Disclosure: This post is in partnership with True Value.
On August 25 my grandparents will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Yes, you read that right. They are both 93, still doing amazing and just as in love as they were 7 decades ago. They are such a special couple and I truly feel blessed to have them in our lives. Over the past few years they have slowly downsized their belongings and I’ve been really fortunate to inherit quite a few pieces from them. Today, I’m sharing the latest item I received and talking about how I turned a piece of my family’s history into a DIY Toy Chest With Lid.
My grandparents got married in San Francisco right before my grandpa was shipped off to WWII. He was stationed there for a little while my grandma lived in Washington State. I’m unsure of all the details, but during that time he shipped a box to my grandma and it came in this beautifully crafted wooden box. On the side is an inscription “San Francisco via Hong Kong” and on the other side is the original mailing label. How amazing is that?! I would probably pay money for this piece even if I didn’t know the people personally, it is just that unique and special.
One thing I would like to know is what could have possibly cost $1,000 back in the 40’s?! Must have been something pretty special.
We were already looking for toy chests for each of the kids’ rooms (and just about every room of the house) and I’m so glad I was able to take a vintage piece with meaning and turn it into a functional piece for my son’s room. It was a really simple project and something you can do with any old box.
Oh how I wish boxes like this were still made today. Could you image this beautiful box arriving on your door step? I can dream.
I’m going to show you how easily it was to finish the box and build a top for it.
– gloss polycrylic (and paint brush)
– pre-finished 6″X1″ pvc board (amount will vary depending on size of box)
– (2) 2″X1″ pieces of wood
– (6) 1″ wood screws
– white paint
– black metal handle
– black hinges (2)
This is what the box looked like before. It had been sitting in their garage for a long time. It was covered in spider webs, the paper was peeling off and it needed some TLC.
I use microfiber cloths daily. I love them. These are typically used for drying cars (you can find them in the automotive section), but I have found they are the perfect way to wipe off dust and particles from a piece before I paint or seal it. Everything sticks right to the cloth and makes the process so easy.
I gave this box a good wipe down and then took 120 grit sand paper and gently sanded down the corners of the box. I didn’t over sand, I really just wanted to smooth out the sides. I am the type of person who likes the original distressed look of a piece and I wanted to keep the original wear and tear intact.
Some of the corners were a little rickety, so I took my nail gun and added a few extra nails to keep it secure.
To finish the box, I gave it two coats of gloss polycrylic. I typically use satin, but I really like how the gloss looks on this piece. It gave it a really rich look.
Now onto the top. Guys, this part is SO easy. You will be making lids for all your crates now. First, you will want to measure the top of your box. My cut pieces will most likely be a different size than yours. I used pre-finished pvc board for my top. It does cost a little more but it gave it a smooth finish and is easy to work with. To secure the three piece together, I cut two 2″X1″ pieces of wood and secured them using wood glue and wood screws. I also gave the top 2 coats of white latex paint.
NOTE: The only tricky part about this entire process is making sure you place the stabilizing pieces at least 1-2″ from the outside of the box so it opens and closes smoothly. You don’t want those pieces rubbing against the sides of the box.
When securing the top to the box, I used two black metal gate hinges and then added a handle to easily open and close it.
I originally made this box to be an outdoor toy box since toys tend to overtake our garage and backyard during this time of year. But it just looked too good to leave outside so I moved it into Little Man’s rustic bedroom.
It matches his decor perfectly and I love having family heirlooms in each of our rooms. I can’t wait to show you the full reveal of his rustic space soon!
I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
Cool box! I’m so envious of your shipping box and wish my grandparents had saved things like this.
Mary Beth|Cupcakes and Crinoline says
What an absolute treasure and a such a beautiful way to incorporate into your family’s home.
What an amazing piece! That shipping label alone is enough to make me swoon!
Jeanie @ create&babble says
How fortunate you are to have this wonderful keepsake. I love how you made it functional!
Amy Anderson says
What a special story – and it’s SO beautiful!!
Cassie, Lovely Weeds says
I just love this story! What an amazing piece to have in your home. The mailing label is what really gets me!!