. Plus it just wasn’t glittery enough. There were few if any rhinestones involved. I managed to come home from my visit to NYC with a red rhinestone adhered to my sock, and HG wasn’t even there while we were in town. She seems to have magic powers where fake gemstones are involved. I also found a pretty little rhinestone necklace, but I didn’t yet know how that was going to fit in.
She’s also at that age where she’s starting to want to keep some things to herself. I’m not talking about drug smuggling or anything (though she would make an adorable mule), but I remember having the desire at that age (9-13 or so) to have a space to put things where nobody else could see them. Even if it was just a pretty rock I’d found.
So I wanted to build HG something, like a little fortress or keep (because she does love the miniature stuff) where she could, well, KEEP stuff. But it was also important that it reflected HG’s glittery style. There’s a reason her mother calls her Sparkle.
I took the ugly wooden knobs off and cleaned out the box.
I grabbed myself some battery-powered LED Christmas lights from Dollarama. A classy keep needs a chandelier, after all.
I decided to make two chandeliers, because it was easier to drill the right-sized holes if they were a bit smaller.
I used a power drill to make the holes. Here is the basic idea.
I also picked up some beaded glass bracelets from Dollarama that would make great chandelier crystals. But that will come a bit later.
First I needed to make up the top of my Keep so it would look all fortress-y and also camouflage the battery box for the lights. I used Model Magic because it’s lightweight and it sticks to itself.
So I cut out little squares like stone blocks (the texture of Model Magic makes it kind of look like stone, which I like). I had to make it so you could still access the battery pack to turn the lights on and off.
Then I set them to dry elsewhere. I’m going to paint them when they’re dry and then glue them in place.
Figuring out the placement of my glorious rhinestone earrings as new door knobs, and the hasp (Wal-Mart) and mini padlock (Dollarama).
The earring part of these babies popped off easily, but I was concerned about the stones rattling around in their settings, so I pried them out, filled the setting with hot glue, and then stuck the rhinestones back in.
Then with some craft paint in hand I started in on the keep itself. The inside is silver, with black borders.
The outside I tried to make kind of stone-y. I’m not the best at this sort of thing but you get the idea.
While that was drying I dismantled my beaded bracelets.
I cut some floral wire and formed it into a spiral for the chandelier. I stuck the biggest bead at the bottom and folded the wire back so it didn’t fall off.
Then I just continued with the rest of the beads.
Tested them with the lights.
Still waiting for all the paint to dry, so I made a quick little beaded keychain for the keys to go on, with HG’s initials.
I’m not sure how durable it will be but it will do for the initial giving-over of the key.
Finally the paint on the box was dry, so I installed the lights and chandeliers loosely. I haven’t glued them yet as they will need some adjustment in terms of how high they are inside the box and how much clearance I need on top for the Model Magic stones. I also lined the sides with adhesive rhinestones (Dollarama) to add to the glitz and glitter.
The rhinestones kept falling off, so I slathered them with a gloss Mod Podge to hold them on. You can’t expect amazing adhesion from Dollarama rhinestones after all.
Now the time has come to attach the exterior hardware. I also blinged out the hardware.
The screws that came with the hasp are going to be way too long, so I will have to camouflage them on the inside.
When in doubt, add gemstones!
I found these cute little mirrored clips in the clearance bin at Michael’s forever ago and I thought they would be good for secret stuff organization.
So I used hot glue to stick them to the inside of the box.
I hot-glued on the rhinestones.
I used hot glue to keep the lights and battery pack in place, though I was careful not to accidentally glue the battery pack shut so they could be replaced.
I did some adjusting and then carefully placed the Model Magic parapets on top. It’s best to use white glue with Model Magic so I used hot glue to get it to stick. I’m not good at following instructions.
Then I painted it to look like the “stones” below. I also hot glued some felt to the bottom of the main section of the box so that the “doors” could swing open freely and so that the box wouldn’t scratch any delicate surfaces.
All finished. I hung the rhinestone necklace inside if she wants to wear it, and added some perfume samples that came with a present from the Pie a while ago. Just to start off the secret-stuff collection a little.
I hope she likes it!