Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend.
It was a busy week last week for me, between appointments with the accountant getting ready for tax season and parent-teacher interviews. I had so little time to work on my projects so I could share them with you all.
I did manage to work on a couple of things though. One of them was this wooden storage box that I had picked up at Goodwill for $3.99 a while ago. I wasn’t crazy about its orange stained finish, and besides I thought it was a little bit boring. Nothing some molding and paint couldn’t fix.
I made up the tutorial below so you can take a stab at making your own framed storage box, if you like. If you have never cut molding before, it can feel a little intimidating at first. It is actually easier than it seems and it just takes a little practice. I took the plunge a few years ago and decided to try my hand at it. I am so glad that I did as it is a great skill to have.
If you are not a fan of using power tools, molding can easily be cut with a handheld miter saw and plastic miter box. You can cut the molding in your living room or kitchen and after you are finished, with a quick swipe of the vacuum, the little saw dust that was made can be easily cleaned up and you are ready to work on your project.
Without further ado…
For this project you will need:
- wooden box, wooden board, tray etc.
- wooden molding strips (I used 2 4-foot molding pieces)
- handheld miter saw and miter box or electric miter saw
- ruler or tape measure
- tiny finishing nails and hammer
- small nail-set
- wood glue
- wood filler
- primer, paint in the colour(s) of your choice and gesso (optional)
- decorative Chinese wrapping paper (optional)
- image or postcard for center picture frame
- 400 grit sandpaper
- Mod Podge
- paint brushes
- painter’s tape
- tack cloth
I found this decorative molding a Michaels the other day for only 0.99 cents per 4 foot piece of molding. What a great deal! This thin wooden molding has a tendency to warp so it is important to check each piece you buy to try to get the straightest piece possible. It is better to get the straightest piece you can find then you won’t have to fight with it when you attach it to your wooden box.
Cutting the molding to fit the box:
- tape off the areas on your wooden box that you don’t wish to paint and then give the box a light sanding, removing the sanding dust with a tack cloth.
- starting at one end of your piece of molding, move in about an inch and then cut it at a 45 degree angle using your miter saw and miter box. Use sand paper to lightly sand the rough edges.
- carefully measure the longest side of your wooden box. You are now going to transfer this measurement to your cut piece of molding.
- measuring from the pointed end of the molding you just cut, mark down the measurement of your box on the uncut end of your molding with a pencil. Hold this piece up to the side of box you measured to make sure you have the correct measurement.
- place your piece of molding back into the miter box and place your saw at the opposite 45 degree angle. See the photo below for an example. Remember: you want to line up your saw directly over the pencil mark so that the outer edge of your saw will hit your pencil mark.
- cut an identical piece of molding for the other side of the box.
- follow the same procedure above for the shorter sides of the box.
Attaching the molding:
- dry-fit your pieces of molding by assembling them on the box before gluing them to make sure everything fits correctly.
- using a very small drill bit, pre-drill a few holes in the molding (one at each end and one or two in the middle) to help hold it down while the glue dries. Make sure you don’t drill too close to the edge of the molding because it could split when you hammer in the nails in the next step.
- attach the pieces of molding to your box using wood glue. Use your finger to spread the glue evenly across the back of the molding. An thin even layer is best. Square up your molding as best as you can.
- before the glue has a chance to dry, gently pound small finishing nails into your molding and use a nail set to countersink the nails. Wipe away any glue that has oozed out with a damp rag.
- fill your holes and miter joints with wood filler. When the wood filler is dry, lightly sand the holes to smooth out the filler and then remove any dust with your tack cloth.
As you can see below my miter joints are not always perfectly square. Wood filler is your best friend here. Once you have filled in the joints and any other imperfections with wood filler, it is really difficult to tell where these bad spots once were.
Decorating your wooden box:
- prime and paint the box and set it aside to dry. Lightly sand in between coats of paint and primer. Between coats, use your tack cloth to remove any sanding dust.
- to decorate the top of your box you can use a stencil or here I have used a piece of handmade Chinese wrapping paper that I bought from an artist supply store here in town. It was only $3.00 for a large sheet and one small piece of it can be used as a stencil for many projects.
- when applying paint to the stencil use a slightly dry brush and tamp in a up and down motion. When you are done, just peel up the paper or stencil and move on to the next section. No need to wait for the paper to dry.
For my project, I applied the paper stencil all over in multiple layers to give it more of an aged look. If you like, you could use a small paint roller and apply the stencil in a single layer to give it more of a uniform look.
After I stenciled the entire top of the box I came across this little art postcard of a lady from the Renaissance Period and I thought that she would look perfect on top of the box. I Modge Podged the postcard to the top of the box and then I cut some more molding and made a smaller frame to frame the postcard. To give the molding more dimension, I aged the entire box with multiple layers of white gesso, creamy gray paint and medium gray paint.
To finish it off, I sanded the entire box with 400 grit sandpaper, cleaned off the dust with a tack cloth and then coated everything with 2 coats of matte Mod Podge for protection.
The inside of this box is cedar and I haven’t decided if I should paint it or not because I actually don’t mind the smell of cedar. I did cut a piece of scrapbook paper to line the bottom though.
What do you think of my transformed storage box? I think it is a huge improvement, don’t you?
I haven’t decided what I will store in here yet. I think it could be used to store many things such as votive candles, keepsakes or extra stationary.
If you haven’t worked with molding before, I hope you decide to give it a try. I would love to hear about it!
Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this project, I am happy to help. This is a very easy project to do.
In other news, I am also working on a milk painted tiered bathroom cabinet that I hope to post shortly! I am just finishing off the final touches.
Talk to you again soon!
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