Creating A Steampunk Box From A Thrift Store Radio

Just in time for Halloween part two of one of  favorite posts ever, DIY Steampunk Masks.   We don’t want you to leave this blog post before you see Dana’s new steampunk box, so here is a sneak peek at the mask and when you have read this post jump over and see how she created this amazing mask that fits inside.  We are not sure there is time to pull off one of these masks before your Halloween Soiree, but we hope you are inspired this Halloween season to start creating a little steampunk beautifulness.  

Wearing Steampunk Mask 2 by Dapoppins

Dana Here!!!  I’m an adventurous crafter – I love trying new things.  Last spring when one of my boys asked for a steampunk mask as a birthday gift, I was more than ready to try and put something together.  The end result turned out really cool – I’m not just tooting my horn here,  my son showed it to every friend who came to visit him for a month.  This qualifies it as teenage cool!

The one problem with this interesting shaped mask? It needed a resting place.  It needed it’s own box.  And not just regular, plain, square shaped box.  I hunted my local Goodwill and thrift shops looking for a suitable container big enough to hold the mask.  A  container that would make a seamless transition from average to steampunk.

Gathering Supplies

It took almost a month of searching to find the right box.  I had an idea for something vintage in appearance  and I couldn’t get the vision out of my head.  Excitement filled me when I saw a reproduction radio/cassette player at the Goodwill.  It looked old.  But it was new.  I wouldn’t feel bad tearing it apart and covering it up with chipboard gears, metal gears, watch parts, gadgets and Tattered Angels paints.  I just about squealed with joy right there in the store. Not only was the box large enough to hold the mask, but it already had steampunk-esque moving parts.  I decided right away to combine the old radio with a black Solo Tray from 7 Gypsies and make a steampunk mask box with it’s own little tool kit storage area.

Radio and 7Gypsies Tray


Supply List: 

Naturally Aged Fine Wood Paint System

Glimmer Mist Almost Black

Glimmer Mist Bronze

Glimmer Mist Tattered Leather

High Impact Paint Antique Gold

High Impact Paint Bronze

Plain Jane Red Rocks

 Canvas Journal Handles

Chipboard Gears and Shapes From Creative Embellishments

Bits from my collection

Industrial Gears

Dome Studs

Pyramid Studs

Vintage Wooden Clips

Optical Lens

Scroll Stencil

Molding Paste

Heavy Glue

Acrylic Spray Lacquer

Inexpensive craft paint

Spray Primer


 Step one

I had to dismantle the insides of the radio to create a space for the mask, while also enabling the parts to move.  I really wanted the dial and knobs to function.  For this reason, there was less space inside the box, but I think it gives it a more interactive feel.

The back of the box was not meant to be displayed but it’s manufactured wood offered me more irresistible space for an interesting canvas.  Although I liked the original texture it was a bit problematic.  The water soluble Glimmer Mists would soak into the surface.  I could use the High Impact Paints, Glimmer Glam, or Glimmer Glaze but it would take too much of them to cover the large area.

I chose a lightweight spackling from the hardware store to change the surface of the back piece, sanded it down and shaped it when it was dry.  I slapped on cheap craft paint as the first layer to create a better surface to accept and extend my favorite Tattered Angels.

Altered Radio Tattered Angels Project

 One reason I use the Tattered Angels Paints is their marvelous ability to create an aged patina.

Tattered Angels Paints 1

My son likes to say that I buy new things and then make them look old. My core colors for the whole box were from the Tattered Angels Naturally Aged Fine Wood Paint System.  This kit has four distinctive paint mediums which compliment each other perfectly. I used the whole kit for the back of the box and to cover the original outside veneer.  You can see the marvelous effects of this kits layers and blends on the back of the box , where I started with a rough white surface.  I used a spray lacquer several times between the layers of paints, not only to hold the Glimmer Mists still, but to add longevity to the project.

Exterior Altered Radio 3

To make the inside of  back piece thicker I used a single piece of C-Flute Kraft paper from a Canvas Corp Kraft Base Mixed Media Pack and then some more of the spackling. I also used a stencil and some molding paste to create some interesting textures.

You might notice the the strong metal toned effects in different areas of the box.  I can’t resist the warm glow of metallics and added layers of High Impact Antique Gold and Copper everywhere.

