Stinky Gross Flatware Box Makeover

I really just could not think of a more befitting name for this post. I found this flatware box at the thrift store for just under $5.

Here it is as I found it:


Ooh good find, right? There are so many possible uses for  a little chest like this…

Except it needed a little TLC:

Ok a LOT of TLC. So gross. It smelled so musty and yet I brought it home anyway for $5 more dollars than I should have. I would never have had the nerve to donate this!

But luckily for me, someone else did. 🙂

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

And for the inside:

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

No more smelly, crusty mess. I used a scraper to scrape away as much of the crusty paper as possible. Then I shellacked the interior with Zinsser spray shellac twice to get rid of the musty odor. There’s not a trace of it left!

Then I lined it with pretty paper and fabric. The paper is Mod Podged in place and the bottom is lined with a piece of foam core cut-to-fit and wrapped in fabric.

The outside got a new paint job including a grey grain sack stripe…

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!


Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

Then I used this stencil to add this bold PARIS graphic to the top. I used spray adhesive on the back of the stencil to hold it in place. It makes it just tacky enough to stay put while painting.

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

The thing about stencils is that they usually look like stencils. The breaks in the letters are a dead giveaway…

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

So I paint them in with a small paint brush! Here I also smoothed any areas where the paint bled a little.

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

And voila! Much better. I also sanded the surface with a little 220 grit sand paper to make it smooth. I sealed it with Annie Sloan’s clear wax.

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

There really are so many uses for a chest like this.

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

It could hold jewelry of course, but how about a place to hide the remotes? A quick place to stash the daily mail that needs sorting? A pretty new sewing box or craft stash box?

So many possibilities!

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

I try not to pass these up when I find them.

Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!


Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!


Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!


Vintage flatware chests are perfect candidates for makeovers!

You might also like this one I did a couple of years ago:


Harlequin Box

Or this one I shared as part of my March Madness, 31 Thrifty Makeovers in 31 Days series:


Upcycled Flatware Box

These all sold quickly, so I’m always on the lookout for more.

In my next post I’ll be sharing how I made over this pretty yard sale find that I scored for $40:


She turned out really pretty!

UPDATE: See how she looks HERE!

See ya then!



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  1. ColleenB. ~ Texas says:

    Beautiful make over.
    I have one that I use in my craft making room to hold my paint brushes ( little compartments that held the knives) as well as my colored pencils and markers

  2. I’m in love with both boxes!! Wonderful job!!

  3. Sue Farmer says:

    You are a magician!!! Great job

  4. I love it and I know what I would do with it. I would put my sewing thread in it. Just love it.

  5. Laura Lane says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!! I need to start looking for those.
    Thanks for the idea Christy!

  6. Beautiful transformation! I’ve always been a sucker for boxes…their uses are so versatile. And now I have to add Artistic Stencils to my wish list.

  7. so cool..i just found one of these for 5.00…will need to try thi
    I had emailed you before about chalk paint…I finally got desk painted and to apply the wax
    you are my favorite blogger…we have the same taste and style
    Have a great day !!!!

  8. Sooo pretty!!! I love the idea of filling in the gaps on stencil lettering to look more hand painted….small changes with big impact! Also that Zinsser primer is great for any stinky situation, my daughter had a whole bag of potatoes go rotten in a bottom cabinet. LORD HAVE MERCY!! But that primer along with some cleaning totally removed the odor.

    • Thanks, Gina! Yes filling in the gaps takes that stenciled look right away! Glad to hear the Zinsser salvaged your daughter’s cabinet…I bet that was a stinky mess. That stuff is awesome! XO

  9. Oh my….it’s absolutely beautiful. I am impressed with your work…you are very talented!!

  10. What a great idea (and makeover). I’m going to start looking for these in thrift shops…so many uses come to mind. Thanks for sharing these terrific makeovers:)

  11. Oh girl talk about a From Junk To Treasure Story! Oooooh she was ugly. You’d never know it was the same flatware box. I connect the dots too when I stencil – anal about the lines in the letters not connecting. LOL Where did you get that awesome stencil?

    • Oh my gosh…so ugly! I wasn’t even convinced as I was buying it that I could bring it back lol! The stencil came from Artistic stencils. I included a link in the post…they have a bunch of great ones and very reasonably priced! 🙂

  12. Tracey Martin says:

    I love what you do with these flatware boxes! This one especially. I was so inspired by your March Madness one that when I stumbled upon one at a thrift store for $4, I snatched it up. Once I tore out all the velvet, which I didn’t know would be SO much work, mine looked like yours on the inside. Ugh. It was my first attempt at something like this and is not nearly as beautiful as yours, but I was pleased with how it turned out. I wish I could share a photo here, but don’t know how. Suffice it to say, you, My Favorite Blogger, are an inspiration!! 🙂

    • Oh Tracey…you always say the nicest things!! Thank you! 🙂 That velvet can be such a pain! I actually broke the first box I did trying to remove it, but was able to put it back together luckily. That said, I still love to redo them. I bet yours turned out great! 🙂

  13. Pretty makeover! I can see why these sell quickly when you put them in your shop. They do have so many practical uses. I have yet to see one when I’m thrifting but after seeing your projects, I’m going to look harder for my own to make over.

  14. I have that song, “I’m gonna wash that stink right outta my box” going through my head. But then I realized that’s not exactly how the song goes. There’s something wrong with me. But I love what you did!!


  15. I love it! You just gave me an idea for something that I bought from a thrift store awhile ago that I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Tina Matteson says:

    That is just beautiful! Another great makeover. And I love the idea of keeping the remotes in it!

  17. Beautiful transformation! all of them. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment.

  18. I seriously just passed on a bunch of these and now I am kicking myself! Never again…these are incredible! nice work!

  19. The box looks lovely. I just did one of the flatware boxes. It was made into a coastal jewelry box. I sold it within 24 hours in my booth. It was really cute. Stinky as well, I lined it with burlap.

  20. What an impressive makeover Christy- it’s beautiful! I bet your previous life as a nurse makes you pretty impervious to gross stuff – a great quality in a thrifter!! Lol

  21. Great makeover!! As soon as my daughter & I saw it, we were amazed. Now I’ll be on the lookout for one of these to makeover. Hopefully I can find several. One definitely will be a jewelry box, but it would make a great place for toiletries in a guest bath (whether left open or closed!) Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Tonya! I wasn’t sure about that one as I was buying it because it really was so stinky, but I’m glad it worked out so well. These little boxes are great for so many uses. Love the idea to use it in a guest bath!

  22. where can I find a grey grain sack stripe…stencil. I love the look. Have not been successful in finding it.

    Thank you,



  1. […] having a great day!  Well,  have a quick DIY to share.  I saw this on a wonderful blog, Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer.  Aren’t these absolutely […]

  2. […] at a garage sale for $2. I had been on the look out for one because I adore how my friend Christy makes them over and I wanted to try it. Luckily this one was in good condition and didn’t smell old and musty […]

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