DIY: Lacquer Lookalikes

January 25, 2012

It has been said to me by my mate on more than one occasion that when it comes to decor I have champagne taste on a beer budget. You’ll get no denial from me. I’ve long been in love with lacquer nesting boxes like these and these ~ they are such glamorous little vessels for storing everything small from jewelry to keepsakes. I happen to find them completely irresistible, but the problem is they’re pricey, up to $80 a box (or more!) for the designer versions.

ooh la lacquer boxes


So last weekend I decided to do my thang  and mimic the look of these beauties with a few supplies from the craft store.

lacquer lookalikes before and after


diy lacquer lookalike nesting boxes

To make these yourself, here’s what you’ll need: wood jewelry boxes from craft store, small Phillips head screwdriver, paint colors of choice, wood filler, painter’s tape,  medium and small paintbrushes, fine sanding wedge, high gloss coating.


First, remove the jewelry box clasps with the screwdriver but keep the open-and-close hinges in place. Fill the holes with wood filler (or wood putty) and sand the box to get it smooth.  Paint the boxes with your base color of choice, but be sure to use painter’s tape in the opening, otherwise your paint will seal the box shut.

paint boxes


Once your base coat is fully dry, give it a light sanding if necessary to get rid of heavy brush strokes and tape off the box with painter’s tape to form your stripes.

perfect painted stripes


Do you know the best way to get perfectly painted stripes?  I learned this from readers (thank you!) and wrote about it here.  Use the base paint to seal your painter’s tape, then paint over it with your stripe color.  Peel up the tape while the second coat of the stripe color paint is still wet, it works every time!

I took my time with the stripes, painting the horizontal ones in the morning and waiting till they were fully dry, then finishing the vertical ones at night. Allow the paint to fully cure (at least 12 hours) before giving it the protective coat.  The final step is to give it two coats of a high gloss, if you want a super shiny finish, or you could just leave them more matte, your call.  I tried Martha’s High Gloss for this project, and it was pretty good, giving the boxes a nice glossy shine.

ms high gloss finish


Allow the nesting boxes to fully dry, and there you have it, lookalikes for a fraction of the cost.  Are they perfectly smooth like the real thing?  Nope.  Is there some visible wood grain?  Yep, a little.  They’re certainly not as perfect as the expensive lacquer versions but they look just as pretty to me.

lacquer lookalike boxes cg

lacquer lookalike nesting boxes

blue nesting boxes cg

small business card lacquer box cg


I’ll use them to store keepsakes, cards, or other tiny things.  The little one now holds all my business card contacts in my office … sweet!




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