Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Making of Mr. Maximilian’s Cabinet of Curiosities

One of the three projects I have been working on is now finished. It’s a Halloween piece that I thoroughly enjoyed making. It has many of my favorite elements. There are bottles with potions, books with notions and eyeballs and bats and eerie lights. This is the making of Mr. Maximilian’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

Everything starts with a little inspiration.  My inspiration came from a Norwegian artist.  You can see her piece here.  I truly loved her box and decided that I wanted to make mine with cabinet doors that opened.  My first hurdle.

I began with the paper trimmed and split in two.  While using real glass would have been nice, the weight would have been too much so I chose a very thin plexiglass.

Using a very thick black board, I created two doors with the plexiglass insert cut to size.

Here’s the sandwich I ended up with – the design, backing for the design, the plexiglass with the mat board frame, and the backing with arched windows,

Here are the pieces aligned but not yet adhered.

Here most of it is together except the backing remains on the plexiglass to protect it from scratches.  When you see this piece complete, you may notice the hinges are different.  I realized early on that these would not work and all for the better.  The final hinges are a much more appropriate choice.

Starting this piece with the doors means that I was working backwards.  I needed a box that would fit them exactly.  So I asked my husband to build one to my specifications.  He did an excellent job.  Just  one of several special requests I have made of him lately.  (Thanks, my dear!  You’re the best!)  After the box was ready, I covered it with paper on the outside.

I knew from the beginning I wanted some spooky Halloween lighting inside the cabinet. With lights come a battery pack and then the issue of how to hide it but still have it be easily accessible for battery replacement.  Having Jay build a base served two purposes.  One it would hide the batteries and two, it would allow me to use the fancy metal feet I wanted.  Here the base is being glued to the box or the box is being glued to the base.  Either way, as long as they are stuck together!

Another view.

An upside down view of the feet after I screwed them on.  A perfect fit.

Next, the interior.  I lined the box with paper but then had to determine where I wanted the shelves and the lights to go.  This was a shelf placement experiment.  I had to muster up my courage to actually commit to the gluing everything in place.

A tentative light placement.

A shot of one of the potion bottles for the shelves.


And another.  As I’ve said before, “Poor ol’ Fred”.


Here’s the finished piece.  Enjoy Mr. Maximillian’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

From the front with the doors closed.


With the doors slightly open.


With the doors all the way open.


A view of the interior.


The outside with the lights on.


A view of the inside with the lights on.


A look at the back shows you the location of the battery pack in the base.


Here’s a photo I took to help me remember which bottles I wanted to use and where I wanted them on the shelf.


A few close-ups.  This one makes it look like the bear has a freaky eyeball.  Too fun!


I actually did  have favorite shelves.  This was one of them.


Lots of books.  In fact, I think there are about 25 or 26.  And lots of potions and things.


My plan is to make this piece available on my website by Monday.  After all, October is here now and Halloween won’t be far behind!

As always, thanks for reading!


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