Shabby Chic Jewelry Box/Stash Chest

How’s everyone’s summer going?  I can answer in one word: FAST!  This summer I’ve been trying to expand my territory for where I find Vintage and Antique treasures to list in my Etsy shop Old Raven, as well as, finding those “raw” treasures that will be the springboard for a new altered art project for my shop.

Anytime a new shop with words such as Thrift, Vintage, Antique, Eclectic, Shabby (and the list goes on) opens it’s doors my car practically drives there on its own.  It’s not like I load up in these places but usually, if I look thoroughly, I can find at least one item worth my trip.

Today, I came across this wood jewelry box? organizer? that I knew would be a fun makeover project.  Take a look…


It’s solid wood and well constructed.  The hinges on the doors work well and the overall condition is really nice – it even comes with a white wash look.


There is a makers stamp on the bottom but though I searched the internet I couldn’t find anything about this company/craft co-op.  I love to find the history of such things as it helps me to know just how old an item might actually be (Vintage? Antique?) or just a peek into its past and its original maker – all things I like to include when adding such a project to my shop.


The two doors open easily to expose four drawers with finger pull cutouts.  The drawers slide in and out easily, too.  This piece is great and ready for a face lift.


First off – that slightly bent metal handle has got to go.  Once removed, I fill the holes with wood putty and when it sets – a quick sanding to level out the fill.


And though this handle looked all wrong on this chest I’ll certainly added it to my stash (keeping the original screws with it) because sooner or later that handles going to be just what I need on another project.


Next, I remove the doors because I’ve decided to do a paper collage on this piece and it’s always easier to add paper pieces – and get them square – laying flat.  NOTE:  I also want to cover the sides and by removing the parts of the hinge from the sides but leaving them on the doors I save a bunch of steps and the re-positioning will be easier, too.


Everyone knows I’m a big Tim Holtz fan and this paper pack called “Wallflower” has just the page I’m looking for.


Tim really knows his stuff, huh?  This paper just goes on and on with subtle background stripes, subtle watery pink roses, newsprint, French writing samples, old postal cancellations and copperplate script – all blended with warm ivories and tans.  This color combination can go just about anywhere and thanks to all the script it can still be appropriate for a male or a female.


The arrow marks are so I make sure I’ve got my paper going the right direction BEFORE I glue (yes, I’ve made that mistake more than once).  Now one minute they’re just plain ol’ wood doors…


…and the next they’ve been transformed, that’s what I wanted to see.  Love this paper selection.  But don’t miss the little details that make for a great overall look.


The paper panel on the right has been cut but not given its ‘patina of age’.  I use a sponge and Memories Brown and then just lightly scrape around the edges until you get the look of age that you want.  The left side is done – it’s a big difference when everything comes together.  Oh, and save some money on those sponges.  This is a piece of one of those round sponges.  I always cut them in half and then the halves again so I have four sponges.  They’re much easier to work with at this size and you have a broad surface as well as a pointed end for getting into those smaller places.  I also write the color on my sponges so I don’t mix my inks.


The sides are next.  I just paper right over the screw holes which makes for a cleaner look and no fussy cutting around the hinges.  When it’s time to mount the doors I just set them up where the tops and bottoms are level to the box and using my craft pick I punch holes through the paper where the screws will go using the hinges for the guides.


I’ve got the chest papered all the way around now, even the top.  The doors are back on too.  I did absolutely nothing to the original white wash that was already on this piece and between it and the authentic edge wear to the wood I now have wonderful accents framing that truly lovely paper.

But as pretty as that paper is, we’re not done yet.


I’ve got drawers and drawers of crafting stash.  Tacks are one of those really inexpensive things that you can find a box or jar of at almost every Estate sale, garage sale and second hand store for CHEAP!  Tacks can be plain or quite decorative like furniture tacks for example.  There are colored tacks, rusted tacks, new and old tacks – well, you get my point.  But what can you use those tacks for?  One Halloween I made lovely ornate designs just using tacks on three pumpkins that all the neighbors went crazy over and when the Holiday was over I simply pulled out all tacks to use another day and donated the old pumpkins to the deer and squirrels.  That’s just one idea – I’ve used tacks on many, many projects either as just one or two accent pieces or as the main decor theme like framing an entire box’s edges all around.

For this project though, just a handful will suffice.


I’m also going to use a few pearl-headed pins – another great Estate sale find and I always buy up all that I see.  These pins are as handy as the tacks for adding some accent and flourish.

The tacks I chose were furniture tacks so their shanks were just a bit too long.  Wire cutters made quick work of shortening them up to the right length and the pearl pins got the same treatment.  I used my craft pick once I decided where to place each piece and punched a shallow hole so the tacks and pins would insert easily to start.  Once in a bit, I followed with a rubber headed hammer to tap them on into place.  The rubber keeps the pearls from breaking as you tap them in and from denting or scuffing the metal on the tacks.


I had three different types of the flower tacks – no doubt different makers, just slightly different shapes and size and one had actually lost the metal nail from its center which was great because I was able to replace it with one of the pearl pins.  Random placement of the flowers tacks filled in with more pearl pins and small plain tacks and the left door is done.


Three more tacks on the right and I’m finished!  This project came together so fast I can’t believe it.  I did add a coat of Matte ModPodge so this chest can take a wipe down with a damp cloth with no negative effects to that pretty paper.

This chest is now available in my shop Old Raven on Etsy and if you’re interested you can click on the link below to see more of it and read the listing details by clicking on the link below:


And now for a few “finished” shots of this remake:






Thank you for following along on this project.  I hope you had fun and keep an eye out for doing your own makeover on a second hand store find.  These make great gifts that are inexpensive but the happy recipient will be over joyed with their handmade (with love) treasure!

I didn’t forget – as for Smokey and Bells – it’s too darn hot out for doing much more than laying around inside where there’s air conditioning.








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