Our jewels help us tell the story of who we are. Right down to our heritage, history, birthday, sense of style, even our marital status. Don’t they deserve to be stored in style? Author and furniture-upcycling expert Barb Blair of Knack Studios stops by to share one of the most beautiful projects we’ve seen in a while, not to mention a very clever use of our our wallpaper! Grab the Mod Podge and an X-Acto knife, and get ready to upgrade that tired old jewelry box of yours!
There is so much talk about organization these days, and many books written on the subject that give us the best tips on purging and living with what we find useful and lovely. How we organize differs for all of us depending on our personal style, but regardless of how you choose to place things, it is always a good idea to have stylish storage pieces. I chose a couple of vintage jewelry boxes and a new unfinished wooden box to create custom storage solutions for jewelry and other small findings that need to be corralled and kept in order.
Be sure to sand and clean each of your boxes to make sure they are ready to apply paint and paper. Tape off any areas that you do not want to get paint on.
Paint the jewelry box completely. I used two coats of paint for mine, and I made sure to paint the backs and underneath parts as well. You don’t have to paint the parts that you are going to paper over, but I did just to give an even porous surface for the paper application. Take the time to paint neatly and intentionally so that you will love your finished piece even more!
When both coats of paint are dry, begin applying paper to the areas that you want papered. I had three different levels of difficulty here with the tiny drawer fronts, the removable panel, and the top inset. Each has its own set of challenges, but the application is the same. So whatever design you choose just have a sharp craft knife, Mod Podge, clean hands, and a squeegee ready to go!
Design featured here is Flight in Color by Artemisisolde
Placement is KEY. So, plan out the design and composition of how you want your paper design to look on the piece. Once you are sure of exactly where you want the placement, trim the paper to size. (leave a tiny bit of excess, you can trim it later) Coat both the surface and the back of the paper with a thin, even coating of matte Mod Podge and apply your paper to the surface. Work from one side to the other and gently smooth out air bubbles with your hands as you go.
When the paper has been applied smoothly by hand, use the plastic squeegee and gently smooth over the entire surface to ensure that the paper is adhered well and that any and all air bubbles are long gone! This step may cause any excess Mod Podge to seep out, so just wipe it with a clean shop towel.
Wait for the paper to dry completely and then apply a coat of Mod Podge to the top surface of the paper. This seals the paper and makes sure that it is adhered really well. Do not worry if bubbles appear at this step! This is just the paper reacting to being wet again and the bubbles will disappear as it dries back down.
When the paper is completely dry, go ahead and trim or sand off any excess paper. For the small drawer fronts I sanded off the edges, but for the insets I used a craft knife to trim off the excess. At this time, do any distressing to the piece as well. I distressed the little chest of drawers, but left the other two pieces without any distressing. Distressing is a personal decision and is totally up to you!
Vacuum off any sanding dust and make sure that your boxes are clean and dust free. Apply the finish of your choice to the entire surface. I chose a water based spray finish, but you can use wax, stain, or brush on poly as well. There is no wrong choice, just use what is easiest for you to apply and what you have on hand! Once your boxes are finished and dry, fill them with all of your favorite treasures and display them on your surface of choice. I always say that half the battle of organization is having a place for everything. This project answers that with not only providing storage, but the satisfaction of creating something fun and beautiful at the same time.
For more projects from the brilliant mind of Barb Blair, check out the board she created for us on Pinterest!
About Our Guest Author
Barb Blair is a mother, wife, artist, published author, and founder of Knack Studios.
What started as a kitchen cabinet makeover, slowly and organically grew into the full blown furniture design business that Knack is today. Barb has created a name for herself through her furniture makeovers with designs that are original, fresh, playful, and full of character.
Barb Blair’s furniture pieces, and a curated selection of gift and home items, can be purchased at the Knack retail shop located in Greenville, SC . Online purchases may be made as well through the Knack online shop.
Be sure to check out Barb’s latest book Furniture Makes the Room!