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How to Shabby Chic a Jewellery Box

How to Shabby Chic a jewellery box. How it looked before and how it looks now How to Shabby Chic a jewellery box. How it looked before and how it looks now

Want to Turn an Old Fashioned or Unwanted Jewellery Box Into a Shabby Chic 'Masterpiece'? I was amazed to find that some people even with relatively basic craft skills were turning old fashioned and unwanted jewellery boxes into beautiful shabby chic and a modern usable items. So I thought, "I'll have a go at that!" I was surprised how easily they can be transformed. Just like old wooden furniture that can undergo a dramatic transformation into desirable pieces, this is the same thing but on a much smaller scale. So where do you start?

Have You Got an Old Wooden Jewellery Box? I acquired one from a local car boot sale. What to look for - I checked it over to make sure it wasn't broken in any way and the felted interior was clean and in good condition and the hinges and other catches were also in good working order.

Let's Get Started -  The first thing to do is remove any handles or knobs. Then to provide a key for the paint to adhere you need to rub down all the wood with a fine/medium grade sand paper. This is a dusty job so old clothes should be worn. Also ladies, if you don't want your gold rings (or any other hand jewellery for that matter) to be scratched then remove them. Do not sand to the bare wood but just enough to take off all the shine from any existing varnish. It's important to wipe all sanded areas thoroughly as any residue dust from the varnish will discolour and bleed through the paint work.

Next apply the wood primer to all wood surfaces. Any wood primer will be OK. When applying the primer, care should be taken so you don't get it on any felted areas. Take your time and don't rush as this will produce the best results in the end. I use a 1 cm artist painting brush for most areas and a detailed artist brush for the more intricate areas. Leave the primer to fully dry.

jewellery box rubbed down and lightly primed with a white undercoatjewellery box rubbed down and lightly primed full viewThe jewellery box has been given another coat of white primerJewellery box is fully primed after 2 coats

Time to Add Colour - Choose the colour for your jewellery box that will match the interior colour scheme of your room or that will complement your other home decor items. With my jewellery box I chose an antique cream matt emulsion - I applied 2 coats for even coverage making sure each coat dried thoroughly before applying the next.

Add Decoration - I chose decoupage sheets with a vintage flower garden design. A wide variety of decoupage papers are readily available from most craft stores or online. I recommend using Mod Podge all in one glue and varnish, which again is available from craft stores & online. (See more - What is Mod Podge?)

Modge Podge all in one glue and varnish


For the drawers I measured the area I wanted to cover and cut out the decoupage paper to size. To get good results I find that if I apply an initial coat of the Mod Podge to the painted area it seals the paint as it is porous, (leave to dry) so when I further apply the Mod Podge to the area I want to decoupage the decoupage paper sticks better to the area and does not tend to wrinkle so much. Once the decoupage paper is applied it is best to smooth it out gently with a soft dry brush from the middle outwards, be careful not to drag the brush too harshly otherwise the wet decoupage paper will tear.

Allow the decoupage paper to fully dry before applying two further coats of Mod Podge to seal.

Decorating The Lid - Again I sealed the lid with Mod Podge before covering. I cut the decoupage paper 0.5 cm larger than the area and pasted the paper to the lid using the same technique as with the drawers, however I did not paste down the excess paper. Once the paper was dry I gently took some fine grade sand paper and gently rubbed the edges of the paper against the box so the excess paper is removed and cut away cleanly. Now I gave the area 2 coats of decoupage varnish to seal. Seal all other painted surfaces with two coats of Mod Podge to provide a durable & wipeable surface.

 Lid DecoupagedThe jewellerybox now has beautiful floral decoupage paper applied

Jewellery box with the vintage flower garden design decoupage papers applied

The Finishing Touches - Replace any handles and add any other decoration that you desire that personalises the jewellery box for you. To truly shabby chic your new jewellery box you can distress it by lightly rubbing with fine sand paper the areas that would normally get wear like the edges, corners and embossed areas.  You now have a completely transformed jewellery box that you can be proud of!

Why Stop There? If you catch the shabby chic creative bug you will no doubt be looking through car boot sales, charity shops or other places for jewellery boxes, trinket boxes and other items that you can bring back to life with the shabby chic and decoupage treatment. These craft creations make superb and unique gifts for family members or friends, because they are uniquely designed they will be adored and treasured for years to come.

Shop at The Alma Market - I have a number of items for sale that I have personally painted, decorated, styled and crafted. From jewellery boxes, trinket boxes, hanging hearts to candlesticks and wall art, all are unique and have been given loving care and attention. They are limited in number so it's best to buy them quickly.

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