All the empty space inside the radio begged for more gears.  I glued a piece from a plastic broken toy onto the bottom of the box, topped with a vintage 7 Gypsies ruby knob.  The knob makes the gears turn to “activate” the box.  I used silver embossing powder on the gears and more Tattered Angels to cover up the white plastic.  This required a lot of layers, and I kept messing with it until I was satisfied.

Interior detail


A shelf for the mask is created from spare cardboard, core-board, and covered with scrap leather finishing the look with 7 Gypsies  Antique Silver Pyramid studs.

Step Two

7 Gypsies small tray

I painted the black tray with lots of layers.   All these coats of High Impact Paint and Glimmer Mist give depth and interest.  I love it so much it was hard to cover up with other elements.  I added the tray to the inside of the the steampunk box door with some good heavy glue, before attaching the door to the back of the box.  I had thought about embellishing the tray before gluing it down.  There is no reason this would not have worked, but I wanted some of the pieces in the box to be removable and had no idea how I to accomplish my vision until I started trying out ideas.  Attaching the tray before embellishing also helped me make sure I could close the door.   This process involved a lot of trial and error.  The Tattered Angles finish on the tray withstood several instances of gluing and ungluing elements.  

Process for altering steampunk box

I used Plain Jane Baseboard in Red Rocks, Glimmer Glam Espresso Bean, Glimmer Mist in Bronze, Almost Black and Tattered Leather in addition to the Naturally Aged Paint System Kit to keep all of the details of my elements from blending too much and becoming the same.  I wanted this to not only look aged, but for the gears to maintain their sense of working moment.

I decorated the outside of the box and the deep insides.  There is  a little working light, along with bright red jewels, and a steampunk skull meant to appear as a mysterious diagram.

Interior Altered Radio 1

Step Three

Keep painting and embellishing until satisfied with the look.

Interior Altered Radio 6

The 7gypsies optical lens is a great additional to all the gears, metals and gadgets.

Interior Altered Radio 4

Collect old springs, gears, metal pieces, watch parts, clock parts…you never know where they might end up.

Interior Altered Radio 8

Use these 7gypsies canvas handles or sew two pieces of 10 ounce canvas together to make your handles.

Steampunk Altered Radio

The Tattered Angles paints will adhere to virtually any surfaces and make them all look like they go together, the blending of pigment and metallic colors gives a great finished look.

Altered Radio Hinge

Interior Altered Radio 9



The mask fits right in around all these great steampunk goodies.Box for Steampunk mask

My son very was satisfied with the outcome with the box.  It was a great challenge for me from start and finish, requiring me to have more patience than I normally have while crafting.  It was a long ways from my scrapbook page days, seriously out of my comfort zone.  But I am so glad I stepped out of my normal area and did something different.  I loved using my Tattered Angels and 7 Gypsy supplies to create something for a young man who definitely thinks it’s cool.   Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone to create something unique?  Have you ever made something with a steampunk theme?

Doc Occulus 2

Grab the handles and on your way…..

Doc Occulus 1So no matter what you style, taste or design specialties, stepping outside of your comfort zone will yield amazing results.  Dana started this journey with a simple request and it has given her a great project that her son has been a part of along the way.  We are not sure if the box or the mask wins the coolest steam punk project ever award, so we are going to say they both won.  We truly hope that Dana is inspired once again to create some new amazingness!!!!  Jump over now and see Part 1 – DIY Steampunk Mask.

Wearing Steampunk Mask 2 by Dapoppins

Happy Creating!!!


Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'Creating A Steampunk Box From A Thrift Store Radio' have 6 comments

  1. October 29, 2015 @ 12:28 pm Kyriakos

    Absolutely amazing!


  2. October 29, 2015 @ 4:20 pm Nancy

    This is one of the coolest projects I’ve ever seen! Wicked good job, Dana! ♡♡♡


  3. October 30, 2015 @ 10:49 am Karen Bearse



  4. October 30, 2015 @ 9:40 pm Vicki Ross

    Dana S! Love seeing your blog post here…of course you know I’m a fan! This project is amazing…


  5. October 31, 2015 @ 12:57 pm Win Dinn

    What a stunning make, Dana…just about foaming at the mouth in delirium here. I’ll bet your son is over the moon with the whole thing – lucky young man!


  6. July 5, 2016 @ 1:16 pm The Creative Studio / Featured Crew Members: Dana Sanchez & Nancy Gaines

    […] treasure.  To see all the details about how Dana created this box check out the blog post – Steampunk Radio Box Dana has also been a great supportive team member on the Creative Crew, leading many Crew Members […]


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.