A quality jewellery box is a necessity for anyone who owns more than a few valued, but fragile, pieces of jewellery. In addition to being functional, a good jewellery box should also be sturdy and attractive. A paper mache jewellery box satisfies all the requirements–and is made from recycled materials. Make your own and create a jewellery box as strong as wood with a custom shape and colour, both inside and out.
Create the foundation for the box from cardboard. Cut two identical rectangular pieces, each six inches by ten inches, for the top and bottom of the box. Make two rectangular sides of ten inches by two inches and two sides of six inches by two inches. Use wood glue or masking tape to attach the sides of the box to the inside edges of the bottom piece.
Mix a paper mache paste solution. Either mix up some wheat paste with flour (see link below for a recipe) or make a solution of two parts water and one part wood glue.
Cut newspaper up into small strips of about one inch wide and four inches long.
Apply paper mache strips to the box and lid. Thoroughly soak strips of newspaper one at a time in glue solution and use them to coat the box and lid, all sides, inside and out. Press each paper strip flat against the cardboard, conforming the wet strips to the shape of the box. Apply at least four complete layers of paper mache in this manner.
Let the box and lid dry for 24 hours. Halfway through, flip them upside-down to let the reverse sides dry as well.
Make a paper pulp modelling compound. Tear newspaper into the smallest pieces you can (or shred them with scissors) and let them soak in paste solution for a half hour. Pull the paper from the solution and wring out the excess moisture; this will make a pulp that you can mould like clay.
Mold the inside of the box using paper pulp. Make walls for small jewellery compartments or make slots for rings by pressing rings or coins into a mass of pulp to make grooves. Let the pulp areas dry for an additional 24 hours.
Attach the hinges to the box and lid to join them. Drill the screws in place as you would with wood, if you have a small enough bit for an electric screwdriver.
Paint the finished box with acrylic paint.
Things you need
- Craft knife
- Masking tape
- Wood glue
- Paper scraps
- Mixing bowl
- Jewellery box hinges
- Screwdriver with small bit or quickset epoxy
- Acrylic paint