Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Gift Box 40 Years Later

Some time back, I bought an ugly-duckling of a box at a thrift store for 98 cents. It was wooden with a hinged lid that looked like it was intended for something like holding stationery and pens. 

Looks like someone had lovingly hand-painted the lid, signed it on the inside, created a nice velvet lining and given it as a gift back in 1972. I began sanding the paint off the lid before I remembered to take photos, so the Chinese letters that had been painted in super thick gold paint are almost gone at the time of this photo session.

Even though I chose to redo this box with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I had to give the lid a pretty deep sanding.  The decorative paint that had been applied back in the '70s, was so thick it had substantial ridges that would have shown through any new paint job.

After I applied a nice coat of ASCP Paris Grey, I used Rosemary's splendid blender pen transfer method to create the wonderful image from The Graphics Fairy. Then I distressed the entire piece. I followed that with a coat of Annie Sloan soft wax and then a light brushing of the dark wax for a more aged look.

In reality, though, it wasn't as simple as all that. When I tried the blender pen transfer the first time, rather than transfer the image, the blender pen simply stripped the paint off the lid. Not to be deterred, however, I painted just the image area with another coat of Paris Grey, let it dry, and added a second coat to that small area. And, believing that the third time was bound to be the charm, I added a third coat for good measure. It worked!

I replaced the red velvet lining with a nice selection of handwritten papers, a couple of which also are from Karen's wonderful collection at The Graphics Fairy. After positioning and repositioning the pieces a few times and finding the arrangement I liked, I attached each with a thin coat of Mod Podge and then gave the entire inside a generous coat of matte finish Mod Podge to seal it.

The hinges were in good shape, but tarnished. Even so, I wanted a more aged look, so added some black acrylic paint with a soft cloth, removed the excess paint and sealed it with a clear spray-on sealer.

As I sit here at my laptop and review the photos of this lovely reclaimed stationery box, I suddenly have an urge to handwrite someone a personal note.

Make it a great day!


  1. I love your reinvention of this sweet box; I bet if Suzy saw it now she'd regret not simply remaking it herself ;) And yes, it begs to hold special stationary for handwritten thank-you's and such ... email is wonderful but there's something magical about a handwritten note. And Keller is a name in my family tree, so I really like the graphic on the front. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Very cute!Thanks for visiting!

  3. What a pretty remake! It reminds me of the little drawers I recently papered and painted.

    Just fun having pretty around and it being functional too!

  4. I love the graphic and the inside of your box. I'd be opening it over and over just to see it again!

  5. What a beautiful keepsake..Don't you wonder who will cherish it in 30 more years?
    Blessings, Becky

  6. Your box came out wonderfully! Love the color you chose and the different papers inside!


  7. I like your box very much, it is great!

  8. What a great rescue! It inspires me to try one myself!


  9. Awesome job on the box, Ann. Love the image you chose, and the interior.

  10. Ann, the stationery box looks beautiful. You did a wonderful job. I have been having so many problems trying to transfer an image on a chalk painted wood piece. I guess I will have to try one more time using this method.


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