It’s Art, Craft and Collections month at Apartment Therapy, and for my small contribution, the first thing that went through my head was this old project: small painted toy boxes.

I’ve had this idea forever —painted furniture for children— but I was always simply too busy to get the concept off the ground. One sees so many plastic-y Sponge Bob things and stickers on the market that I thought there must be an audience of people who want more. The idea here was to take a box (custom-made) and paint it a soft white; embellish it with figures from classic children’s book literature, and when you open it up: boom, an explosion of color.

In these examples, my source images came from vintage children’s books and post cards, which I edited and translated to my dimensions, and I tried to lend them my own hand. At 12”x12”x16”, why are these so small? I started out much bigger and it was too much ground to cover, I overwhelmed myself. So for do-it-yourselfers, match your ambitions to your talent. Technically, I’m using acrylic paints in delicate washes like a watercolor painter. The off-white is Ben Moore’s Etiquette AF-50, but Fine Paints of Europe supplies that tough-as-nails inside paint in those delicious colors.

So far I have Mother Goose, The Night Before Christmas, and my Commedia dell’Arte prototype. Sold to children, but designed for adults.

Images: Mark Chamberlain