Project:  Laughter and Joy Santa Box

Created by Amy Boettcher, Helping Artist

Amy Boettcher admits that she’s been an art addict since beginning her business, Something Unique Studios, back in 1985. She has published four books, taught art nationally and internationally, licensed her designs, and sold her hand-crafted art in retail and wholesale markets. Her whimsical folk art style speaks to all ages and cultures.

You can purchase her art at:

For custom orders, contact Amy directly at (309) 645-3913 or

DecoArt supplies

Americana Acrylics

  • DAO3 Buttermilk
  • DAO24 Hi-Lite Flesh
  • DAO52 Avocado
  • DAO63 Burnt Sienna
  • DAO64 Burnt Umber
  • DAO65 Dark Chocolate
  • DAO67 Lamp (Ebony) Black
  • DAO78 Flesh Tone
  • DAO85 Midnite Blue
  • DA128 Deep Burgundy
  • DA162 Antique Mauve
  • DA164 Light Buttermilk
  • DA198 Dried Basil Green
  • DA234 Calypso Blue
  • DA239 Warm White

Glamour Dust Glitter Paint

  • DGD07 Turquoise Sparkle

Dazzling Metallics

  • DA263 Splendid Gold

Sealers / Finishes

  • DS17 Multi Purpose Sealer
  • DS21 DuraClear Satin Varnish

Brushes / Accessories

  • TB31 Traditions Artist Acrylic #4 flat shader
  • TB35 Traditions Artist Acrylic #12 flat shader

Additional supplies


  • 18” large oval band box


  • #1 script liner brush
  • #6 round brush
  • 1” flat wash brush
  • 1” sponge brush
  • 1” rake brush
  • Palette paper
  • Paper towels
  • Fine sanding paper
  • Water container
  • Black graphite paper
  • Tracing paper
  • Stylus
  • Triangular cosmetic sponges
  • 1” blue painter’s tape
  • Tack cloth
  • Fine Sharpie marker
  • Small circle stamps (optional)
  • Brown paper bag (optional)


  1. Sand lightly; wipe with tack cloth.
  2. Use 1” sponge brush to apply one coat of Multi-Purpose Sealer to all sides of band box inside and out. Let dry completely.
  3. Using fine Sharpie marker, trace pattern on transparent paper. Center on project and hold in place with small piece of blue painter’s tape.
  4. Gently slide graphite paper under tracing, making sure pattern stays in line. Retrace pattern checking to make sure graphite paper is dark side down. (I place small piece of tape on top side of graphite to make sure I know which way is up.)



  1. Use 1” sponge brush to paint one transparent coat of Dried Basil Green to bottom and sides of band box. Let dry. (If the color is too uneven, you can add second coat and let dry.)
  2. Using 1” painter’s tape, create vertical 1” stripes by laying tape side by side and then removing every other one. Press firmly in place so there is no leakage.
  3. Using cosmetic sponge, paint in stripes by gently pouncing small amount of Avocado. (I like uneven look so I randomly fill in space starting in center of stripes and work to tape so there is no seepage under tape.) Let dry.
  4. Using 1” wash brush, float Burnt Umber along bottom edge all the way around. (I use “willy-nilly” approach to floating technique on project so it doesn’t look “too perfect”, starting and stopping and overlapping stokes.) Keep it soft and light. You can always go back for second coat. Let dry.

Bottom of bottom

  1. Just for fun, I added polka dots with stamp randomly across bottom in Avocado to add playful detail in contrast to “strict” stripes.


  1. Using 1” sponge brush, basecoat lid top and sides Light Buttermilk. Let dry. Even color with second coat if desired and let dry.
  2. Float Burnt Umber around edges, walking color in towards center of box. Transfer pattern lightly and only as much as you feel you really need.

Santa’s face

  1. Basecoat two coats of Hi-Lite Flesh. Let dry. (You may need to retrace face back on at this point if you like heavy basecoat.)


  1. Wash Warm White and let dry.


  1. Irises are Calypso Blue, float Midnite Blue around edges. Let dry.
  2. Mix equal amounts of Lamp Black and Dark Chocolate and basecoat pupils. Add details to iris with wash of Midnite Blue. Let dry.
  3. Stroke Turquoise Sparkle on iris. On eyeball float under top eye lid with very soft wash of Midnite Blue. Let dry.
  4. Float soft wash of Burnt Umber over that and in corners of eyes (giving them depth and shape). Highlight eyes with soft wash of Warm White on pupil, iris and Warm White eyeball as inspired.


