Little Jewelry Chest of Drawers Make-over

ReVamped and upcycled jewelry boxes and chests are always good sellers for me in my booth at the antique mall.  Finding the right pieces to make-over can be a bit of a challenge though.

The first thing I always do is look inside the drawers.  So many of the old jewelry boxes have that cheapo velvet fabric lining the drawers, and it’s usually stained and dirty and impossible to remove.  So I pass if the drawers (innards, as I like to call them!) aren’t clean.

The next thing to check for, if you are going to be repainting or re-covering your piece, is to be sure that the drawer pulls/knobs are removable.  On this piece that I recently made-over, I had already removed the drawer pulls when I remembered that I needed to take pictures!

A time or two in the past, I HAVE bought pieces that I could not remove the knobs from, and just painted the whole thing, knobs and all; but I avoid that as much as possible.  I just sand the paint off the pulls/knobs as much as possible in those instances.


How sweet are the drawer pulls on this piece!?!?


The insides of the insides of the drawers were clean and painted black, which was totally fine.  Except for the fact that I was re-painting the piece an off-white and the contrast was quite stark.  My solution?  Glue some paper to the inside bottom of the drawers.  I used old dictionary pages this time.  In the past, and on full size dressers/chests I have used; pretty wrapping paper, vintage wall paper, vintage sheet music, old road atlas pages . . . really, ANY kind of paper that you can cut to size will work.

I also added some of the same paper to the recessed bottom of the chest, just for fun!  Don’t forget to paint (or paper!) the BACK also.

Before and after.

*This piece has already SOLD in my booth at Stars Antique Mall in Portland, Oregon.

UPCYCLED Little Treasure Chest

Little trunk style jewelry chest I recently found.

Nice clean ‘innards’? Check.  Paper peeling off?  I was probably going to remove it before I painted it anyhow.  Sold!

It was actually a nice finish under the paper.  It was a bit harder to get all that paper off than I’d hoped.  I peeled off whatever would easily come off first; which wasn’t much!  Then I soaked a dishcloth in hot water and laid that over the remaining paper.  After letting that sit for a bit, I used a paint scraper to get ‘most’ of it off.  finally had to use some ‘Goof Off’ to get the last little bits of paper off.  Then a little sanding before repainting.


Aqua paint (of course!) and a bit of sanding to distress.


A section of a pretty paper napkin decoupaged on the top for a little added ‘oomph’.

P1270083Done and already SOLD, at Stars.

Updated vintage cedar boxes

P1240125Forgot to take a ‘before’ picture on this one, but it’s pretty easy to imagine what it originally looked like.


The outside of the lid looked pretty much the same as the inside!  These old cedar boxes are pretty heavily varnished, so a good sanding was necessary before painting.

P1240734Sanded.  Painted.  Sanded again.  Carved wood applique painted and added.  Matte varnish.


And of course, a ‘little something’ inside!


I had this EXACT one when I was little.  Still have it ‘somewhere’ filled with little treasures from my childhood.


Same steps as the first one.  Sanded.  Painted.  Sanded again to distress.


Decided to line the bottom of this one with some pretty scrap book paper.


The hinges and clasp were not removable, so I just painted over them, then sanded away some of the paint afterwards.


After trying out several different embellishments, I settled upon this tiny metal plate that reads ‘live  love  laugh’.  Glued it on with e6000.


If my hands were less arthritic, I would have done more ‘detail sanding’ around the carvings on the lid to enhance them a bit more.  OR you could add an antiquing medium to bring them out more.  I’m TRYING to stick with the ‘less is more’ mantra in my make-overs right now.  Choosing to slow down before life and old age FORCE me to do so.

Tried my hand at some jewelry making

I wanted to try something totally different for birthday gifts for my two best friends this year.  After being friends for 44 years, they are pretty used to getting some ‘experimental’ hand crafted gifts from me.

I decided to dabble with JEWELRY making!  

Every time I go into a craft store, I spend at least half my time there wandering in a daze through the jewelry supply sections!  SO many pretty sparkly and shiney things to look at!  After years of resisting, I finally succumbed and bought some jewelry making supplies!

Here is what I came up with:

P1140118(this was the best I could do for a jewelry model!)

I started with the big oval yellowish pendant.  (you can see it better in the other pictures)  It has a picture of a FROG on the other side!  The two friends for whom I was making these and I collected frogs when we were in high school together; so HOW could I resist?!?!  I chose to face the from picture ‘backwards’, so it would be ‘closer to their heart’; just as their friendship is so close and dear to my heart.

P1140117Then I just looked around for other charms that caught my eye and were meaningful to us.

A clock: because they have always made time for me in their lives.

A key: because of the secrets and scars I keep hidden from everyone but them.

A cross: to remind us of God’s love and grace.

A bird and a cage: because we truly are ‘birds of a feather’.


I chose to TIE some of the charms on with thin satin ribbon (just to be different!) instead of use jump rings.

P1140112The clock and the cross charms are different styles on each necklace because I bought the charms in sets that had a variety of charms.

Will I make more jewelry?  Maybe.  I did manage to acquire a ‘few’ more jewelry components that I needed to make these 2 necklaces . . . so I will have to figure out a way to use the leftovers.


Maybe as embellishments like this on vintage keys?  (saw that idea on Pinterest)


I always have something that I can use KEYS on!

Those projects ought to have me all warmed up for the next REALLY BIG BLING PROJECT!


Using this stuff!  (that is a 1/2 gallon jar FULL of vintage bling!)


I really don’t ‘look for’ jewelry stuff.  But for some reason this treasure trove on vintage finery caught my eye at Stars one day last June as I was leaving after working on my booth.  It just happened to be a short time after my son announced his engagement.  It was a good price.  Better price with my dealer discount, so I bought it.

P1140853Just LOOK how much amazing old jewelry I have to work with?!?!?

So, what am I going to DO with it??   I want to make a wedding bouquet for Megan for my son and her wedding!  Have you SEEN the amazing  ‘vintage brooch bouquets’ on Pinterest  made from old jewelry like this?  You MUST go look!

Some of them are ‘a bit much’.  I want the one I make to be ‘elegant and understated’.  I am going to use gold and silver combined.  NO fake fabric flowers mixed in.  And I found a few new charms to tuck in here and there that will have sentimental value.  (an Eiffel tower for their trip to Paris.  A castle for the proposal which took place in a 500 year old castle in Istanbul.  A duck, for the Oregon Ducks, her Alma mater.  A starfish for her parents beach house where they had their engagement photos taken.  Both of their initials.  You get the idea)

I HOPE she will like it and want to carry it for her bridal bouquet.  BUT, I know it’s possible that she always dreamed of carrying a big flower bouquet on her wedding day.  In which case, I will be content for her to have it simply as a special gift and remembrance of their wedding day.