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.

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

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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.

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

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

P1270083Done and already SOLD, at Stars.

Outdated / updated Folk Art chest

Cute little ‘folk art’ style three drawer chest.  Emphasis on the LITTLE!  It’s more like jewelry box size, but with deeper drawers.

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The images on the drawers are glued on PAPER; and the knobs are STAPLES on!  So, that’s a new ‘issue’ for me to deal with.  I can’t sand off all of the paper without removing the knobs, and those suckers would not BUDGE!  I finally just had to WHACK them off with a rubber mallet; then lift the staples with a screwdriver, then pull then the rest of the way out with pliers.  Whew!

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And this is what the drawer fronts looked like after I sanded off the paper pictures.  I could fill the holes from the staples and drill new holes for the new knobs . . . . OR . . . .    before I did all that I noticed that the BACKS of the drawers were the SAME size as the fronts.  Could the solution to this conundrum possibly be as simple as turning the drawers around?!?!?  NOTHING is ever that easy for me.

But YES!!  It worked!  The innards of the drawers were ‘clean’ but they LOOKED dirty due to a poor staining job; so I added some pretty paper on the bottoms to spiff them up a bit.  Now to search for ‘just the right’ new knobs; which entails digging through 8 plastic show boxes of knobs.

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Doesn’t it look like a face close up like this!?!  hehe  The knobs don’t exactly match; but are similar enough.   The top two have pewter colored centers and are new reproductions.  The bottom is a vintage knob and back plate with a gold finish.

I painted the whole thing aqua (including the BACK!)  and distressed with my orbital sander.  Pretty quick and easy projects once I got the old knobs off!

OUTDATED                                      UPDATED

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Outdated / updated Jewelry chest

Small wood jewelry chests are an item that I am always on the hunt for.  They are fairly quick to make-over (IF you pick & choose carefully!) and usually sell quite well.

P1220303This was a great medium sized one!  I normally see a LOT of the small ‘2 drawer’ kinds and the HUGE ones.  This one is just right.

POP QUIZ:  What’s the FIRST thing you do when you spot an item like this???

P1220305If you answered ‘check the drawers’ you are a TRUE follower of my blog!  Probably 9 out of 10 jewelry boxes that I look at have ‘icky’ drawer innards.  And that cheap velvety fabric (usually bright RED or mustard yellow!) they line the drawers with does NOT come off and is impossible to clean!  I was absolutely delighted to find CLEAN and TURQUOISE drawers in this one.

P1220304The drawer pulls usually don’t come off, so plan for that in your painting options.

P1220314I used a small very stiff brush to paint around and behind the drawer pulls; then my regular paint brush for the rest of it.  Two coats then hand sanded the edges.

P1220317 Usually I’d stencil a design or word on the top of the jewelry box, but, I’ve decided to ‘leave things plain’ for a while and see if they sell better.  If not, I can always add to them later on.

This piece will be making its way to my booth at Stars very soon.

Updated vintage jewelry chest

Here is what it looked like when I bought it at the thrift store; quite FUGLY!

Had one of those FAKE antiquing paint jobs that we thought were SO COOL when they first came out in the 70’s!!  Yes, that undercoat of paint IS orange!  (shudder!)

The OUTSIDES of any wood piece can usually, and easily be re-done.  On jewelry boxes it’s the INSIDES that usually change my mind about buying them.  Those darn fabric innards get so grubby and dirty!  And I am not about to spend HOURS pulling out and then replacing all that fabric!  SO, if the INNARDS are in decent shape, I buy jewelry boxes/chests.

I was so thrilled that the innards were clean that I forgot one of my own cardinal rules!  Be sure the knobs are REMOVABLE!  The felt liner had been glued in place AFTER the knobs had been screwed on.  CURSES!  This baby could very well be headed BACK to the thrift store!  With Michael’s help, we were able to remove the KNOBS, but had to leave the screws in place, to paint AROUND.

So, it took a little extra time to ‘work around’ the protruding screws on the drawers when I was painting and sanding; but it wasn’t TOO bad.  Mostly it just meant that I was STUCK re-using those same knobs and couldn’t change them to something I liked better.  BUT, I could PAINT them if I had to!

The knobs ended up working just fine, as is.

Red and turquoise are actually a pretty good color combination!

This baby will be going to Stars in a week or so.