Altered Art Automaton Music Boxes by Denise Farinsky

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“My latest piece was influenced by the practices of Victorian mourning, Victorian Gothic design and the curious practice of putting things under glass. This link shows an image of a collector of the “real thing”. Though I didn’t study these prior to completing my piece [but found this image after I was done] it still speaks to the images that were in my mind”
The step by step process involves:
  1. Going on Ebay and finding an old music box to restore and transform. It was important that the music box and any automaton worked.
  2. Most often I have to get the mechanics of the music box itself cleaned by a watch maker to be in “like new” condition.
  3.  Sand the old paint off of the old music box.
  4. Paint and undercoat of Gesso paint on all surfaces.
  5. Paint 2 layers of acrylic paint allowing to dry in between coats.
  6.   Measure the sides of the music box and create a template to create illustrations.
  7.    I used watercolor and ink on Bristol board Cut them out with cuticle scissors and then decoupaged them onto the sides of the box.
  8.    I seal the painted and decoupages wood with Glossy Acrylic spray.
  9.   If the music box had a vintage feathered bird, usually it was in disarray. I fix and replace any feathers and dye the bird with silk dye.
  10.   I use all vintage velvet and silk flowers from the 1940s-1950s.
  11.   I also use beautiful ribbon and other vintage/antique detail.
 Click this link to show a more detailed step by step process of making an altered art music box:

Denise Farinsky    

Denise Farinsky


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About Rebecca

Rebecca is a seamstress and crafter who loves to create fun, unique and authentic items for her kids and others. She is a stay-at-home mom with two little ones. She and her husband are sci-fi and fantasy fans with a love for books like the Lord of the Rings and obscure movies like My neighbor Tortoro. Feel free to ask her a question or leave a comment.