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How To Repurpose A Metal Toolbox Into A Jewelry Box

This repurposed metal toolbox can be used for any number of things. I’m using it for a jewelry box! Take a look at the project and tell me how you would use the yellow-painted and stenciled toolbox.

repurposed tool box makes a fancy jewelry box

Do you think this yellow is bold enough? I used two shades of spray paint to give the color dimension. Then I distressed the paint.

repurpose a tool box into a jewelry box with Rust-Oleum Spray Paint and a stencil (1)

I spray painted the inside of the toolbox too. It was a rusty mess. I’ll show you everything I did. Today is Thrift Store Decor Tour Day so be sure and check out all the other projects at the end of the post.

old tool box or tackle box for repurpose project

I bought the toolbox at my favorite junk shop a few months ago. I took it to my booth to sell but it just set there. So, what should I do with it.

old tackle box for jewelry box project

I brought it home and the first thing I did was clean it up. What a mess inside.

how to use sandpaper to remove rust

Before taking the Simple Green to the box I used sandpaper to remove as much rust as possible.

Rust-Oleum Yellow Spray Paint

For the first coat of spray paint I used Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Spray Paint in Summer Squash.

Rust-Oleum yellow gloss spray paint for jewelry box repurpose project

Once that coat of paint was dry I sprayed on a coat of Rust-Oleum Gloss Spray Paint color Tuscan Sun.

spray painted tool box or tackle box

The toolbox looks better already but I’m not done with it.

FolkArt Hallmark Stencil

I found this Hallmark stencil in my stash of craft supplies and really love the designs. I’ve had it for a while and tried to find it on Amazon for you but it’s not there. You can find other FolkArt adhesive stencils here.

stencil supplies for project

I selected FolkArt acrylic paint color parchment and grabbed some of my favorite stencil brushes, FolkArt Fabric stencil brushes (you can use them on other things besides fabrics!).

how to stencil

I have an in depth tutorial on how to stencil like a professional but I’ll tell you the big secret right here…..a very dry brush. Pour your stencil paint on a paper plate. It doesn’t take much. Then dip your brush in the paint and wipe almost all of it off on a paper towel. Now you’re ready to stencil.

how to stencil like a professional

I chose one of the designs from the stencil package, stuck it to the box and started stenciling. You can use the brush in swirling motions or pouncing motions. The technique I use depends on the stencil. I pounced this one.

stenciled jewelry box

One thing I really like about the adhesive stencils is the ability to pull them up part way to see what the paint looks like and then lay them back down in place.

fancy Hallmark stencil

Of course I didn’t quit with one stencil. I choose different designs from the pack and stenciled both ends of the box.

how to stencil with adhesive back stencils

Then I stopped. You don’t want to overdo it. Too much of a good thing and all….

sanding paint by hand

And now to the distressing. You knew I was going to distress the paint didn’t you? I used 3M flexible sandpaper and distressed the box all over.

Howard's Dark Wax for making paint look old

After distressing the paint I applied a coat of Howard’s Paste Wax color Walnut all over the toolbox. It gives the paint a slightly aged look and the perfect sheen. In the photo above you can see where I applied the wax to the bottom half of the toolbox and how the finish is darker than the top half of the toolbox. I let the wax dry for about 20 minutes then buffed it with a lint free rag. You should also apply the wax with a lint free rag.

repurposed tool box (5)

And that’s all there was to that little project. It wasn’t time consuming at all. I sprayed the toolbox with the two colors of spray paint and let it dry overnight. The second color spray paint was a gloss finish and it was really tacky until it dried. So let your paint dry well before distressing or stenciling.

repurpose a tool box into a jewelry box

I forgot to mention I lightly distressed over the stenciled areas too. This piece makes a great jewelry box!

old tool box turned into a jewelry box with Rust-Oleum Spray Paint and a stencil

I have a ton of costume jewelry and I hardly wear any of it. It sure is pretty to look at though.

repurposed tool box into jewelry box (2)


That’s it for my project today. Leave a note if you have time before heading off on the Thrift Store Decor Tour. And if you didn’t get a look at the new website look you can visit the home page here and the category page here and let me know what you think!

Take the tour by clicking the text links below the “before makeovers” photo collage…….thrift store decor tour May 2021

Repurposed Toolbox Jewelry Box Petticoat Junktion (you are here)

Cutting Glass Domestically Speaking

Clam Shell Bowl With Baking Soda Sadie Seasongoods

Wooden Rocking Chair Makeover My Repurposed Life

Antique Skeleton Key Makeover House of Hawthornes

DIY Lake Sign Our Southern Home


As always, thanks for being here, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. Wow! What a great way to utilize an old toolbox. I love the choice of the sunny yellow and the white stencil for a little pizzaz! Great job and always!

  2. Hi Kathy, Absolutely nothing wrong with a sunny honey yellow toolbox ! I love those toolboxes and think you asked what someone would do with it. Let me count the ways!
    I have any number of crafts that would work in one like it, Stamps and Ink pads, beading and all the tools , sewing, cake decorating tips and tools. and the list goes on. Honestly, one of my favorite finds at a yard sale of a tool rep was actually a cowboy themed tool box as my husband wore his much used tool belt and could pull his hammer out quicker than a gunslinger. He’s actually a cowboy movie buff so it became a Father’s day gift for him. Loved your stencils too ,lovely touch. thanks for sharing.

  3. I like this idea a lot. I would have glued felt to the bottom of each section to help protect the jewelry pieces, however. Maybe you said that somewhere in the article and I missed it. Adorable idea doing this!

  4. This is a great idea, Kathy! A vintage lover like me would love to have this sitting on my dresser filled with jewelry.