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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  • There have been a lot of robberies in my neighborhood lately. I’m a stay-at-home mom and the m.o. is to case the house and dip in during that half an hour when the lady of the house is out retrieving offspring from school.
    This is a perfect solution. . . .

  • Really cute idea!!!! It weird. I was just thinking yesterday that I needed to look for a new, larger box. I would love some jewelry box suggestions, too. That would be fabulous.

  • You could also go super DIY and mount the box between the studs in your wall so that the painting would look like it was just hanging on the wall. Super sneaky!

  • This reminded me that I used to have a similar hidden-behind-a-painting cabinet (purchased at a thrift store!) that contained a small bar. It had narrow bottles marked Gin, Vodka, and Rye, and three matching shot glasses. Hilarious!

  • I love this!!!! I have been thinking about different jewelry box options and this is just too perfect! Would be cool to add a thin hinged screen to hold all my earrings too, now off to find the perfect painting….

  • This is great! About two weeks ago, I sketched out this *very* idea! (With thoughts of having either a painting or a mirror frame as the “lid.”) I’m glad somebody else wrote up a how-to do it!

  • hey everyone!
    thanks for your comments. for those of you who like to display your jewelry, do you have any specific ideas in mind that i could help you replicate? i have a rough plan already, but would love to hear your thoughts. the jewelry-on-display project will be next week, so any ideas you have will be great! thanks.

  • this is my favorite DIY to date. it must be said, though, that i’m the kind-of person who wants to include a secret passageway (a la “Clue”) in the floorplan of my dream house. this is just plain awesome. must find the perfect painting.

  • Such a great idea. I worry about my beads fading in the sun so this would protect them and save space on my dressing table!

  • For the Displayers, what about building this using and old window pane rather than a painting?

  • Fantastic- this is great…a mirror on the reverse side of the painting would make it extra-useful/double-cuty-doing!

  • BRILLIANT! I have been trying to find a jewelry box that doesn’t LOOK like a jewelry box and doesn’t take up a ton of space…this is perfect. Perfect. Give this woman a prize.

  • Wow, I love this DIY so much! I actually used a shadow box to create a key holder and that was REALLY to make. I decorated it of pictures of me and my husband and made it as a house warming gift to him (when we didn’t use to live together before marriage). This is an awesome idea to hide the jewelry behind a painting.. .it’s like dual function for a space!!!

  • Great Idea,
    Also you can hide the Jewlery Box underneath a Kitchen Beach Seat if you have one.
    Plus alot more stuff you can hide, because the typical seat is 18″ high and 20″ deep. (Less Material of course).

  • I have a picture in my closet that has the most depressingly, awful painting in it, but an amazing frame. I have always wanted to do something with the frame and now I have it! LOVE the idea, I’m going to excavate the terrible painting out of it and maybe even get creative and paint something new to be the front of my jewelry box!

  • thank you for the great idea. I have many painting hanging in my dress room so I will be doing some jewelry box renovations this weekend.

  • great idea…maybe one too many steps for me…but then again I put all my valuables hidden in the kitchen…in various pots and pans and food storage…

    when burglars go into a house and look for jewelry, they automatically go into the masterbedroom and bathroom and closet, so when you put your valuables in more difficult areas, like a laundry room, or behind your electronics in your livingroom…

    this is still an adorable project, and a great gift idea.

  • P.S when I mean behind your electronics, I mean like in a hidden cutout in your cabinet or something, because when they steal your electronics they wont be looking for jewelry there…

  • that’s a great DIY project indeed! there’s something very bondian/ pink panthery about it… i always am struggling with jewelry storage, i have a really pretty faux-croc box, but it’s brimming to the gills.

  • Love this idea! To make it even more stealthy, you could replace the latch with magnets, so it would stay closed, but not have any obvious mechanism to tip thieves off.

  • I’ve wanted to do something like this, but didn’t have the DIY know-how to figure it out–thank you!! As for the visible jewelry, I saw once in a magazine a grouping of shadow-box frames with pretty little hooks (maybe they were just painted?) screwed into the inside back. The inside back was covered with a pretty fabric, and the jewelry was displayed on the hooks. The glass doors on the shadow boxes keep everything dust-free, but visible. I liked the idea and bought a shadow box (at Tueday Morning), but couldn’t figure out how to remove the padded inside backing without destroying the whole shadow box. That sucker is really glued in there! Ideas?

  • For the jewelry display DIY, how about something like the little tree branch things they hang jewelry on. I want something like that but am having trouble finding the perfect one on my very small budget!

  • That is a sweet solution if you have a normal amount of jewelry.
    If you have a lot, it can end up jumbled in the drawers or boxes.
    I think that is how some of us become ‘displayers’.

    I just traded rooms with my rabbits, & now get to think up a new solution for my excessive jewelry. At the moment it is all in boxes from the move & I’ve been going out practically naked ; )

    The other good reason to display it is to wear it without a hassle – just grab and go, with a place to put it away easily when you get home.


    Tamariga – what about a real branch? (free)

  • I love this idea. I was thinking, you could even attach a mirror to the back of the picture, so you could see how you’re looking while picking out your jewelry!

  • sssuch a fantastic idea! A little cabinet of baubles and curiosities. I’m so going to do this and I think I have the perfect framed painting laying around to make it with.

  • I love this idea. I just untangled a few necklaces today. My earrings are in a fabric frame that I’m going to incorporate into this project. Thanks for the great idea!

  • I love this… wonder if a miniatures display case behind a pic would work for earrings and smaller jewelry? Might have to try this as an add to the jewelry solution I just came up with (via kitchen wares & thrift store finds) http://bit.ly/cODGyC.

  • don’t put anything valuable behind a hinged painting ….. if you’ve ever watched TV, you know that’s the first place a burglar would look ….. you must have censored a lot of remarks

  • This is absolutely beautiful! My jaw literally dropped when I saw this.

    Another idea: Get a great frame and just put your jewelry in the frame like a picture. I have a setup similar to this right now, and I love it.

    And to grasshopper: I don’t think the real intention was to ever really hide the jewelry from robbers. It’s pretty obvious that the picture frame is hiding a cabinet behind it; it has hinges! This is definitely not a place to hide expensive jewelry.

  • this is such a cool idea! I was thinking that it would also be fun to use a 12 x 12 inch frame so you could do up a scrapbook page. then you could change the page whenever you had new inspiration……..

  • Love this idea to cover up a dry erase board that happens to live in my living room! Brilliant!

  • How about hiding a recessed flat screen tv? Been thinking how to have a picture frame hiding my tv above fire place. Could work, don’t you think?

  • Stacy, that is a fantastic idea. I would LOVE to hide a flat screen with something like this for a bedroom and even living room. It would clearly have to be much larger, but would love to give it a try! If you find the how-to, let me know! :)

  • Im trying this idea for my friend for Christmas.. only instead of using a picture I am using a mirror. :D

  • Hi all. Love this idea and did a double model with 2 8×11 frames stacked (looks like a cabinet with 2 doors, frames displayed width-wise). Another suggestion or add on…I used paint stirrers,drilled holes in them and attached them lengthwise (making 1″ shelves) to the inside of the box. THIS way I can hang a pair of dangle earrings in 1 hole and put studs or rings on the shelf created by the paint stirrers. Just sayin’ :-)

  • I would do hidden hinges and use magnetic closure so it is totally hidden that something was behind the picture, Just a thought

  • We are re-doing our bathroom, and will be utilizing this idea with our recessed “medicine cabinet.”

    Great ideas.

  • What about drawers for earrings? I loose them so often or misplace the backs. I’ve used Styrofoam in the past to hold them in place. Ideas?