Create a Jewelry and Memory Box from Recycled Cigar Box

Create a Jewelry and Memory Box from Recycled Cigar Box main article image
Posted on April 14, 2021 by Candace Sanders
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Many of us have products we have saved to make recycled projects from instead of throwing them away in the trash. This is a good idea for keeping waste out of the landfills. The other benefit of this project is it is inexpensive to make.  All the materials used here were found in my stash at home. If you are a crafter or a scrapbooker you probably have most of these products in your home also.  A great way to recycle and use up things we already have.

I had a lot of cigar boxes that I received from a friend and I really needed to try to make something from them. My first thought was that they would make nice jewelry boxes or memory boxes to store special momentos and souvenirs. You can sometimes find cigar boxes at yard and garage sales or check your local smoke shop or liquor store as many of them may have boxes they will sell very inexpensively (the ones in my area sell them for $1.00). They may even just give them to you for free.  You could also use a wooden box purchased from your local craft store if you can’t find a cigar box.

Supplies Needed:

  • Cigar box (or wooden box)
  • Scrapbook paper (several coordinating pieces)
  • Acrylic paint and brush (to match paper)
  • Paper cutter (optional)
  • Ruler and pencil
  • Matte finish decoupage medium and sponge brush
  • Wooden knobs (with one flat side to be used as feet)
  • Adhesive
  • Ephemera, flowers, pearls, lace, rhinestones or other embellishments
  • Adhesive-backed felt (or regular felt and fabric adhesive)

The first thing you will need to do is remove any loose pieces of paper or stickers from your cigar box.  It is okay to leave paper on the box but you don’t want any loose edges that might interfere with the paint or may cause the scrapbook paper to come loose later.  Torn edges are okay as long as they are secured to the box.  You can sand the edges to make them smooth if you need to.

Choose the scrapbook papers you will be using to decorate your box.  You can use one paper for everything or pick different papers for sides, top, inside and bottom.   Next select a coordinating color of acrylic paint.  You will need to paint all the edges, inside and out.  Remember to paint the inside corners.  You want to paint anything that may show once the paper has been adhered to the box.  In the photo, black paint was used.  You will probably need to use at least two coats of paint and perhaps more if you are using a light color.  Let paint dry completely before continuing to the next step.  At this point you will also want to paint the knobs you are using for feet on your box.

Measure the top and inside cover of your box.  Measure all the outside sides also. Measure the bottom of the box.  You will want to cut your paper slightly smaller than these measurements (1/16 to 1/8 inch smaller) so the paper does not curl around the edge or to allow for an uneven side.  Cut scrapbook pieces using these measurements.  You can cut using a paper cutter or by drawing on the back of the paper and cutting with scissors.  Test paper on box to check sizing and trim if necessary.

Several different methods were tested for adhering the scrapbook paper to the box.  Since the paint on the box could chip or rub off, this was the method that was preferred because it would protect the paint.  It also helps the paper to stick better and not peel up.   Using a matte decoupage medium, lightly coat the top of the box.  Immediately lay your top paper on the decoupaged surface.  Apply another coat of decoupage on top of paper and smooth to rub out any air bubbles.   Add more medium if necessary.  Brush in one direction only.  Repeat these steps for all sections of the box.  Make sure you coat all edges also.  You may want to let top dry some before doing inside of the lid and bottom of the box.  Allow to dry completely.  Make sure to apply the decoupage medium to the knobs also.

Using an adhesive (Beacon 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue was used here) attach knobs to the bottom of the box.  You can measure the spacing for the knobs or just eyeball it. Try to keep them evenly spaced.  Hot glue would probably work also.  Let adhesive dry then move on to decorating the top of the box.  Torn paper was attached to two corners on this box.  They were adhered with the decoupage medium.  If you decide to attach stickers or other types of paper ephemera, you can use decoupage to attach.  Coat the tops afterwards with the decoupage medium if desired.  Be sure to let it dry again.  Metal embellishments, flowers and pearls where also added to this box.  It is up to you as to how you want to decorate your box.  Different textures add  interest to the box.  The hinges and lock on this cigar box were added to make it look more like a jewelry box but are not necessary.  A few pearls were added to the sides but you can decorate the sides however you wish or not at all.  If you are a decoupage guru you could use torn paper over the whole box, something that I may try later.  It’s all your choice. 

You could use additional scrapbook paper to cover the inside of your box or use felt as shown here.  Again, measure the inside bottom and sides.  Adhesive backed felt has white backing paper.  Use a ruler and pencil to draw your measurements on the backing paper.  Cut out using scissors.  Pull off the backing on the bottom piece and press in place.  Repeat for the sides.  The easiest way to do the sides is to lay the felt face down on the bottom next to the corresponding side (with backing removed).  Fold up onto the side.  If you don’t have adhesive backed felt you can use regular felt.  Just use an adhesive that is made for fabrics so it won’t seep through the felt.

Be as creative as you want with this project.  You may find many other uses for boxes like these.  Keep one on your desk for pens and pencils.  Make them for your kids for storing small toys.  Embellish as little or as much as you want.  Make a special gift.  Every box is unique.  Enjoy!


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Create a Jewelry and Memory Box from Recycled Cigar Box

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