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Thrifted Box Upcycle

DIY thrifted tea box upcycle! Try this simple thrift store flip to make a gorgeous modern decorative box on a budget!

Decorative box with text overlay "DIY decorative box, easy thrift store flip"

Russel, my husband, and I thought we would have some fun with thrift flips recently and sent each other to the thrift store to find objects for the other person. One of the things Russel came home with was an old tea box!

The tea box was on its last legs. The door was falling off, and it was in need of some TLC. I had an idea immediately to make a beautiful, fluted decorative box, and I’m so glad I went for it!

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Thrift Store box

How to do a Simple Fluted Box Upcycle

Materials Needed

Tools Needed

  • Mitre saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Clamps (optional)

Step-by-step Tutorial for my Decorative Box Upcycle

My plan was totally inspired by this jewelry box! I loved the black lid and the fluted design, and I was pretty sure that I could recreate something similar!

Fluted Box from CB2

I started by taking the top off. The box didn’t need the glass anymore so I removed it completely, and planned to build a new MDF lid.

Removing DIY decorative Box Lid

I grabbed a whole bunch of dowels from the dollar store that I could use to add texture all along the sides.

Dollar Store Dowels

The box was not very square, and it needed to be so that my dowels sat flat and straight. To fix this I decided just to glue the inner pieces in place. This brought the sides of the box together and kept the length consistent.

While that was getting squared up I measured the side of the box and started cutting my dollar store dowels to size. I just put a block on the miter saw so that i didn’t have to measure every dowel, and I could cut them all quickly. Then I measured and cut the dowels for the long and short sides of the box.

Next, I used a sanding pad to sand all of my cut edges to get them nice and smooth before moving on to the lid. All I did for the lid was trace the old lid onto some 1/2 inch MDF and cut it out with the miter saw.

When it came time to attach all the dowels I used construction adhesive because we had it on hand. I smoothed everything out and then it carefully added the dowels in place.

The most important part of this was making sure that the dowels were lined up correctly. If not, then the whole box may look “off” when it was done.

Gluing Dowels on Box

I also added dowels to the sides of the lid so everything would look smooth and continuous. The lines for the lid will essentially disappear when the lid is in place.

Gluing Dowels on Box Lid

When took the tape off, I was really happy with the progress so far. Everything was stuck on beautifully, and lined up perfectly.

Measuring Top of DIY Decorative Box

I was originally going to use the same hinges for the lid that it came with but I realized with the dowels in place that the hinges would no longer work. So instead I cut a few little tabs of MDF and I attached those to the inside of the lid so that the lid would sit on nice and snug.

Once the glue was dry the final step was to paint it all with a glossy black spray paint.

Spray Painting the DIY Decorative Box

The Finished Box Upcycle

Here’s how my DIY decorative box turned out!

DIY Decorative Box

I love this piece. I think it would be beautiful for like holding jewelry, storing anything on a vanity or on a desk, or just added as a prop on a shelf. It’s just a really nicely designed piece!

Decorative Box DIY
DIY decorative box

More Thrift Store Flips on a Budget!

This DIY Decorative Box was one of 4 modern thrift flips I did for under $2! Check out the video below to see how I made the other modern, budget-friendly thrift flips!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great home decor thrift flips on a budget!!

For more great thrift store DIY ideas, check out these High End Thrift Flip Gifts!

DIY decorative box

DIY Decorative Box

Yield: 1

DIY Decorative Box thrift flip! Try this simple thrift store flip to make a gorgeous modern decorative box on a budget!


  • Thrifted box
  • Wood glue
  • Dollar store dowels
  • MDF
  • Construction adhesive
  • Painter’s tape
  • Glossy black spray paint


  • Sanding pad
  • Measuring tape
  • Mitre saw


  1. Remove top from thrifted box
  2. Sand the box
  3. Glue inner pieces in place and clamp them to the sides to keep the sides in place and the box rectangular
  4. Measure sides of box and cut dowels to size
  5. Sand the cut dowels
  6. Measure lid and cut piece of MDF to match the size of the lid
  7. Glue dowels to sides of box and sides of lid
  8. Tape sides of box to hold dowels in place to help the glue set
  9. Remove tape when glue is set
  10. Cut small pieces of MDF and glue to lid so the lid sits snug on the box
  11. Once glue dried, paint everything with black spray paint

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