Christmas Crafts, Handmade Holiday Cards & Gifts

Upcycle an Old Cutlery Box Into a New Jewelry Box

Vintage cutlery boxes are a frequent fixture at estate and yard sales — usually in pretty worn condition. With just a little elbow grease, you can refinish and re-line them for a massive upcycled jewelry box.

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Cutlery Box Upcycled Into a Jewelry Box AfterEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-H. Camille Smith

Materials Needed:

  • wooden cutlery box
  • paint stripper
  • chemical-resistant gloves
  • metal paint scraper
  • metal pan
  • pliers
  • screwdriver
  • sandpaper (coarse-, medium- and fine-grits)
  • oil-based wood stain
  • oil-based polyurethane
  • 3 disposible chip brushes
  • spray adhesive
  • scissors
  • fabric or felt for relining box
  • newspaper or dropcloth

Cutlery Box Before

Before: The old cutlery box was a steal at just $9 but the decades-old blond finish and felt-lined interior were in poor condition (Images 1 and 2).

Remove Hardware

Using the correct screwdriver — either flat or Phillips head — remove the original hardware, being careful to keep the screws with the hardware by placing everything together in a plastic bag (Images 1 and 2). Tip: A miniature screwdriver, like those typically used for repairing eyeglasses, may come in handy if your cutlery box still has the original brass plate (Image 3).

Remove Felt Liners

Using a metal paint scraper, pry the felt liner away from the sides of the box then lift out the upper tray (Images 1 and 2). Use pliers to remove the nails or staples securing the cutlery dividers to the top section's bottom which you'll need to save for re-covering in a later step (Image 3). If your box has a bottom drawer, remove its felt liner but don't discard (Image 4).

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