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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Strip Inside of Box

If the felt was held in place with glue, stripping is necessary to create a clean surface before restaining the wood. First, don chemical-resistant gloves, then pour stripper into a metal pan and use a disposable chip brush to apply a thick coat of the chemical to the glue-covered areas (Image 1). Read manufacturer's instructions to learn how long to let the stripper soften the glue (typically 15 minutes up to one hour) before removing with a metal scraper (Image 2).

Strip Outside of Box

Following the same steps listed above — don protective gloves, brush on stripper, allow stripper to soften finish, then scrape off (Images 1 and 2) — remove existing finish. Tip: Multiple applications of stripper may be necessary to completely remove the existing finish.

Sand, Stain and Apply Polyurethane

To remove any remaining bits of the previous finish and prepare the wood for the new stain, thoroughly sand the box starting with coarse-grit sandpaper then working your way down to medium- then finally fine-grit (Image 1). Using a chip brush, apply wood stain in the direction of the wood grain (Image 2). Allow stain to fully cure, following manufacturer's recommended dry time, then brush on a coat of polyurethane following the wood grain and consistently checking for drips or any lost brush bristles (Image 3).

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