Large Display Ammo Crates With Aged Paper Label
So this was a large project. The first thing I did was outsource the carpentry. My goal was to make some storage crates that I could also use for displays at conventions. I have made several mini ammo boxes that I sell my comic with in a box set. But I just didn’t have the time to produce these guys. They are four feet long, two feet deep and 13″ tall. The carpenter did a great job. I worked up a model in sketchup so there would be no question about specs. I also included some dividers on the inside that slide out and a shelf that sits on the top when the box is open so merchandise can rest on top.
These boxes are made of pine which was beautiful and fresh looking when it came in. A little two fresh looking.
STEP 1: Aging the Boxes
I went down to Lowes and picked up some exterior stain. They actually had several different matte shades in aged colors. I decided on the one you can see in the picture below. The color was perfect. Some places in the wood soaked up the stain and in other places it stayed lighter so overall the box has a great aged look. Below is the stained box next to the naked one.
Step 2: Add vintage decorations to the boxes
I have been gathering art deco luggage tags to be printed on sticker paper and placed on the box. That part was time consuming to get all the images the right size and cut them out but it was easy. The hard part was deciding to do a vintage shipping label for the 19XX and make it looked aged.
Step 2A: How to make an Aged Paper Shipping Label
First I designed a shipping label in photoshop really quick. Found a great set of Photoshop brushes for passport stamps and changed all the years to 1933. Then the fun part started.
Then I needed to make the label look like it had been sitting on the crate for decades. I printed out the label on presentation paper. Photo paper would fall apart in the next step and regular paper wouldn’t have provided a clear image. Then I boiled some water and put some tea bags in it, getting it nice and dark. Above are the tools I used. A blow dryer, a couple towels, tea, and a wooden spoon. I dipped the paper in the tea and as I held it for a couple seconds I could actually see when the tea began to be absorbed. I pulled the paper out of the liquid and blotted it dry then dried it for a few seconds with the blow dryer. Not all the way dry, just not soaking wet. The reason for that has to do with the next step.
I put the paper in the toaster oven for 350 degrees for about 3 or 4 minutes. I just watched it until the edges started to crinkle and brown. Below are two different experiments with paper color and timing with the tea and the oven. I decided to go with the one on the right.
Not only did the tea and oven combo provide a nice random color to the label it also provided a great texture. The paper coming out of the printer had a nice aged design, but the paper coming out of the oven actually felt like an old piece of paper that had been through a lot.
Here is my setup with a copy of Absolute Watchmen and the Fantastic Four Omnibus flattening out the crinkled paper. After an hour or so it was flat enough to slap onto the box. And after a lot of cutting my luggage tags were ready as well.
Here are a couple shots of the first box with all the tags in place.
Ok I’m done for now but I think later I might go back and line the lid with vintage newspapers.