Photo transfers onto wood: a vintage sewing storage box makeover

Good afternoon! It’s almost time for the weekend, and that makes me so happy!


{{{this is me doing my happy dance!}}}


Let me start things off by showing you my latest project.




I found this little vintage accordian-style sewing storage box at Goodwill a while back for only $7.99. It was in really good shape structurally; I just wasn’t in love with its golden-stained 1970′s finish. I knew that a couple of coats of paint and a couple of embellishments could breathe some new life into it.

Don’t you think it looks a little sad in the before photo above? Just look at the big white splotch on the top left and all of the dust on the top. Oh my! That should give you a clue as to how long it was in my basement. It really was time for it to be made over!




Here is what it looks like now after its makeover.

Much better, don’t you think?

I am really in love with it now!




First, I have to apologize for the dark photos that I am sharing with you. It has been very gloomy here (raining/snowing and really cold) for the past few days so not the greatest conditions for taking nice photos. Maybe once the sun decides to shine again, I can replace these photos with some better ones. C’est la vie! (Such is life!) I guess I was mistaken once again; Spring is apparently not on its way…yet!




Now for the nitty gritty details. I started by giving my storage box two coats of Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray latex paint mixed 50/50 with white gesso. I then gave it an all-over wash with a medium gray craft paint again mixed 50/50 with gesso. After everything was dry, I mixed up some Sharkey Gray paint, some cream craft paint and some gesso in equal portions and applied it to the entire box using a dry brushing technique.




I did not need to prime this piece, nor did I sand it. The gesso/latex paint mixture sticks to the original finish really well. Adding gesso to your paint also gives whatever you are painting a gorgeous chalky finish and it sands out really nicely with fine-grit sandpaper.



For the top of my wooden storage box, I transferred two identical copies of a French Ephemera graphic that I found on The Graphic’s Fairy’s blog here.

You can find my tutorial on how to transfer photos by clicking on the photo at the bottom of my post.




Isn’t this a gorgeous graphic? It has so much detail and I really like how crisp and clear it transferred!

The wonderful thing about transferring the photo/image to the wood instead of just decoupaging it on is that your transferred image will take on the background of what it is being transferred to. It ends up looking as if it was printed directly on the wood or it was handpainted on. Very cool!




To add a bit of interest to the sides of my storage box, I added a raised stencilled in a damask design. I then glazed over top of it with a coat of watered down medium gray craft paint.  Finally, I coated my storage box with two coats of Modge Podge Matte to protect it and also to bring out the details of my transferred images.

In case you are interested, I will be sharing a tutorial on how to make a raised stencilled design soon!  Please subscribe at the end of this post or on my homepage to receive an update in your e-mail inbox!




In this photo you can see more clearly the layers of paint that I added to this piece giving it an overall weathered effect.




I have yet to fill up my little storage box but I am sure it will give me a lot of space for the majority of my sewing supplies. The rest of my supplies will be going into my main sewing cabinet. I hope to share its transformation with you early next week.

So, what do you think of my little storage box makeover? Please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!





Transferring Photos to Canvas {How To}

Transfer Photos to Canvas {How To}



My Favorite Products:

