DIY red doily matchbox

Red doily matchbox, photo

When I discovered that my matchbooks fit perfectly into this old unfinished cigar box, I knew it was a DIY matchbox in the making. I wanted to step up the fancy in a subtle way, so I could leave the dingy box out in plain site. I like showing off doilies in non-traditional ways. And I’m all about practical — and simple — crafts these days. And this matchbox was definitely simple.

I used mine to store matchbooks, but you can slip anything inside: greeting cards, small notebooks, craft supplies, or homemade candies. It kind of looks like a Valentine’s Day chocolate box, doesn’t it?

Finished box filled with matchbooks, photo

Ok, I admit covering each individual matchbook with colored paper is a little bit obsessive, but, in my defense, I did that part of this project years ago when I must have had more time on my hands. The matchbox itself was a breeze. If you don’t want to cut and paste colored paper onto each matchbook — and let’s face it: who does? — you can buy these gloriously pure white matchbooks on Etsy.

Unfinished wooden cigar box, photo

In case you’re wondering, a friend of mine made that little Dutch couple kissing. She gave them to me expecting that I would paint them the traditional blue and white, but I like them plain white. (I know: You’re shocked.) And, yes, that is the bizarre kitchen counter from the 1960s in my rental apartment. Boomerangs must have been big then.

How to make a doily matchbox

  • paint—I used Benjamin Moore Aura Caliente [AF-290]

  • 7-inch crochet doily (you can find crochet doilies at craft stores)

  • white craft glue (I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue)

  • paint brush

  • wax paper

  • drop cloth

  • small Phillips screwdriver

  • extra fine sandpaper

  • matchbooks (optional)

Remove the hinges, photo

1. Remove the hinges and clasp using a small screwdriver. Put all the tiny screws and hardware in a small baggie so you don’t lose them.

Sand the box, photo

2. Remove the sticker. Lightly sand the box and remove the dust.

Paint the box, photo

3. Apply a coat of paint to the outside of the box, and let dry. Apply a coat of paint to the inside of the box, and let dry. Normally I’m a firm believer in using primer, but on bare wood, this Benjamin Moore Aura paint seems to do just as well without primer—and it saves time.

Note: You can skip a step and glue the doily on before you paint the box. I did it in this order because I wasn’t sure before I started whether I wanted to leave the doily white.

Apply glue to doily, photo

4. Place the doily on a sheet of wax paper, and saturate the entire doily with glue. Use your fingers to spread the glue evenly.

Adhere the doily to the box, photo

5. Place the doily onto the top of the box, cover it with a sheet of wax paper, and press down the entire doily, focusing on the edges.

Peel off the wax paper, photo

6. Slowly peel off the wax paper. Press down with your fingers any part of the doily that lifts in the process. Let the glue dry overnight.

Paint the doily, photo

7. Apply a coat of paint over the doily and the entire outside of the box. Let dry.

Apply the final coat of paint, photo

8. Apply the final coat of paint on the insides of the box. Let dry overnight.

Reattach the hinges, photo

9. Replace the hardware using the small screwdriver. The key to installing the clasp: Loosely screw in the screws, close the latch, then tighten the screws the rest of the way. Otherwise, your latch may not match up correctly.

Finished box filled with matchbooks, photo

10. Fill with the matches. This match box can hold 80 matchbooks.

Crafty Nest red doily matchbox Pinterest image

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Made this project? Email your photo(s) to monica (at) craftynest (dot) com, and I’ll share your version here!