IF I COULD I WOOD ( a Shaper Sheet Treasure Chest )




About: Artist/Inventor who loves everything creative.

No trees were harmed in the making of this Ible.

If I could I would, create lots of things from wood ,but for so many people across this country ,who may not have access to the proper tools,or have space restrictions ,noise ordinances or just simply comes down to knowledge base. We must think out side the box.

So here we go, Faux Wood,not the real deal but I think we can come close enough to fulfill our need to have some wood craft in our home,etc.

The career field I was in, until recently was one that developed products that enabled people like yourselves and myself to create things close to our own hearts. These products help turn a little fantasy into reality and fake into fabulous.

We may not be able to have the real deal but We can come close and that should make us feel really special. After all what is fake but just another word . One of the products, I use is Shaper Sheet, it is a foil and fiber sheet material that can be modeled and finished to create unique objects ,in this instance a fake wood treasure chest. I hope this Instructable gets you one step closer to creating that wood piece, that you desire to make but never could.

For all the hands that create breathtaking works of art, out of the extraordinary medium of wood,my hats off to you ,without a doubt there is nothing like the smell ,look and feel of real hand crafted wood and that is why you are in a league of your own.

( Come on lets don't just make it, lets fake it )

Step 1: Tools & Materials

  • Water safe work area
  • Patterns
  • Designated mixing bowls
  • Designated silicone spatula
  • Spray bottle for water
  • Hot glue gun( multipurpose glue sticks)
  • Cutting blade or rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Piece of fun foam( I use this stuff all the time ,great for embossing pad and lots more)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil, not very sharp
  • Other Tools for creating texture , options ( Popsicle stick,palette knife,old ink pen, etc)
  • Thin cardboard( cereal box materials)
  • Sponge
  • Paint brushes designated for plaster work( chip brush, flux brush, old tooth brush)
  • Paint brushes for acrylic paints( finish work)
  • Heat gun ( with appropriate handling tools )
  • Optional rubber gloves( will be working with plaster so you might want hands protected)
  • Shaper sheet ( large roll 18"x 72")
  • Plaster ( hydro-cal )( or other material like Portland cement , thick modeling paste)
  • Paints ( what ever finish you want,acrylics were used on mine as well as spray paint)
  • Black matte finish spray paint
  • Matte spray sealer

Tip: Next time your in the super market pay a visit to the meat department ask them if they could get you or save for you the card board dividers from the pre- packed meats ,this is a great material for many crafts it is just like cereal box material with out the print.

Ahoy matey all hands on deck.....

Step 2: The Pattern for the Chest.

The pattern was created on 11"x 17" paper. You can print the design out on this size of paper or just print and piece together. Before cutting out please check sizes,then proceed to cutout the patterns. There are 5 pieces,transfer the pattern to thin card board or card stock.

  1. (12)pieces of the lid strip(one will be cut down at the end, to finish)
  2. (2) of each of the ends and side
  3. (1) for the bottom.

You will be adding 1/4 INCH EDGE around all the pieces, when you go to cut them out of the Shaper sheet.

Now with Shaper sheet is rolled out, foil side up ,place down your patterns( best to do the lid strips first,then move on)When you have your pattern down on foil side, take the dull pencil, remembering to leave that 1/4" space, trace the shape this will scribe it and make it easy to cut. Do this, to all your pieces.

Step 3: Graining the Panels

Moving forward, we can now take the pieces and on the foil side start to lay in grain work,not all of this will show on the front side,this is OK, it just adds some underlining texture. Use your piece of fun foam, if you have or just something to give a little padding while you emboss the wood grain .

Try your different tools for adding detail on a small piece so you can see what you like. I prefer lots of grain and of course more grain is obtained by using the plaster on the surface. A pounce wheel along the edge,rolled on the fabric side ,will create a stitch whole pattern or tight riveted look,an end of a paint brush will create curled strips if ran back and forth.

When all is finished cut the corner out (like in the photo) so when the material is folded it won't be bulky,double stick tape can be applied to foil side to help hold the card stock in place while you fold over the edges. A boning tool( used for folding over edges of paper) will give a crisp edge ,however any tool that will help fold over the edge is fine.

You don't have to leave in the card stock but it does help keep the material flat,support comes when we add the plaster.

Step 4: Plastering the Panels

Prepare your work area, you will be using water so please be safe around electrical and items that water can damage. Once again this is your project and I take NO responsibility for your project or you,please be safe and read instructions.Now that's done, get ready you might make a little mess, just take your time and all will be fine.

I use Hydrocal for many of my projects. You can purchase the plaster designed for Shaper sheet if you like or use plaster of Paris, what ever your decision is, think about where this prop will end up. I love Create Coat from Hot wire foam factory, it will make your project suitable for outdoors.

