Behind the Box is a monthly series in which we dive into the previous month’s box and I share my thoughts on process and design of select items, theme etc. I hope these will serve as an inspiring look behind the scenes!
Welcome back to the monthly “Behind the Box” series! Today, let’s take a look at the ‘Fairy Tale Favorites’ themed box from January 2019.
*All photos are my own unless otherwise credited.
Selecting a January title was not an easy thing. January is always a huge release month, and there were so many great January titles to choose from. I read tons of ARCs for January and there were several other wonderful January releases that I thought about building a theme around for the box, but STAIN spoke to my fairy tale heart and the thought of a Fairy Tale Favorites theme was something I couldn’t ignore. I’d been wanting to create a box with that theme for a while, I was just waiting for the perfect book to come across my desk to pair it with. Just a few chapters in, I knew STAIN was that book.
It embodies everything we fairy tale lovers yearn for in a good tale. A strange heroine with even stranger friends, magic that blooms in both light and dark ways, adventures and rescues, and hearts on the cusp of despair but that ultimately persevere against all odds.
A.G. Howard also tips her hat in her acknowledgements to many books and movies that inspired her on the journey of writing this book, many of which happen to be my personal favorites also, like Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride, Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Legend, The Never-Ending Story etc. Enter Julie Andrews in my mind singing “These are a few of my favorite things.”
I knew I was going to have to create a few items on my own for this box because I had a very particular vision for how I wanted it to go and it just would’t have been possible financially to outsource it all (this happens often). I designed the satin sleep mask, enamel pin, key necklace, and fingerless gloves for this box. The other three items were either sourced directly or collaborations. This made for an almost entirely exclusive box!
The Red Riding Hood fingerless knit gloves were quite a difficult project. I actually ended up having to work with two different manufacturers to create the end result because none of the ones I contacted seemed to be able to make both the button with a wolf paw print and the gloves (not unless I wanted to order thousands of pairs, which was not an option). I had a very specific vision for these. One factory said, “just put a paw print sticker on the package,” and I was like NO, it has to be a button sewn on the gloves! I laugh now, but it was stressful trying to get them to understand my vision. In the nick of time I found two different manufacturers that were in the same city – one made the buttons and sent them to the knitting factory who made the gloves in the specific red I envisioned and sewed on the buttons before shipping them to be packed in the Unicorn Crate boxes.
There are a few slight modifications I’d make if I were to ever make these again, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out! And I can totally envision Red wearing them as she walks in the woods to Grandmother’s house.
The fairy tale skeleton key necklace. Ahh, what can I say, I LOVE skeleton keys and I’ve actually been thinking of designing a line of them. I’ve been collecting keys for quite some time and like to sketch whimsical woodland style keys in some of my notebooks… perhaps, I’ll create them under my other brand Wood Nymph.
This one was not entirely my design, but it is very in line with the ones I draw, and I had them made into necklaces for the purpose of this box. They aren’t inspired by a specific fandom, just magical objects from so many different stories!
I searched high and low for artists that have done Princes Bride inspired art because I knew I just had to include a print in this box, and love the tattoo inspired art style by Quyen Dinh. This ‘As You wish’ print is so classic yet done in a different, modern sort of way and it fills me with joy each time I look at it. Seriously one of the best movies (and books!) of all time.
The enamel pin was inspired by a combination of two different Barnes & Noble classics editions of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (one from 2001 and the other from 2015). I personally drew the art using my Surface Book and Pen. I am admittedly a much better artist on pen and paper, but in this case I was going for a whimsical and somewhat abstract cartoonish 2-D turned-flat 3-D object so I think it was to my advantage to be using a medium I wasn’t super comfortable with. I’m very happy with how it turned out (though next time I’m going to ask the manufacturer for rubber clutches on the back as I simply prefer those to the metal ones).
The satin sleep mask! I love a nice comfy sleep mask, especially when I’m trying to get rid of a headache. This one turned out so soft and is padded very nicely. I had fun designing this with a cheeky nod to the classic Sleeping Beauty tale.
Above left photo by @betterwithabookinmyhand
The wall scroll! I really loved the wall scroll in the October 2018 box and had a huge amount of positive feedback on it. So, I chose to create another wall scroll, this time featuring a Beauty and the Beast inspired piece by artist Jessica Gadra. I absolutely love her style and included her ‘unicorns in the sea’ piece as an art print in a previous box last fall.
The artwork on these scrolls is unique because I asked if she could make some exclusive modifications to a piece she’d already done. She added more pops of accent colors, the roses along her gown, and the background parchment color. If you’re interested in more about this artist, check back soon for an artist spotlight post coming your way!
What do you think, do you love wall scrolls? I love how they roll up into a small space / are easy to store. I switch them out depending on my mood and would love to create many more of them for future Unicorn Crate boxes!
Lastly was the unicorn item for this box, the 2 year monthly pocket planner. This is cute and I hope people find it incredibly useful! But honestly I had spent quite a bit of time designing my own weekly unicorn planner for you all and it fell through because the manufacturer told me last minute they wouldn’t be able to ship it on time. That’s just how stuff rolls in this business. Like the notebook sample that cost me more than $100 and then couldn’t be produced after all for February’s box… but, more on that in future “Behind the Box” post! ; )