Hand decorated jewellery boxes

I mentioned back in November last year that I had a new jewellery box design. Well, since I was making up a new batch of boxes recently, I thought I’d share how I do it! It’s very satisfying to turn a plain box into something nice and pretty :)

paint stamped and ribbon gift box

If you want to decorate a box to look like this, you will need:

  • Plain box
  • Pencil with an eraser on the end (to stamp round dots with)
  • Craft knife
  • Acrylic paint
  • Felt
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Lighter (optional)
  • Sewing needle and thread in a similar colour to your ribbon
  • Glue

I order my boxes from this Etsy shop. They come flat packed and you have to fold them up yourself, which isn’t hard. Plus, it’s actually easier to decorate them flat!

I’ve got a thing about polka dots at the moment, so the first step is to put dots all over the lid! I wanted to stamp white dots but I haven’t found a good opaque white ink pad, so instead I use acrylic paint.

First, you need to slice the end off the pencil eraser. I used a craft knife to do this but any sharp knife will work fine. If you don’t do this, the edges of your dots will be less well defined because there is a slight curved edge at the end of the eraser.

slice off the end of a pencil eraser to stamp round dots

Next, you want to stamp your dots. A great way to avoid getting too much paint on your eraser is to place a piece of felt over your paint and press on it until it has soaked up the paint. Then simply press your eraser onto the felt, like you would an inkpad, and stamp your dots onto your box! (I saw this tip on Pinterest, from this tutorial, so handy!)

stamping with paint using a felt pad

I found I needed to re-paint my eraser every 2-3 dots to get nice even dots each time.

stamping polka dots with acrylic paint

Keep going until you have covered the whole external surface of your lid (you might need to work which bits to paint if you’re decorating your lid while it’s flat).

stamped polka dots

When the paint has dried (which shouldn’t take long, since you will have a nice thin layer of paint on each dot), make up your box into its final 3D shape.

paint stamped polka dot gift box

Now it is time to make the bow. You will need 3 pieces of ribbon: one to attach to the box, one to make the loops of the bow, and one to wrap around the middle.

To find out how long your first piece of ribbon needs to be, place one end of your ribbon on one of the inside edges of the lid.

ribbon placement

Keep it in place with one finger and run the ribbon around the outside of the box and under the opposite inside edge.

ribbon round the centre of the lid

Mark where the end of the ribbon meets the inside edge, and cut the ribbon here. My lid measures 3.5″ square and 1 1/8″ high, and my ribbon length is 7 7/8″. It doesn’t matter too much if the length is not very accurate since it can be trimmed at the end if it is too long, and if it is a little bit short, it will be inside the box so it won’t be seen.

measuring the length of the ribbon

For the second piece of ribbon, make a ribbon loop so that there is a small overlap at the end.

making a ribbon box loop

Then pinch the middle together. This will show you how big the bow will be. I wanted my bow to cover most of the box, and I found that a 6¼” length of ribbon worked quite well for this.

pinch ribbon loop to make a bow

Your final piece of ribbon needs to be a little over 3 times the width of your ribbon. My ribbon is 10mm wide, and my final piece is 1¼” long.

Optional step: you can seal the ends of your ribbon pieces using a lighter. This stops the ribbon fraying, which I don’t think should be an issue, but it does cut out the possibility.

To make up your bow, you need to first find the centre of your longest piece of ribbon. You can either measure and make a mark, or just fold it and put your finger on it. Now loop your second piece of ribbon and pinch like you did before, and place the pinched part over the centre of your first piece of ribbon. Then wrap the shortest piece of ribbon round the place that you are pinching so that the ends are underneath. Sew a few tiny stitches on the same spot to secure the three pieces of ribbon together.

simple ribbon bow

Now you want to attach your bow to your box. To do this, make a line of glue running along the middle of the box where you want your ribbon to be (in the same place that you wrapped your first ribbon round to see how long it needed to be). I prefer to use tape glue (no mess, no drying time!) but you could use any glue for this, such as white glue.

Now stick your ribbon on. I usually start with the bow, to make sure it’s central and then smooth the ribbon down either side and under the edges of the lid. And there, you are done!

hand decorated jewellery box

Have I inspired you to have a go at decorating some boxes yourself? They would make great gift boxes for other things as well as jewellery boxes. And there are so many ways you to decorate, such as painting patterns, sticking on sequins or using washi tape! Do let me know if you have a go!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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