DIYdiy projectskate pruitt

diy project: hidden jewelry box

by Grace Bonney

grace mentioned to me that jewelry storage is a hot topic for a lot of readers, so i set to work brainstorming some possibilities! i realized that there are basically two camps: people who like their jewelry on display (neatly of course), and people who like to hide it away (also neatly). so i am going to do two diys for jewelry storage that can satisfy both camps. the first is an attempt at hidden storage, which in this case is a mega top-secret, ninja-spy, behind-the-painting deal. i’ve always loved the idea of secret hiding places in fat old books, under rugs, and behind old paintings. this is pretty easy to rig up, especially if you have an old painting with a nice wood frame, but really any picture with a relatively wide wood frame will do fine. if you feel like you have too much jewelry to fit, this can also be a great way to store keys and mail by the entryway. or you could pair it with a nice leather bound book with a secret cutout container. have fun! – kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


1. picture with wood frame (aim for a frame that is at least 1″ wide)

2. 3/4″ or 1″ square dowel (you may need two depending on how large you frame is, you basically need enough to make an identically sized frame)

3. 1″ x 2″ x 6′ plank of wood (same as the dowel, you need enough to make a frame almost identical in dimensions to your framed painting. you can also buy a 3″ thick piece instead, if you want your jewelry box to be a bit deeper)

4. hammer and small nails

5. drill and screws

6. piece of thin wood (this needs to be roughly the same dimensions as your frame, minus an inch on both the height and width)

7. roll of cork

8. scrap fabric (the same dimensions as the piece of wood

9. glue (hot glue or elmers)

10. small hinges and latch set (these are available at hardware stores and most craft stores)

11. paint (i painted mine to match the wall it was going to hang on)

12. paintbrush

13. thumb tacks

14. cup hooks

15. saw


1. measure the dimensions of the back of your frame. subtract an inch from each dimension – these will be the dimensions of your jewelry box and the extra frame you make for the back of the painting. the box will be inset from the sides of the original frame by half and inch on all four sides.

2. cut the square dowel(s) to make the four sides of the painting frame. nail them together at the corners to create a frame (sometimes i add a dab of hot glue to hold the pieces in place before i nail them together, this makes it easier). place this frame centered on the back of your painting to make sure it is the right size, and that it is inset from all four sides by at least 1/2″.

3. cut the 2″ plank into identically sized pieces, but do not attach them together yet. this is the frame for your jewelry box. when you rest it on top of the frame you just nailed into the back of the painting frame, it should be completely flush on all four sides. you will see in my version it is not flush on the bottom – okay, i admit it, i was using up old scraps of wood so i just let it be a little off. but it will look a lot better if you make it completely flush. do as i say, not as i do!!

4. cut the piece of thin wood to be the exact measurements of the frame you just made. now nail all four pieces of 2″ plank to the piece of wood, with the piece of wood flush to one edge of the planks. this will create a tray with 2″ sides. this is your jewelry box!

5. paint the jewelry box and the frame any color you want. let those pieces dry.

6. cut and glue the cork into the tray lining the base. then cut a piece of the scrap fabric and glue that on top of the cork (if you want, this is optional. you can just leave it cork if you prefer).

7. when everything is dry and the fabric and cork backing have been glued it into the tray, nail or screw the square dowel frame onto the back of the original frame. then lay the jewelry tray on top, and check that everything is sitting evenly and the edges are flush.

8. attach the four small hinges to the left side of the picture, placing the center of the hinge at the line where the dowel frame and the jewelry tray meet. then screw the latch onto the opposite side, placing the flap part on the dowel frame, and the latch part on the jewelry tray.

9. screw into the wall in the desired position with two screws in the corners of the tray. you want this to be attached directly to the wall, rather than hung like a standard picture because the door will be heavy when it opens and you will be handling it a lot. by screwing it into the wall you make sure the whole thing is sturdy and supported. you can paint the screws to hide them or cover them with little pieces of fabric.

10. open up the door by unlocking the latch, and begin composing your jewelry, using the thumbtacks and cup hooks to hold necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, etc. make sure nothing is so bulky that it prevents the door from closing, and make sure to push the thumbtacks through the cork into the wood a little for extra support.


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