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Make Your Own Victorian-Inspired Jewelry Box

This exquisite jewelry box channels the creative Victorians, who carefully decorated their garden grottos with found treasures. Here, painted seashells and plastic insects transform a repurposed suitcase or lunchbox.

Amy Azzarito, excerpted from Past & Present (STC Craft), copyright 2013. Design by Erica Domesek
Victorian-Inspired Jewelry BoxPhotography by Ellen Silverman. Excerpted from Past & Present (STC Craft) by Amy Azzarito. Copyright 2013.

Materials Needed:

  • plastic bugs (we used 6)
  • seashells of varying sizes (we used 44)
  • small suitcase or lunchbox, approximately 8" x 12"
  • adhesive picture-hanging strips
  • gold spray paint
  • Super Glue
  • newspaper

Spray-Paint Box and Embellishments

In a well-ventilated area, cover a flat surface with newspaper. Lay the plastic bugs, shells and case on the newspaper and thoroughly spray with gold spray paint. Once completely dry, turn the items over to spray the other side. Spray-paint the inside of the case as well.

Arrange and Affix Embellishments

Once the paint is dry, lay the bugs and shells out in a design of your choosing on top of your case. Set aside three larger shells for the inside of the case. Once you have created a design you like, apply small amounts of glue to the underside of each bug and shell, and place it back in its spot on the case. Hold it in place for approximately 15 seconds, until secure. Leave the case to dry overnight before moving it.

Create Jewelry Hooks Inside the Box

Once the case is completely dry, attach the three shells you set aside to the inside of the case. To attach the shells, apply a generous amount of Super Glue to the back of each one and position as desired. These will serve as hooks for your jewelry.

Let the entire project dry for a full 24 hours and then hang the box using picture-hanging strips.

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