DIYdiy projects

diy project: artwork & secret storage box

by Kate Pruitt

Try as I might to achieve minimalism, I just can’t seem to stop the clutter in my life. After a huge clean, the house experiences a few days of perfect organization and cleanliness before the chaos creeps back in, usually through a series of seemingly innocent decisions — a piece of mail I set aside instead of filing away; an irresistible thrift-shop find that gets purchased without a plan for where it should go; a sale on craft supplies. You know how it is. Okay, maybe they’re not so innocent.

While I still plan to eliminate and prevent clutter, I also embrace it to a certain extent as a challenge to finding clever ways of storing things secretly. I consider today’s project a double achievement in this category: I have not only found a place for my extra pieces of art, but I’ve also created a stealth storage unit that can hold the most unsightly items in my house: my random binders, files and paperwork. With the right piece of art and a readymade box, you can make this project in under an hour. So I ask you, if the clutter is hidden behind a pretty piece of artwork and nobody sees it but you, does it exist? Happy crafting ;) — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • framed artwork (ideally one with a thick wood frame, or one with a wooden canvas inside)
  • wood box (I used Prant boxes from Ikea because they were the perfect depth for my bookshelves, but any box will do.)
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • drill
  • 3/4″ screws


1. Start by assembling your boxes, placing them in your bookshelf and planning how you want your picture to sit within your shelves. Depending on the dimensions of your picture, you may want it to sit flush with the bottom of the box/shelf, or you may want it to extend above or below the shelf. Once you’ve decided how you like it, use your pencil to mark the box roughly where your frame will hit it.

2. Measure and mark the box where you will attach it to the frame. You want to inset the holes from the edges by at least 1″ on the top and sides. Make corresponding marks on the frame.

3. Drill small holes where you made the four marks on the box.

4. Flip the picture upside down and place the box on top, realigning the holes with the corresponding marks you made on the frame.

5. Screw the box to the frame.

6. You’re done! I recommend adding felt pads to the bottom of the box, especially if your box does not sit flush with the bottom of the frame. This way, you can also use your box/artwork for tabletop storage!

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