Tarot Keep Tutorial

After seeing a hand painted tarot keep box on-line I decided to save myself $50 and make one myself using my own set of cards as the inspiration!

I bought The Hanson-Roberts tarot deck in 1991 and have treasured them ever since. They are visually beautiful with rich colors and engaging designs.

The card I chose for my tarot keep box was the Queen of Cups. Each tarot card represents a particular set of feelings or people. The aspects of the Queen of Cups that really appealed to me were:

warm-hearted and fair

good friend and mother

devoted, practical, honest

loving intelligence

I sketched out the design of the card on the lid of the wooden box.

Then I outlined the design with a fine point black Sharpie.

I coated the face and the hands with clear gloss varnish which darkened the wood slightly to mimic a flesh tone.

I painted in the base colors I had chosen. I used enamel acrylic based paints but standard acrylic in fine as well. The enamel paint leaves a nice texture since it holds the brush strokes so well. After they dried I lightly added some highlights and lowlights to the hair and clothing to give them depth.

Next go over portions of the design outline with the black fine line Sharpie to make parts of the design “pop”. Do this only after all paint is completely dry (if you don’t you’ll get paint on your marker and you won’t be “writing out loud”; you’ll be buying a new Sharpie!)

Adding a coat of clear gloss varnish over the design (and slightly over the edges to make the design stand out more) will allow you to stain the rest of the box without darkening the paint. I put two coats of varnish over the painted portion and let dry completely before staining the rest of the box with a walnut tone.

Here is the completed box lid. I wish I hadn’t extended the varnish so far out from the design. I think about half that amount would have been better. Live and learn. Once the coat of stain dried I topped it off with two additional coats of gloss varnish over the entire box (sanding with a fine grit paper between coats). I lined the box with a silk scarf I’ve used to wrap my cards in for the past 19 years. My cards now have a happy and safe place to reside inside of being tied in the scarf and chucked in the drawer!

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One thought on “Tarot Keep Tutorial

  1. This problem will not occur when using a solvent base top coat over a water based stain or vice versa. Top Base Coats

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