Over this Labor Day weekend I spent a lot of quality time with the wooden boxes for the deluxe edition of Tabula Mundi Tarot.
The wooden boxes were handmade by Creative Wood Products of Maine here in New England, USA. They harvest the birch and pine and make the boxes by hand. I ordered them unfinished, but I had a die for the brand made from the card back design to have them wood burn a design onto the tarot box tops. The brand was made by Visimark of Worcester, MA. The good people at both companies were not sure if my design was too detailed to be able to be branded into soft wood like pine, but I decided there was only one way to find out – to pay for the brand to be made and hope it worked. If it didn’t I figured I’d have a cool objet d’art for the mantle. Here it is, pictured on the mantle of my fireplace where it now rests:
But the good news is that when they tried it out on the wood for the boxes, it worked! Some of the brands came out darker than others, almost black, while some are more sepia toned. But they all looked pretty good to me so I am happy with them, considering the uncertainty. The box makers usually deal with bigger companies, who have simple graphic logos. Nothing like this!
So the boxes came to me wood burned with the tarot back design but unstained, and then the fun begins. Over the weekend, I got started on the finishing work. I had to putty the tiny holes where the tiny nails fastened them together. Then the putty had to be sanded off. Next because it is porous wood each box had to have wood conditioner applied before staining.
And, then the cherry-colored stain was put on. Everyone sing with me: “110 boxes for tarot on the table, 110 boxes for tarot, take one down, stain it all around, 109 boxes for tarot on the table!”
I had to buff the stain into the box tops with a rag so as not to hide the wood burn design with too dark of a stain. The box bottoms were dipped in stain til they were a nice color then the excess wiped off.
Here is a picture of the tarot box back yard staining factory:
Next I will apply a coat of poly to bring out the shine and protect the boxes. W
When the poly is done I will be adding a pewter colored silk lining that will protect the cards and allow them to be gently lifted from the boxes. So this is a sneak preview of the card back design, though not as clear and detailed as the tarot cards will be.
Note to self: making any quantity of anything by hand in quantity of number more than 100 takes a long time! 110 boxes, coming up!
More pictures will follow when I have a finished Tabula Mundi tarot card box to show!