HOPE Box featuring Rita Barakat Stencil

Hello Creatives! Today Keri shares a hope box she made for a special organization that is dear to her heart.

Hello creatives!

Keri Sallee here and I am so excited to share with you a special project for a special organization!

It’s all About Saving Grace

If you follow me at all on social media or know me in the “real world” you know I have a huge heart for an organization named Saving Grace.

To give you the Reader’s Digest version, Saving Grace is transitional housing for girls ages 18-25 who:

(1) have aged out of foster care with no place to go

(2) are facing homelessness

(3) have home life that is not conducive to a bright future

They offer safety, support and education to girls who have really no one in their corner.

I have had the privilege of working with this organization for about 7 years and this year will be my 4th year being the creative director for their annual Mentor/Mentee retreat.

This year, they asked if I would create boxes for each of the rooms for the girls and their mentors to share notes of encouragement and truth cards with each other through out the weekend.

I thought this was a perfect opportunity to show them some Rita Barakat love!

Here’s what I came up with:

How To

As a base, I used a plain paper mache box from Hobby Lobby, covered in white gesso. Laying down a base of gesso allowed my colors to POP more than they would if I tried painting directly on the kraft-colored paper mache.

If you’ve every read the back of the your Rita stencil packages, you’ll see that she recommends using a mechanical pencil when transferring your stencils. I think this is SUPER important with the intricate nature of Rita’s stencils.

There is no need to spend money on an expensive pencil. I used an inexpensive BIC mechanical pencil to transfer the stencil image to the top of my gessoed box.

Starting with a flesh tone base, i laid down the first layer for my face, being careful to not cover my eyes and lips.

Choosing what hair color to do can be tricky, but I knew the bottom of my box was going to be a lime green. Wanting to have a striking contrast, I chose to make the hair two different shades of aqua.

I LOVE a good bright lip! On my paintings and my own face! LOL

Now I was ready to do my black outlining. However, I had a little difficulty seeing some of my lines. EASY FIX! I just lined up my stencil back over my face and redrew my lines that I couldn’t see.

Here’s my finished face!

Finding HOPE Outside the box

Since this box is meant to be a place for people to exchange hope and encouragement, I wanted to make that idea very prominent.

I chose to write the scripture Psalm 31:24 around the box lid: Be Strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

I hope you enjoined today’s project and would love to know what YOU do to pay it forward with your art.

Until next time,



Rita Barakat is a Mixed Media Artist, Illustrator, Designer and Educator. From wall murals to itty bitty minis you can find her work in various hospitals, corporations, family homes, manufacturer websites and magazines. She designs, teaches workshops and and freelances for a variety of manufacturers. Not anywhere near a local event? Sign up for her newsletter and receive a Top Secret Mixed Media Class in your inbox! 


Written by Rita Barakat - Visit Website

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2 Responses

  1. Keri this is such a cute idea- I could see it used at any number of Girls Camp gathering, craft retreats, or just girly get aways. I love your creativity

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