Vintage DIY Hatbox with Shabby Chic Style

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Hatbox with Rag Roses

This is my first time joining in on the  Destash challenge and I am quite excited.  My craft stash is ridiculously large and that’s how I want it. I hang on to little bits of leftovers to use up in small projects.  Once a year or so we travel to the USA so I always buy a stash of fabric and some craft stuff.  Having a stash inspires me to create. This is my stash of light coloured ribbon and leftover fabric flowers from other projects.

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A month ago I went to a seniors garage sale  3 hours after it opened.  It was so plucked over, I cannot believe the hatbox was still there.  The owner must have felt sorry for me stopping by when so little was left because he said if I wanted that box I could have it for nothing.

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With a little research I found out these boxes were used in the 1950’s and 60’s.  Maybe I should have kept it as is but the second I saw it I knew it was going shabby chic.  The box is solid with no rips of any kind, it just had some stains and discolouring.

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The only thing I purchased for this project was veil mesh,  it looks vintage to me and was expensive at $6.00 a metre (its 9″ wide).  I bought one metre for the base of the flower arrangement.

Painting the Hatbox

I started by painting the hatbox inside and out with two coats of blush coloured chalk paint.  Because the label is pretty and shows that it was originally an Eaton’s box, I gave the bottom only one coat of paint to allow the label to show through.

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I had some discount sheer curtain fabric, that I got for $12 /metre and  a bogo sale.  I had cut the bottom off of it for a lamp leaving the middle to use on this box.  It’s a creamy blush colour, I prefer it to be white, but I used it anyways.

Make the Box Top Frill

Measure the radius of the circle and add two inches for overhang, this will be  the width.   For the length, measure the circumference of your hat box and multiply by 1.5  to allow for the gathers.    Cut your fabric.

To edge the bottom of your fabric.  You can sew a rolled hem, or attach lace to the bottom like I did.   Fold the material in half and sew the short seam to form a large loop.   Gather the top of the material with a needle and thread, using long stitches.  Pull the gathers as tight as you can.  Set aside.

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Add any embellishments you like to the bottom portion of the box.  I gave this box a wrap around pearl lace ribbon.  To keep the ribbon even all the way around, place painters tape along the very bottom edge of the box.  Do this every six inches or so.

Start at the back seam, attach the ribbon with hot glue, using the tape as your guide.

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Once the bottom of your box is decorated, place the lid back on continue.

Make sure the top of your gathered lace is pulled as tight as possible.  Place a large dab of hot glue in the middle of the hatbox and center the lace over top. Press into place.

Add little bits of hot glue where it won’t show through the lace.  Under the pleats or where your lace pattern is a bit less sheer.

Make the Floral Arrangement

The floral arrangement disguises the central hole of the gathered lace.

To make the base I used the beautiful  veil eyelet.  Take one metre of eyelet, starting at one end fold in the lace making a loop, fold over the second and so on until you have four loops.  Sew it in the middle to hold it in place. Then glue to the middle of the hatbox lid.

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Add your flowers, you can use purchased flowers, rolled rag roses, home made peonies are some ideas. The roses I used were double layered pink tshirt rags and some leftover pink tulle.  I layered them together and rolled together into a rose.

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The plan was to add some ribbon, but the white I had was too light and the wider cream ribbon I had was too dark, boo hiss I had to skip ribbon.  I finished the arrangement with some small cream coloured flowers I purchased at Hobby Lobby last summer.

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There is enough material left over to make another hatbox,  I need to find a  similar sized round one.  Hopefully I can find something for the right price so I can use them as a gift box for my grand daughters.

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If you’d like to join in the Craft Room De-Stash Challenge, you can request to join our Facebook group here!



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  1. I like the new life you gave to the hat box. The adding lace and flowers really give it that shabby chic look.

  2. Leanna this is so pretty. It looks like something that would be sitting next to one of those girls from Downton Abbey. All the frills and lace. It is absolutely heavenly. I also have a collection of ribbons and flowers that I’ve managed to save over the years. I guess it is more common than I thought.

  3. This is so creative – you have such a way to pull things together and make it look amazing. I think it looks wonderful WITHOUT the ribbons. And your directions were so clear and simple ! Well done, all the way around – I am sure your granddaughters will treasure these boxes!

  4. Leanna, this box is so very pretty! I love shabby chic decor! The fabric & lace is so warm! Glad you are part of the Crafty destash!

  5. This turned out so beautiful Leanna! I love all the lace you chose! A beautiful place to keep special things!

  6. This is so very pretty. I could see a bride using this at a bridal shower and then holding special mementos from the wedding. Love it.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Denise, that’s a really great idea. I had not thought of it for a bride.

  7. Ooooohhhh I love all things pretty! And this box is extra pretty!!! <3 I was wondering if you have a tutorial on how to make those t-shirt roses but I think I made similar ones a while back, so I might just try remaking them…

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi, I can take a look online for you, but have never written a tutorial for rolled roses. There are so many different tutorials online now. This one you cut the material in strips, fold it in half, layer the two materials on top of each other and then twist into the rose. Please let me know if you need more info. Glad your going to make one.

  8. What a pretty thing! The colors and lace definitely put me in mind of shabby chic Victoriana. Great job!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Lydia, that is exactly what I was trying for.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Marie. This box was so much fun to put together. I just gave the feminine in me full freedom lol. Glad you like it. Have a wonderful week.

  9. What a beautiful find! I should really try to scope out items like this and revamp them. I love what you did with it!


    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Carrie. Its fun how every once in awhile you come across something in a yard sale and it just jumps out an idea to you. Its really exciting. It also makes me happy when I see it happen to someone else at the sale. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Have a great week.

  10. This is so lovely. It reminds me of a wedding for some reason. I love how delicate and feminine it is.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Debra. It was really fun to just go ultra girlish on it, flowers, lace, glitter And blush pink. I was in crafting heaven lol. Thank you for commenting.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Marci. I need to find one more. It was really fun to put together.

  11. So delicate and feminine, I love this! What a pretty and elegant way to makeover the box using destash items. You did a great job, it looks so high end! I’d love to find a box like this in an antique shop or boutique, but I’m sure it would cost a fortune. Great job!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you very much Molly. There we so many ways to decorate it, I had a challenge deciding on what I wanted. In the end the materials available helped guide me. I appreciate the comment very much.

  12. Oh how beautiful and so lady like. You have such a unique way of doing things Leanna. you inspire me. If I had to try and dress up a hatbox it would never look so pretty, you just have the touch

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I feel the same about your work it has a definitive feel to it. This project is one that I just allowed myself to have total fun with, bring on the pink lol

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Kristie.

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