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DIY Storage Boxes

I’m desperately trying to get my studio the way I want it. The picture in my head is beautiful, organized, and inspiring. But in reality, it’s a hot mess. I figured the first step was to remove everything from the room and sort into piles of keep, trash, donate, and other people’s crap. After filling our large outdoor trashcan, making a run to Goodwill, and passing out everyone’s stuff that had accumulated in my space, I was ready to organize what was left in the “keep” pile.

First order of business: Storage Containers

Whatever I used had to fit on my shelves and be large enough to hold everything I needed them to. They also had to look good and be cheap because I needed quite a few of them. After a couple of failed attempts, this is what I came up with.


These storage boxes do take a little bit of time but if you want to try to create them yourself, here is a list of supplies:

  • small cardboard boxes from Lowe’s
  • off-white paint (I used spray paint, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • antiquing  wax
  • poster board (2 sheets)
  • aluminum foil
  • glue
  • chalkboard label stickers
  • black or dark brown craft paint (I mixed the two together)
  • paint brush
  • old rags or paper towels

You probably have at least some of these items already lying around your house.

I picked up ten of the small cardboard moving boxes from Lowe’s for .69 cents each. The boxes were a little tall for my shelves so I ended up cutting them down about an inch. Since I needed to cut the tops off anyway, this didn’t require any extra work than I had to do in the first place.

After cutting them down to the size I needed, I taped the bottoms. I did not include any pictures of this step because I’m sure everyone knows how to tape a box. 

Then, I took them all outside and placed them on a plastic drop cloth and spray painted them. I painted two sides at a time and they took two coats of paint. If you already have off-white or cream paint, just use what you have. Don’t spend any more money than you have to.

In between coats of paint, I cut out my poster board strips. These I cut about 1 1/2″ wide and the width and height of the box. (It doesn’t matter what color poster board you use. They will be covered up anyway.) Also, you want to go ahead and cut out the rectangle plaques for the front of the boxes. I snipped the edges off of mine because I liked the look but it’s up to you.

Next, cut out strips of aluminum foil. These strips need to be wider than the strips of poster board but don’t have to be cut perfectly straight or even. You want to wrinkle these up and then carefully unfold them and wrap them around the poster board. The backs will look like this.

Now, use your black or brown craft paint and smear it onto the “metal” strips and then gently wipe it back off. Make sure when you smear it on, that you use a circular motion to get in all of the grooves and crevices. This gives it an aged look. If you like the look of just the foil, then skip this step.

Switch back to your boxes and lightly brush on your aging wax. You want to use a very light coat of wax and then use an old rag (or 1 million paper towels) to wipe the wax back off. I recommend only working with one side at a time. This step goes pretty fast because you want the imperfections and inconsistencies.

This is the wax I used to “antique” the boxes

The final step is to apply the chalkboard label stickers onto the plaques and then glue your “metal” strips around the edges and the “metal” plaques to the center. I only decorated the fronts of the boxes because that is all that will be showing but you can cover all sides of the box with “metal” strips if it will be sitting out.


……. And this is what your final product should look like. This actually motivates me to organize my studio and continue on to the next step of getting my space a little more like the picture in my head.




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