I went looking for polymer beads and found a Treasure Box! It’s called Pitch with Easter Trance Spirals, by Lauren of thickneckARTS.

Treasure Box - polymer on wood

I’ve always loved hemp jewelry but without going to a craft/art show I could never find stuff that was unique or if it was, it wasn’t my style. Then I realized I would never find exactly what I wanted outside of my own creation. Only I could create exactly what I wanted!

Long story short, I bought some primary colors to play around with and have been hooked ever since!
~ Lauren

But what brought her to making a treasure box instead of beads for her hemp-knotted jewellery?

Lauren tells me she’d read that polymer clay could be used on “just about anything that could withstand the clay’s baking temperature” — around 225°F depending on the piece.

“It opened a whole other door for me with the clay,” she says. “I went from beads to candle holders to treasure boxes in a day!”

Basically, for the treasure box she used a wooden Home Depot giftcard box, black polymer clay, liquid polyclay and part of a polymer clay “cane” she’d already designed. (And for those of us who aren’t hands-on with the polymer clay yet, ClaySquared has an terrific photo show of the step-by-step process of how a polymer cane is built that, trust me, you’ll really enjoy!)

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As Lauren explains her process, she wrapped the entire box — lid and all — with black polymer clay, attaching it using the liquid polyclay. Then she cut slices from the cane and stuck them onto the black clay in a random pattern — going for a polka dot-look.

“I had to use a roller to flatten it on all sides, then smooth the corners with my fingers. Once the box was completely wrapped and the “polka dots” in place, I made “incisions”, if you will, where the door and box would separate so that it could be opened once baked. Then I separated the door from the box, and baked both on a cookie sheet for about 15-18 mins at 200-215°F.”

If you want to try this project yourself, Lauren advises, it might be best to bake the wooden box before you cover it with polymer clay.

polymer clay covered wood box “The box I used bubbled sap up from its bottom into the box itself during baking. It still came out beautiful but the sap takes up a good bit of room on the inside. lol. Also, don’t try to make your corners too flush or too tight because when the clay bakes it will pull taut, so to speak, and may create cracks.”

Lauren made a wise design choice in the classic black-and-white theme for her first treasure box, I think, as almost anything black-and-white has an automatic touch of class!

(Another way to go might be with wildly funky colours and a lot of detail, if you’re afraid you might have an ‘ooops’ or two to disguise…)

As for the wood Home Depot box giving up some sap when it was heated — that sounds like these boxes are made with fairly green wood, so likely to have some shrinkage over the years in any case.

You might be able to pick up an old wooden box of the right size and shape at a yard sale, one that’s already well dried by age. Just be careful not to polymer-decorate a priceless collector’s item by mistake! So, come to think of it, I think I’d go with the Home Depot box and just try to plan ahead, to dry the box out gradually at a very low heat over a period of days, to prevent the wood from warping.

Why not get a couple of boxes, and just pop them into the oven whenever it’s cooling off after you’ve had a cooking spree? Saves on electricity, dries the wood out in a gentle way to prevent the box from warping as the moisture evaporates from its fibers, and gives you a couple of boxes all ready to go when a treasure box inspiration hits you!

Yep, that was inspiration hitting right now…

Find Lauren’s polymer beads, hemp jewellery, and other arts at thickneckarts.etsy.com.

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