Extreme Recycler! Turning Cardboard Into Leather

Leather box

To prove that my little sister IS an "extreme recycler" - I am sharing a box that began as a ratty old cardboard container. In Leslie's magic making hands using her very own magic potions, that ratty old recycleable cardboard container became a beautifully aged leather treasure box.

The woman who receives our mail for us did not want to give it up! Before letting it out of her hands, she kept turning it around and around in her hands, touching, stroking and appreciating. It's so beautiful she kept exclaiming.

She could not believe it survived the trip through the labyrinth of torture most parcels encounter on their way to recipients. She also couldn't believe my sister would have even considered consigning it to the torture chamber! But truth be told - after coat upon coat upon coat of magic potions, Leslie's recycled "leather box" is tougher than you might imagine!

I wish my images could speak to the texture and feel and true old leather look of the treasure box. (For those who are curious - the box measures 12x12x12 - inches)

back panel

Every panel - a different design!

This panel was designed to describe the contents - Love Scraps.

Leslie's original intention in making the box was to send me a surprise box filled with "making supplies" which I would keep (since half the box contents were after all treasures found in my Great Grandmother's trunk).

But then she thought it would be really cool if I refill the box from my own stash and send it on to a crafty friend, who would then do the same thing. The intent being the Love Scrap box would become a traveling box of ever changing surprise stashes.

And that is a very good idea indeed ....... except for two things!

First - sorry but I am NOT letting go of this box!

And second - having heard about the condition of other "traveling stash" boxes after a few journeys through the torture labyrinth, I can not bear to let that happen to this box.

So - all of you who would have been lucky recipients will just have to enjoy the "Love Scraps" traveling box virtually!

side panels

Both side panels - beautiful heart design! She knows her sis hearts hearts!! Especially flowery hearts!

And what I love is that she used the creases and dents (present in the box when she found it) to further give the feeling that this was old, well used leather.

The effect was not achieved by slapping on a couple of coats of something pre-designed for this purpose in a laboratory! The final result is achieved after hours and hours and days and days and layers and layers and layers and more layers of magic!

Oh and tons of patience! And waiting for coats to dry in the moisture laden PNW air!

front panel

The front panel - a garden arch embellished with the name of her business - "Mathilda Lily". Her site is currently under construction.

envelope back

Inside! More faux leather! A lovely note was tucked into this beautiful envelope - which began it's journey as a plain old manilla envelope fished out of her recycle bin! And just look at it now!

envelope front

And the front of the envelope!

treasures from Leslie

And inside the box - TREASURE!

Beautiful and unusual fabrics my sister is sharing from her own collection.

Lace and trim,

Lace of all kinds from my Grammie's old trunk - some hand made and some not. All old. Some cut from discarded garments. And of course the Teneriffe I shared with you not too long ago!

Treasures from Grammie's Trunk

But THESE are the real treasure! Great Grandmother Crafty Tools! (Told you Leslie is the family archivist!)

In case you are curious - starting at the top and moving around clockwise:

Brass flower loom! The very one I learned to make loopy yarn flowers on when I was little. The loom is being supported by a very old container of dental floss - still in perfect condition!

The very embroidery scissors I used while learning to make my very first embroidery stitches! Sadly, the enamel is peeling off here and there.

Grammie's bee's wax! With thread from her last project embedded in it! This is of course the best treasure of all!

Tiny 2"x2" weaving loom - I know Diane wants this really bad - but she has to wait for awhile! A Looooong while!

And finally the thread knotting tool Grammie used while re-stringing necklaces for our family business in Santa Fe.

Valentine Card

Check out this gorgeous Valentine! Everyone in the family received one from Leslie this year!

She "recycled" paper (heavy card weight paper) into leather! When held in the hand, it feels just like an old piece of leather. I am beginning to think she was in a faux leather mode during January and February!

The card design, as you can read in the note below, is designed to duplicate the cover of a book of poetry, written long, long ago by an adoring husband to his beloved wife.

Back of valentine

The card is designed as a post card - and here is proof it held up well on it's journey to me!

Thank you for allowing me to introduce my little sister and share some of her talents! I find it amazing that two sisters, would go in such different directions with their art! One moved happily toward fiber - luscious glorious fiber, while the other fell in love with paint and finishes and restoring antiques ..... or creating antiques!!

Lucky you to have such a

Lucky you to have such a talented sister! Gorgeous work!

That is SO amazing!! Of

That is SO amazing!! Of course the box is awesome, but I'm loving the envelope that looks like a leather pouch - so cool!! And the antique/vintage goodies - woah!! Love it all! Like everyone else said, such a talented family!

I'm curious - what's a 2x2 weaving loom for? Patching things? Little patches to sew together?

The box is positively

The box is positively gorgeous, Pam! Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos! So neat that you can share your passion for creating with not only your daughter, but your incredibly talented sister, as well!
Big hugs,

WOW! That's amazing. I would

WOW! That's amazing. I would not give that up either! Your sister is so talented. Color me not surprised.

I have looked at every photo

I have looked at every photo repeatedly.......such beauty from what most people would have discarded in a heartbeat The talent in your family is unbelievable.Sunday dinner must have been most interesting when you were a child.Let her know we are amazed and in awe of her talent.

That is astounding! Will you

That is astounding! Will you post a tutorial some day about how your sister makes faux leather with cardboard? Her results are unbelievable.

I am glad you like the box,

I am glad you like the box, Avital! 

While I would love to share a tutorial, Leslie's magic potions and processes are how she makes a living, so I doubt very much she would be willing to share her secrets.

Beautiful! I don't blame you

Beautiful! I don't blame you for not letting that work of art out of your hands! Looks like your whole family is loaded with talent. Do you think she would share some of her methods for making cardboard look like old leather?

Lovely! Wow, the time it must

Lovely! Wow, the time it must have taken to come up with leather-look paints and varnishes. If I tried that I'm sure my impatience would have left a big lump of soggy sludgy cardboard.
Fantastic! Such a craft keen family, what fun for all of you.

Wow, that faux leather box is

Wow, that faux leather box is an amazing work of art!

There is no way this is

There is no way this is paperboard.

I'm not doubting your word. But please consider what you're saying, here!

Every warm and honeyed bit of this post makes me itch to try to do this myself. I have LOTS of boxes.

Heh! Heh! Heh!  I can just

Heh! Heh! Heh!  I can just imagine all the trouble you two would get into in a room full of brushes, paint and all the other stuff related to this medium the two of you are into!

Like you, she loves to experiment and play.  And like you, she comes up with some pretty cool results!

I hope during your absence from the internet you are finding time to play in your studio.