MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Past, Present, Future MDF Memory Matchbox

Hallo again. I’ve been having another play with MDF decorating techniques and came up with a lovely little project that I believe  you will like.

It did however go bottom up and nearly ended up flying across the room.

Ready for a reason why ‘less is more’?

Then let’s get started.

First I had to assemble the matchbox. Easy enough with this wee kit from Fernli Designs.

Next came a couple of thin coats of white Jo Sonja gesso to give the matchbox a ‘key’ for the paint to catch on to as I wanted to get a particular finish to the paint.

Then it was out with the Americana Satin paints and a good dry brushing  of ‘Turquoise Waters’ from one end of the box.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Like the use of the crisp packet as a palette?! Lol  Now there’s a budget busting tip for you.

I did a similar style on the inner drawer.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

I didn’t really have a plan for the outside and just ‘went with it’.

This, in hindsight, was probably the reason for the downfall that I would later face.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Positioning the stencil I dabbed through some yellow and green paint.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Yuk. Don’t like this at all. So many shades of wrong.

As the paint was still wet I quickly grabbed a wet wipe and smeared it off.

An unexpected result occurred as it left behind some light patches. Kinda cool but not especially intense so I just left them as they were.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Must remember that in the future though.

At this point I just started fiddle-faffing and dry brushing the green and yellow paints from either end to liven up the base colour.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Not bad. Quite like how that looks.

Selecting a finer damask stencil I used versamagic cloud white ink to create a background pattern.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Yup. Looking good.

Wasnt sure what to do next however.

Rummaging through the stencil stash, and keeping in mind that I was trying to create a memory matchbox, I stumbled across a stencil that I’d bought a while back from Stencil Girl.

It had the words ‘Past, Present, Future’ on it.


Positioning it in place I chose to remain with two of the main colours that I’d used so far and dabbed through some green.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Then, some aqua.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Now for the reveal to see how this turned out …

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Almost love this. Just not quite.

Whilst I had a little think I locked those layers in by applying some Jo Sonja water based matte varnish.

At this point I did dive into one of those creative pitfalls.

My mind was telling me two things.

1. This needs something more.

2. This is finished.

It flip-flopped between the two choices for some time before the decision was made to bring the words out a little more with a metallic pen.


The ruddy metallic pen pooled and slid under the stencil!

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

I sat trying to convince myself that this was ‘distressed’ but I just couldn’t accept that answer.

But what to do?!

Option A – Paint over it and start again.

Option B – Try something else.

I went for Option B and ran through various ideas until I came up with the idea of sanding back through the layers of paint and ink.

The hope was that it would remove the metallic pen before it removed the paint.

I tentatively started rubbing the sandpaper over the box.

MDF Matchbox Memory Box

Now, I sort of liked this and it did indeed look distressed, however it wasn’t what I was hoping for.

Try as I might whatever I did next just kept compounding the issues so I resigned to covering the thing in gesso and starting again.

Second time around, and with a tad more fiddle faffing, this is what I achieved.

Definitely like this version better.

The additional this time were in contrasting colours and highlighted with a black gel paint and white gel pen.

Ok, close enough. Now, do I apply a gel gloss coat on top … ?

Having not learnt my lesson earlier, of course I did.

MDF Memory Matchbox

Thankfully it actually turned out ‘ok’.


What do you think? At what point would you have stopped? Are you like me and would have continued until Craft-mageddon? Lol!

Learnt a few cool techniques though. Funny isn’t it that a memory box should actually give me things to remember rather than just store memories.

Right, lovely to have shared that one with you but I must crack on.

Hopefully will have another soon – depending on whether I muck it up or not.

Ciao for now.

J :)

9 thoughts on “Past, Present, Future MDF Memory Matchbox

  1. I liked it before the metallic incident and think I would have been tempted to stop there, but ………….. may have been tempted to draw round the letters with possibly a grey pen (but that would probably have been my craft-mageddon x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John
    I liked you matchbox before the metallic paint mishap. Well done for persevering. I would have given up and put it in my paint it black or white and have a think about it later box. I have a lot of things in this box.!!!
    X Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great project – I really liked it with the white stencilling, but maybe that’s because I’m a girlie girl! Well done for keeping going until you were happy with it yourself though – it would have languished in a corner of my craft room for months if it had been me!!! x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can only say well done in your determination to finish the project.  I would’ve probably given up at the first hurdle or would I have? Being a typical woman it’s hard to say. Lol. 😥  I’m well impressed with the end result John.  Being a bloke (yes, you are!) you stuck with it.  Hugs, Jackie .  xx Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

    Liked by 1 person

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