Acrylic Medium Golden Soft Gel Gloss 8oz

Sargent Art 22-8803 32-Ounce Extra Thick Gesso

Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish

3M Wetordry 9085NA Sandpaper, 9-Inch x 11-Inch, 5-Sheet,Super Fine 400-Grit

3M 10132NA Tack Cloth



 Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Finding Fabulous – Frugalicious Friday ~ It’s a Hodgepodge Life – It’s a Hodgepodge Friday ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt it Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ The French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ The Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Tatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrapup Party ~ Somewhat Simple – Blog Link Party ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Days of Chalk and Chocolate – Latest Greatest Friday ~ Homemaker in Heels – Weekend Craft Soiree ~ Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ Under the Table and Dreaming – Sunday Showcase Party ~ Homemaker on a Dime – Creative Blogger’s Party and Hop ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Craft-o-Maniac – Craft-o-Maniac Monday ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tutorials and Tips Party ~ Between Naps on the Porch – Metamorphosis Monday ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ~ Vintage Wanna Bee – Talent Tuesday ~ A Stroll Thru Life – Tabletop Tuesdays ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~ Uncommon – Uncommonly Yours ~ Domestically Speaking – 124th Power of the Paint Party ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ The Shady Porch – Rock N’ Share ~ Ms. Hines Class – Show and Tell ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ Hating Martha – Stinky Linky Party ~ Debbiedoos – Debbiedoos Newbie Party ~ Thrifty Decor Chick – May Before and After Party ~

Tip Junkie handmade projects



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  1. Leanne

    Carrie, your sewing box would fit well in any lady’s parlour… très adorable! ~Leanne

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Leanne!

  2. Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    Your sewing box is beautiful! I have one just like it, only in two tones of darker wood. I inherited it from my grandma. Unfortunately, it needs the legs repaired. I particularly love the graphics on your box.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Jo for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. :) I am sure your grandma’s box will look beautiful once it is all fixed up. I think you could very easily take the legs off and use it without legs if it cannot be easily repaired. When I had the legs off mine to paint them it looked cute with the legs off as well.

  3. Lorrie

    Very Nice, you did a Fantastic job! I’m now a follower…

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for following my blog Lorrie and for your kind comments. I hope to see you again soon!

  4. Liz

    I just inherited the same box from my grandmother! I never thought of painting it! What a great idea. Turned out great!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comments. I hope I have inspired you to maybe one day paint your inherited sewing box or maybe paint something else if you are not into painting your Grandmother’s box.

  5. katie

    WOW! I have the same sewing box. My aunt brought it down for me a few months ago it was a relatives sewing box from years ago! Great job on the transformation.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Sew Woodsy! Are you planning to one day re-invent your sewing box or are you going to leave yours stained? I love these boxes because of all of the storage they provide. They don’t make them like they used to!

  6. Alisha

    This came out great!! I would love to find one of these! I love the Graphics Fairy blog too. She has amazing graphics. I’ms topping by from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff and a follower.

    Here is what I shared this week: http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.ca/2012/04/another-coat-for-holly.html

    1. Carrie

      Hi Alisha,

      It is great to meet a fellow Canadian! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I had a look at your link; Holly is a sweet puppy. Thanks for sharing your post and I hope to see you again sometime!

  7. Nancy Carr

    I have my mother’s identical sewing box. I want to do this when I have time. Great transformation. Thank you.

    1. Carrie

      I would love to see the transformation of your Mother’s sewing box when you are all done. Thanks for visiting, Nancy. It’s great to meet you.

  8. Nancy Carr

    I forgot to sign up for follow-ups and new posts. Doing it now.

  9. Audrey Zumwalt

    That is the best transfer on wood that I have seen. Need to see how you did it. Thanks for sharing. New follower.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

    1. Carrie

      Audrey, thanks so much for your kind comments. The transfer method that I use makes nice crisp, clear transfers. I have tested a variety of mediums and this is the best so far I think.

  10. Steph @ The Silly Pearl

    Oh how lovely! I love vintage sewing boxes, but I have never seen such a beautiful redo! Cannot wait to see your raised stencil tutorial.

    1. Carrie

      Steph, you are making me blush! Thanks for your sweet comments. I plan to share my raised stencil tutorial soon.

  11. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    That looks great, Carrie! I’m sure that was a fun piece to paint! Love the graphic you chose and it is perfect for this sewing box.

    visiting from WUW : )

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Kathy!

  12. Susan

    Carrie I had the same exact box and I took it apart and used the pieces rather than fixing it up like you did.
    I love yours and I really wish I had taken the time to fix all the screws and paint it. I love your images… great save!

