I saw this jewelry box and had to rescue it. It had nice bones but had not been treated kindly in it’s lifetime. Plus it had a simple shape just perfect for what I wanted to do.
It’s been finished for a while and I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. Looking at the ones I DID take, they could be better. So sorry! With that being said, I’ll try to go over the steps that I took to bring this little box back to a happier time.
This is how it looks after the work that I did on it.
This is what the poor thing looked like when I got it. I’d already taken the handle off of the front drawer on the bottom. It had to be cleaned to get the grime & dust off of it. I took a toothbrush and some window cleaner to all of those little grooves. The window cleaner dries fast so it doesn’t get the wood wet, unless you soak it.
I took the drawer out, and took the top lid off. There’s a mirror on the lid so I taped it off to protect it. I wanted to decoupage some fabric to the box, so I lightly sanded it with some sandpaper. Probably 150 grit, which would give it some “tooth” and get rid of any dings without making it too rough. The flat parts were what I planned on covering in fabric. I decided to paint the decorative trim on the front and the bottom molding with a high gloss lacquer in black. NOTE: You want to paint first, before the decoupage. That way if you get paint somewhere you don’t want it, it won’t be on the fabric. That would be a disaster!
I also took out all of the insides of the box before I painted. It’s just cardboard and foam glued in, so it wasn’t hard to get out. They were looking pretty gnarly, but I wanted to re-use the pieces so I was careful not to destroy them.
I went ahead and did the painting. Not a very technical part. You can brush paint or spray paint, whichever suits your fancy. I brush painted because I only had small parts to cover and I wanted the paint restricted to just those parts without any overspray. Since it was a high gloss lacquer I didn’t need to put a sealer or varnish over it.
While the paint was drying….
I took all of those little foam pieces apart, and the dividers out as well. They were just barely glued on so they popped right off. I had some nice green felt that I glued to the base. I made sure that the felt ended in a place that would be covered and not seen. The dividers were a little more tricky and I just cut the felt to size for each section and covered each one separately. This left a little gap at each cross section, but I fixed that and will go over that part later. The foam pieces weren’t difficult to cover. I didn’t glue the pieces back onto the base just yet. I wanted to be sure that everything would fit once it was back in the box. You know how when you take things apart and put them back together and they don’t go back the same? Yeah, I was trying to avoid that.
So now we come to the fabric part! I chose a flowery print with a big design. I wanted the design to have some flow, like the flowers were cascading over the end of the box. I didn’t want to use something geometric like plaid or dots because I wasn’t sure if I could get it to line up right. A wonky line would be really easy to spot and could be difficult to fix. Modge Podge can dry pretty quickly sometimes and then you’re stuck. Literally. Hahaha!
Anyway…You want to measure & cut your fabric with at least an inch extra all the way around. It’s always better to have too much than too little. You have to account for the part that goes around the backside of the lid, to the mirror. It’s super easy to cut the excess away once you’ve decoupaged it. I thought about adding some foam to the top of the lid to make it soft & puffy and give it an extra texture, but decided against it. Maybe next time.
Once you’ve gotten your fabric measured and cut for each piece, and you’ve laid it out on your box to make sure it’s how you want it, you can start the decoupage. Fabric is much more forgiving and easier to work with than paper. It goes around the corners much easier and I love that. You’ll have extra fabric at the corners so you’ll have to cut the excess away and make the corners as flat as possible. Especially on the lid. You want it to lie flat when it’s closed.
Wrap the fabric down to the inside so that the edges will be covered by the felt insert. I tucked the fabric in where the mirror was so there wouldn’t be a sloppy edge there. I had to use a sharp edge to get it in there because it’s tight. You may notice that I didn’t put fabric on the top edge of the box’s painted part. Doing so would’ve created an unfinished edge at the front so I left it painted.
Man, this is a crummy picture! Sorry! But onward we go. After everything was dry, and tweaked to my satisfaction it was time to reassemble. I put the felt insert back in, with the dividers and foam pieces and glued it to the box. The new felt was better & a little thicker, but with some squishing and encouragement, it all fit. The felt drawer piece was a cinch.
The hinge had a screw hole that was wallowed out i.e. it was too big for the screw now and had to be fixed. So I took some wood glue and a wooden toothpick and filled the hole with both. When it was dry, it was easy to get the screw to hold again.
I used some trim to go around the unfinished edges on the outside. Put the handle back on and glued some little rhinestones to those cross sections mentioned earlier.
And tah dah! The little jewelry box is revived to continue it’s life of holding beautiful things.
I’m excited to do this again with another neglected jewelry box! How about you?