As much as we adore our near ones and dear ones, sometimes the people we love give us things that are not to our taste, and by “not to our taste,” I mean hideous, awful things we wouldn’t display in a syphilis-ridden bordello.  Of course we say thank you anyway, and basic courtesy dictates that we showcase our gifts when the gift givers come over, which is why it can be handy to have rotating display space somewhere in the house.  This week, I’ll demonstrate how to take an old jewelry box and upcycle it into a rotating display cabinet for genuine treasures, which can be quickly swapped out for the duds when the doorbell rings.  Because it is possible to preserve both good taste and good manners, I swear.

There is only one requirement for the jewelry box you will upcycle in this project: It must have an insert in the lid.  In almost every Goodwill I have visited in the past six months, I have run across this same incredibly dated jewelry box with a padded, embroidered insert:



If you can find one like this, fantastic; if not, an insert that is “wood” or mirrored glass will work, too.


  • Old jewelry box with an insert in the lid
  • Gel medium or other glue
  • Scrapbooking papers, pages from an old book, or other decorative materials
  • Craft paint and a brush
  • Sand paper
  • Drill
  • Drawer pull
  • Picture hanging hook or wire


1.  Remove the insert from the lid by simply pushing it out.  It’s mildly disturbing how easy it is to do this.  (Insert speech about craftsmanship, the good old days, and candy bars that cost a nickel.)



Practice your OCD skills by pulling out any remaining threads or glue until everything is tidy.


2.  Remove the inserts designed to hold the jewelry.



Once the inside is empty, be sure to clean / scrape out any remaining glue or bits of cardboard.


3.  Measure the inside of the box (or the insert you removed) and cut scrapbooking papers, book pages, maps, or other materials to fit inside it.    Tip:  When it comes to materials, choose lighter rather than darker colors so that your treasure won’t be hidden in shadows.


4.  Lightly sand the lid of your box, then wipe clean.  Paint or decorate the lid as desired.  I applied two coats of red craft paint with an outline of orange, but I kept the look very minimal to put the emphasis on my display.



5.  Drill a hole in the lid and screw the drawer knob into place.



6.  Apply your picture-hanging hardware to the back and hang that baby up!





Looking for a true treasure to put somewhere in your house?  Be sure to check out our shop!



Ann D'Angelo is a dedicated drinker of diet Coke who has never spotted a thrift store she didn't want to visit or an item she didn't want to alter. Check out Ann's shop.


Marie Davis Brian · August 3, 2012 at 10:57 am

Lurv it!

    AnnDAngelo · August 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Thanks, Marie! I'm so glad! 🙂

Rhonda Anderson · August 3, 2012 at 11:09 am

That's so awesome!

@lillipadstudio · August 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

She's crafty, she gets around,
She's crafty and she's just my type,
She's crafty!

LOVE this, gonna DO this! My dollies need habitats!

Diamond Buyers · December 10, 2016 at 6:23 am

I too have my tragus peirced I wear the same jewelry as u usually but sometimes I pit a small CZ stud in it. it looks really cute when my other ear piercings have the same thing in em. It doesn't poke you in the ear when u sleep on it either

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