Here's an old German 'Jack in the Box' that I bought at an antique shop and completely customized. If you just want to see all the pretty pictures, click the image to go to the gallery. Otherwise, here's a detailed record of my process for this piece: I removed the old 'Jack' and spring, then sanded down the box to remove the glossy clear coat. Then I used thinned down airbrush paint to stain the box a deep red color.
I took thin sheets of steel and hand-cut the card suits, star, decorative border around the opening of the box, and the base for the chains. The metal pieces were sprayed with black enamel paint, then scuffed and scratched up to make them look old and used. I then created a solution of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and table salt as a means to quickly rust the metal. Holes were drilled in the metal pieces and the wooden box so the pieces could be studded in place. I used a little glue to help hold them as well. The chain was dipped and dried multiple times in clear coat to hold it rigid. The hooks in his mouth and the latch were created from pieces of wire.
I sculpted the clown head and arms out of clay. Once hardened, I painted them with various airbrush and acrylic paints. Since you wouldn't be able to see his body, I didn't bother sculpting it. I took a 2" branch from a birch tree I cut down last year and cut it to the exact length. It was glued into place at the bottom and the clown head was staked and glued into the top.
To top it off, I decided to use real ribbon and fabric for his collar, body, and cuffs. The collar and cuffs were a little too clean, so I lightly stained them to look soiled and dingy, but still leaving enough of that shiny clown style showing through.
This was a fun piece to do, and despite the amount of work it took, it was finished faster than anything else I've worked on so far. If you want to see some "behind the scenes" pics before it was completed, take a look at the 'In Progress...' section here.