Chances are good you have an old, perhaps even vintage, wooden jewelry box lying around collecting dust. Giving a jewelry box some DIY love with paint can give it a quick makeover you’ll be proud to display.
So, how do you paint a jewelry box?
To paint a jewelry box, you must first take off existing hardware. Then use spray paint, chalk paint, or other furniture appropriate paint, getting in all of the nooks and crannies. Spray paint is the fastest method and can provide a nice, even finish.
Although there are many ways to paint a jewelry box, I will show you some fast and easy jewelry box decorating ideas that will transform your keepsake into something more modern.
I’m a big fan of using products I have on hand. If you are a DIY person such as myself, you might just have some left over paint you could use. I had a sample of Behr Bluebird PPU15-12 as well as a can of yellow high gloss spray paint that I’d been wanting to try.
I tend to stick with neutral paint for walls and major pieces of furniture in my home. So, going with a more bold color choice with these jewelry boxes seemed like a great way to be more daring, adding a bit of color to my bedroom.
How to Paint a Jewelry Box
As I mentioned before, there are lots of options for giving your wooden jewelry box a makeover. Paints that would work well include: chalk paint, spray paint, latex paint, trim paint, acrylic paint.
As with any painting project, the prep work (I’ll fill you in on everything you need to do) is one of the most important steps! Let’s dive into our project.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means should you make a purchase after clicking through one of my links, I might make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Gather Your Supplies:
- Jewelry box
- All purpose cleaner
- Paint of choice (I selected spray paint in high gloss and sample can of latex paint in eggshell)
- Paint brush and small paint roller
- Small screwdriver to remove tiny hardware
- Drop cloth
- Painter’s tape
- Contact paper if lining drawers
Clean the Jewelry Box
My boxes were really dirty as they weren’t being used. One of these I’d had since I was a kid and the other I purchased for a few dollars at an estate sale. If you are on the search for an old jewelry box, garage or estate sales are a great place to look!
To clean the boxes, you will need to wipe all of the dirt and dust away. Use an all purpose spray to give it a little extra cleaning, especially is there is any kind of oily residue on the surface.
IF there is, it must be removed as it will likely bleed through your paint. Be sure to clean all of the little crevices. There are a lot in these tiny pieces of furniture.
Don’t forget to clean the inside of the jewelry box, too. Vacuum it out really well and use a slightly damp rag to wipe it thoroughly. If you bought it at a garage or estate sale, I would recommend disinfecting it, too.
Take off Existing Hardware
It’s a lot easier to work with the drawers when there is no hardware in the way. Using a small precision screwdriver;makes it easy to take off all of the tiny drawer pulls and knobs.
If you want to paint your hardware while it’s off, this will make it fast and easy! More on that in a later step.
All of my hardware was the same on each of the drawers, so there was no need to mark which drawer it belonged to. BUT, if you have any variance in hardware, you will want to keep track of where to put it back on when your project is complete.
I was careful to keep the handles/hardware from each jewelry box together.
You’ll notice that I did not remove all of the hardware on the jewelry box I painted yellow. These were attached with small nails vs. the screws. I opted to just leave them on and perhaps I’ll try to just paint that hardware by hand using chalk paint at a later time.
I’m fast-forwarding a bit by showing you the below picture of the yellow jewelry box. But, this gives you an ideas of what it looks like when you do not remove hardware.
Sand the Surface
If you are using chalk paint or a paint with primer, you can possibly skip this step. BUT, I find that sanding helps prepare the surface to take paint even if the instructions for that given paint don’t call for it.
Use a fine grit sanding block all over the surface you will be painting. The goal is not to remove the stain, simply just to rough it up a bit.
After you have finished sanding, be sure to wipe away all of the dust. You might even need to vacuum in the cracks to get it ready for paint.
Tape Off Areas Where You Do Not Want Paint
Prepping an area or piece of furniture prior to painting is one of my least favorite things to do. But after painting TONS of rooms and furniture, I have found it can make all of the difference with the end results.
If you are taking the time to refurbish something, just go ahead and do this extra step. You’ll be glad you did.
Make sure your tape overlaps slightly if you are painting the face of the drawers and trying to avoid the inside.
Tape any areas you do NOT want paint.