There are many products like this on the market, research and find the best for you and your application. Take your plaster and mix to the consistency of heavy cream, working with one panel, and fabric side up, take the spray bottle and mist the panel (damp but not dripping), please do small batches if you haven’t worked with plaster, or are a little rusty.

Keep a old bowl with water, so you can clean out your brushes or tools as you are working (DON’T PUT ANY OF THIS PLASTER WATER OR SLUDGE DOWN ANY DRAIN) With a chip brush, start applying plaster. Coat the piece well, covering all the fabric. Use your tools to scribe wood plank lines,and areas with knots etc., this is your little map.

At this time you will make a thicker plaster, like soft mashed potatoes (cool water will slow the set time on the plaster and of course hot will speed it up) you know how you work, so you decide. Start applying the plaster on each of the designated board areas; use the pallet knife to spread it around.

Make your grains, knots and so on. Your an artist this is your canvas not mine,so have fun, mist water as you go,this will allow you to work in layers if you like.

OK set aside to dry, you can add more detail even after it dries. It may curl a little, or a lot so watch it, won't hurt to add a piece of paper on top and a little weight while it dries.

Get them all done and dry. Take a break!!!!!

Step 5: Constructing Your Chest.

All is dry,and you are rested so lets move on. Place the bottom piece down and begin to hot glue around the edges creating the box. I found that my sides were a little bowed, so with a little pressure, I pushed the edges together while the glue cooled.

Next take the top end pieces and glue a strip halfway past the bottom, see picture, then glue it to the inside of the box. Time for putting on the lid strips. You can start in the middle, but it really doesn't matter. You can trim the last strips if needed. Without going into detail on the finishing,of pieces, this is your design; you may want a skull, and fancy trim,etc.

Replicate metal banding, cut 1 1/4-inch width strips, to go around all the edges. Take a paint brush end and start distressing the strips to resemble hammered metal, the fun foam helps with this, makes the indention's softer. I added handles, hinge, and a lock they were all made from Shaper sheet.

Remember you can decide to have yours open .I chose to have my chest closed, that is why I added the support pieces inside, you can leave those out just build the top separate and add real hinges.

At this point you have a chest, I created rivets and add to the banding .

The heat gun is used to eliminate fuzz from your project ,it will take care of hot glue strands and really help clean up the chest.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

There are only 4 main colors used, black matte spray paint for all the silver
parts, a little over spray is OK it helps with creating shadow,and clear matte sealer.

Now take the base brown Folkart (2558 Cinnamon), paint the chest,leaving all the metal strip black,use FA (944 nutmeg) brush on and wipe back leaving color in the cracks, (Use damp sponge or cloth to wipe off) repeat step with FA (462 burnt umber) and then final color black. The look you get is very deep and rich; lots of other colors can be added. Dry brushing some of the base color, or a little lighter color back on the high areas will add even more detail and depth.

When it comes to the trim and all the texture added, simply use rub-n-buff or any brand of wax metallic place a little on your finger and lightly touch the high areas, multiple colors can be used, after it has set for a minute or two, take an old piece of cotton t shirt and lightly rub, it will burnish causing a condensed metallic look. Love, love, love these waxes.

Look everything over and decide if it is enough for you, it is just paint after all. Finish with the matte spray.

I did add a little of my nutmeg, watered down to replicate rust on the metal parts, real rust paint looks fabulous on fake metal pieces.

That's it, just have fun, and you can do it.

Make no mistake, it is a fake.

I have to say, it is one of my all time joys to create items like this and watch and listen to the comments people make . The art of fooling the eye has been around for centuries and will continue for centuries to come. Hope you love this as much as I do.

Thank you! Julia



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    34 Discussions

    The Juliart

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hello! I am so glad you like it! I hope to post again soon.

    Have a great day! Jewels


    4 years ago

    The wood may be faux, but this chest is a real treasure!
    I am so looking forward to seeing more of your work!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool final product! I would have loved to see some pics of the Shaper sheet lock and details, as I'm not familiar with that material. Definitely a technique I'll try in my future prop building.

    2 replies

    Hi! Thanks so much! The lock was just two pieces of basic lock pattern,the edge was one strip ,that is the edge,hot glued together.
    I hammered the sheet befor putting together. Cut the key while it was flat. Then the top latch part is just crescent shapes layered to get thickness. That's it. Sorry I didn't take pictures,just seemed like a lot of stuff. It is fun to work with. Julia


    I hear ya! Sometimes photo documenting is way more work for me than the project itself. Thanks for the info.


    4 years ago

    Very nice done. I love the aging effect.

    1 reply