  1. Wash several coats of Antique Mauve letting each dry.
  2. Add lip line with thin wash of Burnt Sienna. Wash Deep Burgundy around edges and through middle. Add soft wash of Burnt Sienna in corners of mouth. Float Burnt Umber between lips and around outside of lips. Float highlight of Light Buttermilk on bottom lip.

Flesh areas

  1. Wash Flesh Tone around face generously leaving center of forehead, nose, and balls of cheeks lighter than rest of face including ears.
  2. Float Antique Mauve in all creases, wrinkles, around edge of face, and across tops of cheeks. Define nose by floating along outside bridge and ball of nose with Antique Mauve. (This will take several soft layers.)
  3. Paint nostrils with thin wash of Burnt Umber. Float Burnt Sienna under cheeks and in ears where darker shadows will be. Add Deep Burgundy to apple of cheeks and to nose.
  4. Float thin wash of Burnt Umber in ears, around eyes, along outside of bridge of nose, and under nose as well as around whole face (to create shadow effect and make areas recede).
  5. Add touch of Hi-Lite Flesh here and there across forehead, eyelids, and bridge and tip of nose to bring those details forward. Define details of face and ear using script liner and very thin coat of Burnt Umber and Dark Chocolate. Enhance eyelashes by adding Dark Chocolate mixed with Lamp Black.


  1. Using large wash brush, “piddy pat” thin washes of Burnt Umber mixed with Midnite Blue anywhere there is hair, including eyebrows. (This undercoat will show through when you paint in hair giving shadows and depth.)
  2. With rake brush and thin paint begin to layer Burnt Umber, Midnite Blue, Buttermilk, and Light Buttermilk, in soft waves for all hair. Let hair on top of Santa’s head fade into background with no defined end and allow Santa’s beard and hair to flow off edge of lid.
  3. Add Warm White with rake brush to all hair, including eyebrows.
  4. Using #1 script liner brush, add fine details of hair wisps in Warm White.


  1. Trace glasses on softly.
  2. Using #6 round brush, wash thin line of Burnt Umber to define glasses. Let dry.
  3. Paint over line with Splendid Gold. Highlight with Light Buttermilk.
  4. Create shadow for glasses on Santa’s face using wash of Burnt Umber.
  5. Shine on Santa’s glasses is Light Buttermilk and then touch of Warm White.

Pine wreath and pine cones

  1. Using #6 round brush, sketch relaxed line of Burnt Umber, Dark Chocolate, and Burnt Sienna wash to define wreath branch.
  2. Add small branches, alternating right and left of line where pine needles will be. Using #1 script liner, double load Avocado tipped in Dried Basil Green to paint pine needles.
  3. Base pine cones Dark Chocolate. Float highlights in Dried Basil Green. Shadow is floated Burnt Umber.

Hair touch-up

  1. Using rake brush and Warm White, stroke in a few hairs to layer over a few pine needles. Use #1 liner brush to add final hair details around wreath.

Lid sides

  1. Trace holly pattern.
  2. Double load #8 flat shader with Avocado tipped with Dried Basil Green. Sketch in leaf shapes quickly. Float Avocado veins.
  3. Outline and paint stem line in Dried Basil Green. Float Burnt Umber around base of some leaves.
  4. Berries are dip dots of Deep Burgundy touched with bit of Warm White. Float Burnt Umber along bottoms of berries and highlight Warm White.
  5. Dip dot touch of Lamp Black on some berries.
  6. Add Dried Basil Green stems.


  1. Trace lettering. Use #1 script liner with thin Deep Burgundy.


  1. Using #1 sponge brush, varnish with two coats of DuraClear Satin Varnish and let dry.
  2. When dry, polish with crumpled piece of brown paper bag for super smooth finish, if desired.

Helpful hints

This is a casual project. Relax!! Painting is done in layers with a light hand. There is no right or wrong, just what you love. If you don’t love it yet, do another coat.

Use largest brush you are comfortable painting with. Use light hand and touch of water to help paint flow and create soft look. (Three light coats will give much softer look than two solid coats.)

The proper way to load a rake brush is to use thinned paint, fill brush full, then touch off excess paint on a paper towel. Practice a couple of times, and you’ll find the magic balance.


Click on any of the patterns below to view them full-size for printing.