Jewellery has been popular almost since the beginning of mankind itself. However, it was the Victorian Age that helped to make it an indisputable part of any woman’s completed ensemble. During a time when beauty was held in high esteem, women wore frills, lace, rich velvets, and feathers but they also used them in their home decor Many Victorian jewellery boxes were made of the same rich satins, supple velvets, and delicious silks that women of that era wore as part of their clothing. These beautiful boxes were trimmed with decorative braid, ornate lace, and flirty tassels. They were further decorated with pearls, jewels, and even beautiful buttons. Making a Victorian jewellery box today is relatively simple and a lot of fun.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Jewellery box (already finished cloth or fiberboard or wooden)
- Padding or rubber lining
- Fabric (silk, satin, velvet or other as chosen)
- Trim (lace, braid, roping, ribbon, or anything else desired)
- Ribbon roses or other silk flowers and greenery
- Pearls (in bead ropes or individual)
- Other decorative items (like cameos, charms, buttons, jewels or anything else desired)
- Decorative tassels
- Glue (appropriate to the material being used)
Decide what size the jewellery box needs to be. The type and number of jewellery pieces it will be housing will affect this choice as well as where the box will be placed in a room.
Decide on the type of material to use. This will depend upon whether the box is being made from scratch or adapted from something found on the market.
Decide how the box will be decorated. Typical Victorian boxes often included flowers, jewels, laces, braids and more.
Purchase a jewellery box in the desired size and shape. It may be possible to find an already completed cloth box, which can be used as a base. If not, begin with a simple fiberboard or wooden box purchased at a craft store.
Lay out the supplies needed to complete the jewellery box. Put paper underneath the materials before beginning the project. Put on any necessary safety gear.
Cover the fiberboard or wooden box, if you are beginning from scratch. First use a fibre or foam padding to cover the box to give it the soft romantic base so common in Victorian decor. Then cover the padding over with fabric. Tuck the raw edges of the fabric to the inside and/or bottom of the box inside and/or bottom. Line the inside of the box with the same or another chosen fabric. Cover any fabric raw edges with lace or braid to give the box a finished look and to prevent the fabric from fraying. Glue felt backing on the bottom of the box. This will help keep it from scratching furniture.
Trim the cloth box, if desired. Use lace, braid, roping, or strings of beads to decorate around the outside of the box.
Using the other decorative items chosen for the box, lay out the chosen design on top of the box. Once the pattern is completed to satisfaction, move on to the next step.
Using the right type of glue for the materials being used, attach the decorations in the pattern chosen as it is laid out on top of the box.
Scotch Guard the box to prevent staining.
Tips and warnings
- Choose finished boxes in rich silks, plush velvets, and delicious silks for the best Victorian style.
- Use metal charms in hearts, flowers, and keys, all of which were important symbols of the Victorian era.
- Use ribbon roses and other flowers in different sizes to decorate the top of the box.
- Use textured braids and ropes as well as ribbons to add beautiful embellishments.
- Use decorative buttons and old coins for trim.
- Use pearl ropes in different shapes, sizes, and colours.
- Embellish the box with gems like crystals and pearls.
- Line the box with anti-tarnish fabric.
- Be sure to use safety gear if required to protect against noxious fumes or dangerous materials, such as certain types of glue.