In the case of these jewelry boxes, this meant inside the drawers. My plan was to add contact paper as liner that you could see when you open the drawers.
Prime the Wood Surface on the Jewelry Box Where You Will be Painting
As I mentioned earlier, many types of paint do not “require” primer”. But, it has been my experience that even excellent quality chalk paint will allow bleed through with certain stain.
Due to this, I take the extra step to add a quick coat or two of primer prior to the actual paint. It doesn’t take long and can really save you some time in the long run.
Apply primer prior to any paint option you select.
Paint the Wooden Jewelry Box
I used two different methods as I had two different types of paint on hand.
Ensure you are spraying in a well ventilated area.
The first method I used was a high gloss spray paint with built in primer. It was a bit too humid the day I completed this project so the finish ended up being a little tacky. Follow the directions regarding paint conditions listed on the back of the paint can, including level of humidity in your painting environment.
I can tell you from experience, humidity level makes a difference! BUT, in good weather conditions, spray paint is probably your best option. It is fast and it allows you to paint in awkward to reach locations.
You will likely need three (or more) light coats of spray paint for full coverage.
If you aren’t familiar with painting with spray paint, there are a few key tips you need to use to ensure a consistent finish.
- Paint in well ventilated space using mask as recommended.
- Shake the can well.
- Apply thin, even coats.
- Allow adequate dry time specified in directions on can between coats.
- Use slow, even motion for painting, starting and finishing spray off of jewelry box.
More tips for spray painting can be found on my post where I share all about spray painting our outdoor furniture.
I was a bit uncertain about using the sample latex paint for my jewelry box. But, with adequate priming, I know it would hold up well.
Apply the paint with a small brush to cover, then follow up with a roller for a smoother, more even finish.
This was actually easier than I anticipated. With Behr Blue Bird, I only needed one full coat and a bit of touch up paint.
No top coat needed with latex paint unless you feel it will be getting VERY heavy use.
Although I didn’t use it, chalk paint would also be a great option for painting a wooden jewelry box. I find it typically takes a few coats to get a full coverage. But, the positive is that is dries super fast between coats.
Should you use a chalk paint, you will definitely need a top coat. Polyurethane is the most durable, but I would likely opt for Polycrylic in the finish of your choice.
If you aren’t sure what finish to choose, satin is a nice finish. Not too glossy, not too matte. But, know it’s personal preference. I actually tend to prefer matte.
Line the Drawers
This step is optional and may depend on the quality of the interior of your drawers. I wanted to see a fun contact paper liner on the drawers each time they were opened.
So, I only added this pretty faux-marble contact paper liner to the portions of the drawers you would see when opened.
The process of adding contact paper to the drawers is simple:
- Measure the size of the drawer.
- Cut the contact paper to fit; note there are lines to help with measurements on the back of the paper.
- Remove backing from liner.
- Apply directly onto drawer.
- Use a card as needed to smooth out any bubbles.
Because the drawer space you are working with is so small, it is actually very simple to ensure the liner is smooth.
This just adds a bit of “extra” to the finished product.
Spray Paint the Hardware
Do this fairly early on in the project to allow plenty of dry time. As a matter of fact, it would be best to leave the hardware to dry overnight prior to putting them back onto your jewelry box. A lot of handling takes place with the reassembly of the hardware and you don’t want to mess up the finish.
I opted for a black spray paint that is primer+spray paint, so I did not prime first.
A super fast way to paint all of this tiny hardware is by pushing the screws into an egg carton. This holds them into place so you don’t lose them, plus it saves on the amount of paint needed.
Two to three light coats of spray paint are needed for full coverage.
Just as mentioned above, use the same tips/principles to ensure a good finish. To recap: paint in well ventilated space, shake the can well, apply thin/even coats, allow proper dry time between coats, use even motion when painting starting and finishing spray off of hardware.
Reattach Hardware to Jewelry Box
Grab your precision screwdriver and reassemble the hardware on your pretty new jewelry boxes.
Use a little caution with the screws. I accidentally chipped some of the paint when screwing them in. If I am too bothered with it, I can always go back and touch up with black chalk paint (I’m not terribly bothered by it;-)
“After” images of finished painted jewelry boxes:
I hope you found some inspiration to give your old, dusty jewelry box a new life!
Take a moment to pin this for later!