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Sewing box

Sewing box upcycle

As I was raiding a skip for off-cuts, I spotted this sad looking sewing box looking up at me. I’d never worked on one before, and structurally it was in surprisingly good shape so I grabbed it and took it home.

How I upcycled the sewing box

First I took lots of pictures to remind me how everything fit together. And then I took it all apart. This is where I started to see some issues. The hinges were loose, there were missing screws and washers, and there were some small cracks in the wood. I decided to stain the arm pieces in a dark colour, and paint the box light blue to give a nice contrast. You can see here the disassembled box with the first coat of stain applied to the arms.

Sewing box disassembled

Next I worked on the hinges to make sure they were secured properly and moving freely. I then sanded the box down to 220 grit and applied a coat of primer.

At this point I looked at the handles and decided they were a bit too bland. I wanted something with a bit more bling, so I cut them off before painting. After applying 3 coats of paint I replaced the old handles with some nice shiny chrome ones.

Making the feet

After googling sewing boxes I saw that some of the original ones had legs to raise them up off the work surface. I didn’t want to go that far, but I decided to add some wooden feet so that even the bottom of the sewing box would look amazing. And I went with the good stuff, I took a walnut offcut and cut out some small circles with the bandsaw. After sanding and staining I attached each foot with glue and a screw. This is my favourite part of the upcycle because it’s something that wasn’t there originally but it has greatly improved the overall look. It’s also functional because it prevents the painted bottom from constantly rubbing on a work surface.

Assembling the sewing box

This bit was trickier than I expected. I had taken lots of photos at the start, and labelled some of the pieces, but when it came to putting everything back together I was struggling. There were a number of issues, for example the arms didn’t all have holes in the same places so each one had to go back to its original position. And the boxes weren’t perfectly square. I never even considered that could happen, but I’ll be prepared next time! However after some perseverance and some caffeine I figured it out.

And you’ll see in the photo that I bought new screws and washers. I wanted these to really stand out, and also match the new handles, so I’ve saved the original screws for another day.

Sewing box being assembled

The completed sewing box

I really like the way this sewing box turned out. And as it happens my wife liked it even more, so she grabbed it before I could put it up for sale. It’s now proudly on display in my home.

If you’d like to know more about upcycling, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help. Or you can receive our newsletter to get the latest news, updates and projects straight to your inbox.