I love tools and I love building things. So when I found this vintage Stanley tool box at an antique store closing sale, I snapped it right up.
My first inspiration was to use this hand colored map
with a rusty house cutout. But as I stared at it, I realized that the era was wrong. I needed to make it a bit more modern to match the box label.
Some time after that, I found this vintage game on Etsy
and I knew I was on the right path.
This is my most ambitious assemblage yet because I wanted it to have an interactive aspect to it. But what? My habit of hanging out at Second Use and Earthwise Architectural Salvage provided the answer when I found some tiny hinge pins. An opening door would be fun; and even more exciting would be to build my own hinges. But first, I needed to design the layout of the whole assemblage.
I used the lid of the game “Lucky Town” as my unifying theme with the wonderful words “The Build a Happy Home Game” on the left side and the round image split between the left and right of the box.
Then I gathered rusty tools, nails and game pieces around that.
I was thrilled by the game’s small house parts and decided to use one assembled and one in pieces. The glass shelf came from ReStore and required only that I chisel existing grooves to make it fit.
Next, I looked and looked for an old saw that would fit in the box, but when I couldn’t find one, I let the saw I had be a whimsical addition “outside of the box”.
Then it was time for the interactive part.
I spent one whole day designing and building a tiny door that is weighted shut by a plumb bob, an idea that I got from Brad Rice at The Boatwright. The hinge assembly required dexterity and finesse. Then I added a rusty window pulley and a tiny maritime pulley from Second Wave for the plumb bob mechanism.
Next was the challenge of the box halves being different depths. I needed some way to support the left side. After days of contemplating what I could use that would be both functional and artistic, I hit on the idea of using a vintage level. The one I already had was too dark and refined for the other assemblage ingredients, so I went to Ebay and found a Stanley level with red accents. Perfect! Cutting it in half was a tense moment followed by the angst of placement. I wanted it to hang out to the side to balance the plumb bob. Out came the clamps to try various placements and after viewing from a distance, I found the “just right” location.
Lastly, I wanted to anchor the right side of the box below the circle and it needed to be light because the whole assemblage was quite heavy. Something foundation like seemed appropriate, but not a brick or stones. My light bulb moment was to use an architectural drawing of a foundation plan… an actual blueprint that I found online.