These are three boxes I made for gifts this Christmas. The first one is pig skin over board with an inlay of goanna skin. The one below has an inlay of cane toad skin. And the last one is a box covered with a material that was turned into a book cloth and inlaid with a kantha stitched textile from India. They were treasure boxes filled with smaller wrapped gifts.
The cloth covered one was so much easier than the leather boxes to make. There is much to learn about how to make leather do what it needs to do to be properly fitted to the form. But I am learning.
The wooden spines have to be made first because all other parts must fit to that. Below are some of the stages the treasure boxes went through.
Here are the wooden spines with thick leather straps to give additional shape. The trays are made to fit and the ends covered with thin board to smooth out the join between wood and tray.
Next they are covered inside and out.
The leather is cut to the correct size and pared down on the corners with a leather paring blade. In this case the cover boards will need to be made with windows to show the cane toad and goanna skins that are recessed into the cover.
The accent hides are centered onto the inner lid that fits into the box when closed.
I used a tai kozo paper that had been contact printed with plants and a rust colored lokta paper on the inside of the boxes. The glue was pure corn starch paste for all except I used a straight PVA to glue the tray pieces together. These boxes were definitely a labor of love and I can easily see where I need to do better on the next ones. But I love how they sound when they close and how they feel in the hand.