Organized mens jewelry boxAny respectable gentleman should have a well rounded collection of accessories to finish off an ensemble, such as ties, bow ties, tie bars, cufflinks, collar bars, money clips, collar stays, lapel flowers, etc.. The list goes on! The question then arises: how does one store and organize all of these items in an efficient, unique and visually appealing way?

For the small “stuff” we recently converted an old set of parts drawers into an accessory / jewelry box. Once you find a vintage item you want to convert, it really doesn’t take too long to create something unique that will provide you with a lifetime of use and look bloody cool compared to anything you could buy new. Therefore, there are no excuses!

Let’s get started…

Buying The Bones Of Your Box

This is by far the hardest part of the process.

You can select anything that catches your eye. We think that one of the best things to use for this project is one of these old metal nuts and bolts organizers. They are a nice manageable size, fairly easy to get hold of, and inexpensive. The one featured only cost $21 (down from $30, as you should always haggle at flea markets) from a Philadelphia Flea Market, and would surely be cheaper outside the city.

Vintage metal tool box

Old small tool box

Other possibilities include old printers type cases, as they usually have a few drawers and lots of compartments. Again you are looking for something that is as unique as your own personal identity, so you may want to hold out until you find that perfect “fit” for you.

[For me, my favorite color is purple. I highly doubt these ever came in purple, so green was a great alternative. As purple goes great with green it would be the primary lining color (more on this below).]

What You’ll Need To Make It

Craft tools to make jewelry box

The things you will need:

  1. Time (estimated 45-60 mins)
  2. Box to convert
  3. Felt for lining (several sheets depending on size)
  4. Tape measure
  5. Cutting mat
  6. Cutting tool
  7. Cutting edge
  8. Glue
  9. Spatula / spreading implement
READ
History & Origins Of The Cufflink

The only major direct costs should be the cost of the box to convert and the cost of the felt (well under $1 per sheet). You may also need to purchase or borrow any tools that you don’t already have, however all of the necessary tools are relatively common household items.

Step-By-Step Guide

1 – Clean Out Interior

Cleaning jewelry box interior

This particular box was very “farm fresh”, dirt, oil, and even some old nails to boot!

A quick wipe with a damp kitchen towel did the trick to have a clean surface for sticking felt to, and for keeping your items pristine.

2 – Measure Internal Dimensions

Measuing jewelry box interior

Measure the internal spaces of your box. For this box we decided to just line the bottom area, but you may want to consider lining the sides too.

3 – Cut Felt To Size

Rotary cutting tool and sissors

A rotary cutting tool on a craft mat with a cutting edge is best, but if you don’t have all three of those a pair of scissors will do just fine.

Cutting felt lining

Be sure to really press down (while being very careful of the blade), as the felt fibers can be relatively stubborn. See top section of the picture below to the right of the cutout, not perfect to say the least…

Felt lining for box interior

4 – Affix Felt To Box

We tried two different options, E6000 glue and hot glue.

E6000

E6000 Craft glue on felt and metal

E6000 is our go to craft glue for anything that involves fabric. First, apply a liberal amount to one side of the felt and spread it around. Then, place the felt in the bottom of the box. The nice thing about this method is that that you have more time to readjust / position the felt compared to using a hot glue gun, but you’ll need to let it dry overnight.

Hot Glue Gun

Hot glue gun affixing felt

Many people love to use glue guns. For many projects they are great, but for this project we would advise against it as the glue set too quickly in such confines, and left ridges. Worth a try, but not ideal. If you can get hold of a slower setting glue that would be best.

READ
Origins & History Of The Boutonniere / Lapel Flower
Which Glue Was Best?

E6000 v Glue Gun

By far the E6000 wins, with the only down side being the drying time. As you can see above, it leaves a much more professional finish compared to the ridges left by the hot glue gun tracks.

Craft tools to make mens accessory box

5 – Make Tie Bar Attachment

If you have a large collection of tie clips, it may be worth going the extra mile and making a clip board for them.

Cutting felt to size for tie bars

We wanted to make it thin, so as not to damage the springs in the tie bars. To accomplish this we decided to fold over a piece of rigid felt.

Making Tie Bar Organizer

As with the felt lining, we applied E6000 to the felt, spread out, and folded over. (Note: the bigger E6000 tube is much better for this, as has a much higher flow rate over the smaller tubes applicator)

6 – Admire Your Work

….that’s it! Once you have your desired box it’s a quick and easy conversion to make an accessory box fit for your needs and style.

Handmade mens vintage jewelry box

Fill It Up With All Your Sartorial Musts!

Mens accessory collection organized

Vintage tie bar collection

Organized mens jewelry box

Let us know how you get on with your jewelry / accessory box creations!

About the Author:

Paul Anthony is the founder and creative director at Bespoke Unit. He has had a life long affair with design, watches, fragrance and clothing. Originally from England, he now lives in the USA splitting time between NYC & Philly. Favoring "British Style", but has an overall eclectic taste.

4 Comments

  1. Giant cigar boxes all the way! I have a couple that I use for my straight razors and sartorial treasures. They’re very practical and already very manly!

    • Paul Anthony March 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Great suggestion Charles-Philippe!

  2. Josh January 25, 2016 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Do you notice your drawers being rather noisy? I recently found a set of drawers like this and began using them, but they make a terrible racket when opening and closing. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Paul Anthony January 26, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Hey Josh,

      To be honest mine do not make any noise. The one draw is a bit tight to pull out but that’s about it.

      I’ve recently purchased a much larger version, as my accessories collection got out of control, and non of those draws seem to have any issues either.

      Maybe just add a small touch of WD-40, or even look to maybe bend the metal slightly.

      Cheers – Paul

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