Elegant black and white trinket box

By ADA DALY [email protected]

Ada moved to Portugal over a month ago, together with 60 large boxes overflowing with crafts materials and not much else! She had been crafting most of her life and as well as running her own successful crafts business, worked for many years for Europe’s largest art and craft distributor and alongside many of the UK’s top craft magazines.

This month I am going to show you how you can very quickly and easily transform a small MDF wooden chest into a pretty trinket box, either to keep your own ‘treasures’ in, store your smaller jewellery pieces, or perhaps make as a gift to give away to someone special. These MDF boxes are readily available to buy, in many different sizes and shapes, in Chinese and art shops throughout the Algarve.  

For my box, I used a floral paper in black and white. When cutting out the template for the outer lid, I deliberately positioned it over a larger flower so that I could use this as a centre piece for the top. The glued on beads then give added dimension. (Fig. 1)

You will need:

1 MDF box

12cm x 12cm sheet of decorative floral paper

1 sheet A4 card (used to cut the templates with)

Black acrylic paint

Paint brush – soft

Fine sandpaper

Fabric tape measure

Silver/Black seed beads

Decoupage coat (all in one glue and varnish)

Sharp craft knife, small screwdriver

Pokey tool, scissors, tweezers, ruler, pencil

How to:  

– Unscrew all the hinges and clasps from the box.  

– Using fine sandpaper gently sand the box all over to remove any rough edges.

– Paint the whole box with black acrylic paint (at least three coats), allowing to dry well between each coat and sanding down each time to smooth away any remaining rough surfaces

– Using the soft tape measure, measure all the outer, inner and side dimensions of the box.

– Transfer and draw out these measurements to the A4 card with a pencil.  These shapes are your templates to help cut perfect shapes to fit your box.  Don’t cut these out yet.

– Then mark a 2cm border around each shape in pencil.  This will then be your final cutting line.

– Once you are happy that your templates are completely even and square then cut them out using a sharp craft knife.

– Transfer these shapes onto your black and white paper and cut them out.

– Using the decoupage glue, glue these shapes neatly onto the relevant parts of your box making sure you centre each piece and at the same time pushing out any air bubbles that might remain under the paper.

– When gluing the shapes on where you have holes for hinges and clasps, use your ‘pokey tool’ to push a hole through the paper into the screw holes.  Leave to dry completely.

– Paint the box with three more coats of decoupage glue and allow to dry thoroughly after each coat.

– Give the hinges and clasps a good polish up, with silver polish, before gently re-screwing back onto the box.

– Using the decoupage glue and tweezers, glue little piles of black and silver shiny seed beads to the petals of the flower on the outer lid to give added dimension.

A few useful hints and tips to help you along the way:

– Use different papers to cover these little boxes. Silver, gold or glitter papers, embossed paper, Christmas papers etc.  Each box will look completely different.

– After painting, decorate with ribbons, beads and fine chains or mosaics and  stones instead

– Cover boxes with fabric pieces instead and line with velvet for a really plush look

– Try using different paint effects for the surface, stipple the paint on with a cloth, or sponge with a small piece of sponge

– For a more distressed antique look,  after painting,  lightly sand the edges down to the wood again

– Use metal paints in other colours to re-paint the hinges and clasps to match

– Keep your box templates – you never know, you may want to use them again and again!

If you would like to join the Algarve Crafts Association, and meet more like minded crafters, for monthly crafty get-togethers and workshops,  please contact Ada on 910 216 698 or email  [email protected]