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Using Studs on Wooden Boxes

This week’s demo is about using studs and nail-heads to transform a plain wooden box into something to treasure. You’re going to need a hammer, pliers, a hobby knife and brush-on sealer. But most of all, you’re going to need some studs. In this example we also used some wood stain, decorative trimming, metal stampings and a small amount of chain.

Before you hammer anything onto the box, first decide what color the box should be, and paint it. We chose a wood stain in a mahogany tone. Hint: unscrew of the hinges and any other hardware on the box before you paint it. Once it’s dry, screw all of it back on. That way the hinges won’t get clogged with paint, and all the metal will stay bright and clean.

Its pretty simple to set a stud into the wood. Place the stud where you want it, and hit it from above with the hammer. Some helpful hints: Push the stud into the wood with your thumb first, to get it started a little. This keeps it from jumping out of place when the hammer hits it. Hit the stud from directly above and center because if you come down on it crooked, the prongs may bend out or the stud will be at an angle instead of flush with the surface. Choose Studs with a flat head because domed studs will dimple in the center when you hammer them in. We actually think the dimple looks neat, so we included a couple of domed studs on our box.

Now that you understand the basic concept, lets get a little more creative with it. Try using a fabric trim, fastened down with studs. Hammer the studs in line with the trimming, then use the hobby knife to clean the edges on the ends.

Using the same concept, fasten down metal stampings by placing studs around small sections that protrude from the design of the stamping. Choose pieces that have thin sections that come out from the main body. This beetle stamping worked excellent because the tiny feet and tips of the wings are thin enough to be en-caged by the prongs.

Another application of this technique is to use chain with studs holding it in place on either end. Measure and cut a length of chain. Take a stud and hook the chain onto one of the prongs. Hammer it into the desired location on the box.  viola!

Now that all the studs are set onto the box how you want it, open the box. You may see some prongs coming through the lid, or even the sides. This happens when setting the larger sized studs, as the prongs are longer. Its not a big deal, just take the back end of a pencil, or sculpting tool and bend the prongs over. When you finish the inside of the box, it will all get covered nicely.

Double check everything on the outside, make sure all the studs are hammered in all the way, and that it looks exactly the way you want. Then take a sealer and brush it over the entire surface of the box (we used orange shellac due to it’s excellent coverage on both wood and metal, and its warm tone to match our wood stain). Tuck a piece of paper in between the lid+ base, to prevent the box from becoming sealed shut. You can also masking-tape off the hinges, or just be cautious when applying the sealer. Sealers that work great: Envirotex spray-on sealer, mod podge brush-on sealer, matte or gloss medium, Krylon triple-thick spray on glaze, and orange shellac. Let it dry completely.