Sewing box remodel

I follow a lot of blogs – craft designers, mommy bloggers, and several do-it-yourselfers.  Some DIY bloggers that are my heroes include Ana White, My Repurposed Life, and DIY on the Cheap, among several others I can’t think of right now.  I’m not much of a furniture-make-over / DIY / hardware kind of gal, but this piece inspired a teensy bit of that blood in me one weekend.

sewing box remodel - before

As near as I can find out, this sewing box came from an aunt of an uncle-by-marriage.  In other words, someone of no direct relation to me.  It’s been sitting in the basement collecting dust for several years.   Recently Papa suggested I use it for sewing supplies – as it was intended.  I put it on my to-do list to clean it up one weekend.  Just a simple washing job turned into something much bigger.  The insides of the drawers had been stained PINK if you can believe it.

sewing box remodel - open

Because of the stain, the wood grain was raised and I was worried any fabric or thread placed in there would snag.

sewing box remodel - disassemble

Look at the right-hand side where I removed some of the supports.  You can see deep gouges in the wood.  Ouch!

sewing box remodel - drawer

There was some paint-type residue on one of the upper drawers.  There was a complete mismatch of screws from the original black screws to shiny brass to plain steel – even some missing screws.  And when someone replaced the lid hinge screws with those shiny brass ones, they used bigger screws than the original.  Hence the splitting of the wood.

The more we looked, the more problems we discovered.  It was almost to the point where it would have been best to chuck it.


I’m not a fan of painting wood in most cases, but this was cheap plywood that needed a lot of help.  We felt it could be salvaged by some paint – and a lot of TLC.

The first step was to dismantle the sewing box.  That was the easy part.  It also made it easier to wash out the drawers.  Next came filling in holes and blemishes with wood putty.  It was fortunate that the drawers were square-shaped.  Papa had the great idea of rotating the drawers so that even with the holes filled in, we would have a better surface to work with.  While the putty was drying, he took measurements and marked on the bottoms where the screws and handles would go.

sewing box remodel - painting

Next came sanding and painting.  Here’s Mama in her fine painting setup. 🙂  Because of the rough state of the wood and the dark stain, I knew one coat wouldn’t be enough.  Here’s after one coat:

Aren’t truck hitches the greatest? They come in handy for all sorts of projects!  And it’s already looking better.  That color makes me happy.

But what were we going to do about the top lids that were split because of the mismanagement of screws?  We had an old cabinet panel left over from another project.  It was twice as thick as the original lids, so it would give us plenty of area to screw into.  Papa cut them to size, sanded them and they got painted along with the rest of it.  You can see it ready to paint again in the corner of the picture above.

One weekend, three days (Memorial Day) = all the painting and sanding done.  But then the project stalled for several weeks.  One reason was that Papa went to the store and miscounted how many new screws we needed (we wanted them all to match).  Another trip to the store.  Not long after all the pieces were put back together we discovered a severe design flaw.  Remember those gouges in the side?  They were starting to happen again.  Just putting screws in and then opening and closing the drawers means the screws work themselves out and then start to scrape on the wood.  Another trip back to the hardware store to get some washers and nuts to fix the problem.

But it was all worth it!

sewing box remodel - finished

I love how this turned out!  And not painting the side pieces really makes the piece pop.

sewing box remodel - finished side

You can tell it’s not a quality piece, but that only helps to add the rustic look.

The best part of this whole project was the cost!  The sewing box was free – I received it as part of an inheritance.  The paint is from Glidden in the color Corn Silk.   That was free too; a couple of years ago they were giving away one small can of paint to a limited number of people.  The only cost was the screws, the washers and the gas Papa used to make multiple trips to the hardware store!

sewing box remodel - finished open

Now I just need to load it up with sewing supplies!  Please tell me what you think!

One Reply to “Sewing box remodel”

  1. That is so cute–it almost looks like a bee hive box!

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