Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Theatre of Keys- DecoArt Media Products

The full post of a project produced in the Autumn of 2014 for DecoArt
Theatre of Keys
Using DecoArt Media Acrylics, Mediums and Americana Decor Chalky Finish

This project started life as a junk shop find, it was a jewellery box keeping safe someone's precious jewels now it houses precious keys, 31 sparkling on the stage
My inspiration came from an installation that I viewed at the Tate Modern a number of years ago by Cornelia Parker, I love her work and this one particular installation was mesmerising
 I started by taking out the glass panels and mirror back and set about distressing by scraping and sanding and a few knocks with a hammer
 The cabinet had a drawer in the bottom which was ideal to hold a battery pack for a set of lights, the cable was run up the back and hidden with a piece of chipboard

 The lights were housed in a drawer made from a wooden frame cut in half with holes drilled; I had to fix two batons to form runners for the lighting drawer, This also had the small screw eyes fixed to allow the strings for hanging the keys

I wanted to create an old theatre feel so set about with a distressed wallpaper layered effect
The background pattern embossed card with a lovely acanthus pattern then painted with DecoArt Media Prussian blue, Dioxadine Purple, Carbon black and Burnt Umber 

Then highlighted with gold metallic and espresso metallic with additional washes and highlighting the result was a very rich subtle colour effect

The overlay peeling wallpaper was done with washes of Prussian Blue and Quinacridone Gold and stencilled with Burnt Umber, torn and distressed with burnt umber dripped down and quin gold applied on the torn edges and spritzed with Black Media Mister

 I painted the inside of the cabinet with Carbon Black, then lined with the papers using Matt Medium

I attached a decorative resin embellishment to the top to stop it looking too box like
Then started on the outside applying American Décor Chalky Finish Enchanted, Vintage and Treasure
With the darker colours around the edges this was done quite randomly as it won't show under the top coat but having a variety of colours creates more interest

Once dry I applied a layer of Crackle medium allowed to dry for approx. 1 hr then applied Relic Chalky Finish the cracks start to appear immediately, but best leave to dry for a couple of hours

Amazing crackle effect!
 Once complete I applied Americana Décor clear crème wax and Deep brown around the edges
Then buffed with a clean cloth for a subtle stain shine, this is amazing as it really accentuated the colours making them richer colour tones as you can see on  the lefthand side

The screen doors, were cut on a Cricut machine, covered with Media texture sand and Painted with Carbon Black and dry brushed with Metallic Gold and Dazzling Metallics Espresso as was the fleur de Lys decorative border which covers the lighting tray

The keys are a variety of very rusted antique and new ones which were distressed in the same way as the trellis 
The keys were tied to fine fishing line and with hooks attached at varying lengths and then attached to the screw eyes

Its Showtime!
The keys are spinning, twinkling and sparkling under the spotlights!
I hope you have enjoyed my project : )

DecoArt Products Used

To see the full DecoArt Media Range please click here


  1. Wow - what a great transformation from a hum drum jewelry box - to this wonderful piece of 3D art Jools! such a creative fun idea with the lighted hanging keys - love all the crackle!

  2. Amazing Jools, both the inside and the outside look incredible! Love the effect on the doors and fabulous crackle of course!

    Sorry I have not been around much lately but hope to catch up soon! Belated Happy New Year to you and yours!

  3. This is a jaw-dropping piece of work, Jools - as Astrid says, inside and out. Beautiful work with the paints and the keys look stunning in their theatre! I'm off to have a look at the link - thanks for that.
    Alison xx

  4. Jools this is TRUE ART : AWESOME !!!!
    Gosh I love your work on this.bit's like butterfly said above : jaw-dropping !!
    And yes the crackle is fantastic. You really created a Masterpiece !!
    I think I saw it in Autumn when you first publiced it. But it's still amazing...lol
    Thanks for sharing this lovely piece of art.
    Hugs from Monica....Spain

  5. What an absolutely riveting remake, Jools! I think that my favorite part (other than the key collection, that is) must be the screen panels in the doors. So much attention to detail. You must, must submit this for publication!

  6. You never cease to amaze me! Another totally fabulous, dtailed project!

  7. Oh my goodness Joolz, I need to pick my jaw off the floor. Such a stunning project that is so magical in every way. Outstanding.
    Julie x

  8. Another ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE project Jools. I have an old box just like that - maybe someday I will take stab at it too but for now... WOW - I'm just going to enjoy your FABULOUS CREATIVITY. SPECTACULAR. Xj.