    1. Carrie

      Hi Susan,

      I had a look at your storage boxes. You did an amazing job! Thanks for sharing. I love the end result of my sewing box but that thing gave me so much trouble I was ready to call it quits one day. I took it all apart to paint it and when I finished painting it I started to attach the little wooden parts with the screws. Nothing lined up no matter what I tried! Whomever made this box originally had all of the screw holes in different spots on the wooden pieces and different screw holes on the box itself. I wasted a good three hours trying every combination trying to get it all back together. I finally figured it out, thankfully!
      Thanks again for stopping by.

  13. Deborah

    Just lovely! Nice details with the graphic and the raised stencil. Have a lovely day and I hope spring finds you soon!


    1. Carrie

      Thank you Deborah! I hope spring finds us soon too because I am sure missing the sunshine. Thank you again for stopping by. :)

  14. Jen

    Beautiful I have my grandmothers looks just like your find thinking I am going to give her a make over thank you for the tutorial

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for your kind comments. I am happy that you liked my tutorial. Good luck on your grandmother’s sewing box.

  15. Jenny

    Yay! You’re a feature this week!


    Thanks for linking up your transfer method!!

    1. Carrie

      Yeah! I am so excited and honored Jenny! Thanks so much for featuring my transfer method/sewing box this week!

  16. Laurel@Ducks in a Row

    It is beautiful – and the graphics you chose fit it perfectly!

    1. Carrie

      I love them too! Thanks so much for your kind comments Laurel.

  17. Linda @ it all started with paint

    What a great makeover and I love all the little details, like the Graphics Fairy transfer and the raised stencil. And thanks for the gesso tip. Never heard of this product before. I’ll be looking into it …


  18. Nelly

    OK Seriously…that is a cool GW find!
    I love that! Iam *sorta* jealous!! The makeover looks great and the transfer couldn’t be more perfect!
    Visiting from the newbie party!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for your sweet comments Nelly! I am off to check out your blog and say hi. Thanks for visiting!

  19. Stacey

    That looks great Carrie! I love the graphics you chose! Thank you for sharing!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Stacey! I hope you are doing well and you are well rested from your vacation. It looks like you and your family had so much fun.

  20. Trish @ Uncommon

    What a great find and a fabulous makeover! I love the raised stenciling on the side. Thanks for sharing this pretty project with us this past week!

    Take care,


    1. Carrie

      Trish, the raised stenciling is my favorite part too. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving me such nice comments!

  21. Debbie refresh restyle

    What a great makeover! I’ll have to try the gesso and the transfer! It turned out great!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Debbie. I am so glad you like my makeover! Please let me know how the gesso and transfer work out for you. I would love to see your project when it is all done.

  22. Lynn

    You did a beautiful job with this! That transfer and detail on the end really makes it. I probably would have walked right by this at the goodwill store and never seen the potential. You’ve got a great eye!


    1. Carrie

      Thanks Lynn! I appreciate your sweet comments on my sewing box project.

  23. Peggy

    What a great transformation! I love the photo transfer and I’m hoping to use that idea on my next project. You do some fabulous work. I found you through Debbiedoo’s Newbie Party. I’m your latest follower and a fellow newbie. I hope you’ll stop by and check me out sometime.

    1. Carrie

      Peggy, I hope you get a chance to try out photo transfers! They are a lot of fun and quite addicting once you start! I plan to stop by your blog and check it out. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  24. Cathy

    Hi there,
    I think I’m going to give this a try on my little sewing cabinet. I don’t sew any more but still keep what’s left of all my sewing stuff in there.
    Cathy (again)

  25. debbiedoos

    This is awesome girl! I am debating whether or not to paint mine…I sorta like the natural darker wood, but I sure do love this one with the graphics.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Debbie! Long time no talk. How have you been? I like the dark wood on your sewing storage box too. Mine wasn’t in as great shape as your so something had to be done with it.

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