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On Wooly and Wallpaper Boxes

When I first started designing wool appliqué pieces, I was looking for purposeful ways of using them other than table rugs and wall hangings. You can only have so many of those, and I enjoy making things that are useful as well. A practical element in a piece adds its own unique beauty, making it an object not to be simply looked at but also to be used.

In looking for new uses for my wool appliqué designs, wallpaper boxes came to mind. I have always found period wallpaper boxes fascinating. Not only are they beautiful, but they are useful and a great way to use leftover wallpaper. Using scraps and repurposing items has been a part of my work from the beginning—even as a painter. So, I thought, why not add a wooly to the top of a box? I chose to use a fabric covered paper mache box as my version of this early craft. On my first round of boxes I just glued the wooly flat. I liked the result; however, it needed a little extra something (literally) so I began stuffing the tops to give them a bit more dimension, and the wooly box was perfected!

Our friends Ron and Kathy Wright have a wonderful collection of early wallpaper boxes. They include a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes from very small to one that could be a coffee table. I wanted to share these with you today on the blog so you might be inspired for your next project!

Speaking of next projects, I recently added new box patterns to my web store. These patterns are digital downloads for the wooly box tops. The directions for covering boxes with fabric can be found in my second book, Seasons of Wool Appliqué Folk Art, published by C&T Publishing. I will continue to release box top patterns like this, so keep an eye out for new ones!

If you decide to order a kit, you’ll see that these are kits with wool for the top only (box sold separately). It’s up to you to find the fabrics for the sides, which I think is half the fun. When looking for fabric to cover my boxes, I try to find patterns that reflect the early wallpaper used on the old boxes, but I also like to use vintage fabrics, linen, and sometimes decorator cottons. It is always a joy to play with the different colors and textures I find in fabrics, and to play them off of my wool designs. So raid your stash and see what delightful textiles you might cover your next box with.

Have you made any of the wooly boxes yet? Share a picture below!

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