I usually do not paint a box.

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Project by dgreen50 posted 09-01-2017 07:13 PM 1388 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I usually do not paint the boxes I make. I don’t even like to stain them: preferring to use a clear finish and let the wood speak for itself. However after cutting (cnc machining) the butterfly into the maple top, the completed butterfly screamed for some color to set it apart. I airbrushed three different colors onto the background and the sanded the top to allow the paint to remain in the grooves. This is the first time I have used an airbrush to really paint anything so I considered this somewhat of an experiment for me. I do like the way the colors came out and blended. Just to let everyone know I make plenty of mistakes when making boxes. In this particular instance, when mortising the hinges I made the colossal mistake of reversing the lid so the mortise was on the front of the box lid !! I discovered the mistake before drilling the deep holes for the hinge stops so I was able to cut of 1/8 of the lid, turn it around, and redo the mortise on the lid which saved the project. In the future I will always mark the correct orientation before I cut the mortises. Anyway it was a fun project.

Woods are maple, mahogany, and blood-wood splines. The finish is clear lacquer and a little paint.

7 comments so far

View rtbrmb's profile


728 posts in 3195 days

#1 posted 09-01-2017 08:03 PM

Your decision to air brush appears to be the right decision- the colors look great. The rest of the box looks very clean with symmetrically spaced splines.

Thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View Redoak49's profile


4806 posts in 2796 days

#2 posted 09-02-2017 12:38 AM

Nice job on the box and butterfly. Did you use a jig to install the hinges? They are not easy to do.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


4993 posts in 1628 days

#3 posted 09-02-2017 07:43 AM

Cool looking box and engraving. My woodworking religion precludes me from commenting on the paint (but while my splinter group is not watching… the paint is “neat”).

I usually do not paint the boxes I make….

- dgreen50

... is also my unbending mantra. However, I have been known to surrender to the dark side and use stains.

I don’t have the luxury of a CNC, however, I do of a laser engraver/cutter.

Maybe something to experiment with regarding stains. I engrave down by about 1.5mm (3 passes with the engraver… piece of pie with a CNC), use colorfull stains with neutral wood filler and infill the engraving. Sand level to the top and you don’t have any dust collecting grooves.

The inside… do you flock or inlay with material?

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View dgreen50's profile


105 posts in 3148 days

#4 posted 09-02-2017 01:19 PM

Thanks for the comments.

Redoak- I did use a jig to install the hinges and I have found that the jig works well and makes installing these hinges easier (as long as you get the top oriented correctly!).

LittleBlackDuct – The felt is inlayed. I get it at Hobby Lobby

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3674 days

#5 posted 09-02-2017 02:15 PM

What a beautiful box and done so nicely.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Boxguy's profile


2879 posts in 3075 days

#6 posted 09-03-2017 09:50 AM

This is a nice job. I like the hinges, clasp, and corner splines. The wood contrast works well. The color picks up the carving. Taking time to add a tray and liner makes this a much more useful box. Good work.

In a couple of weeks I will post a butterfly box that I made with some friends.

-- Big Al in IN

View oldnovice's profile


7597 posts in 4175 days

#7 posted 09-05-2017 03:12 AM

Your paint job turned out really nice and adds personality to the box.
I don’t see anything wrong with adding paint to a project; look at some of the vintage American furniture.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

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