Epic Fail or Tiny Triumph: Upcycled Decoupage Cigar Box

I found this great cigar box during a quick walk through of a local Goodwill store. I considered it a win because I was able to get my Goodwill customer rewards card stamped (10 stamps and you save 20% off your total purchase and I only managed to spend $1.06 (with tax)  I had made a previous attempt to upcycle another cigar box and the whole project went terribly wrong!   I liked this box because unlike the failed project box, it was made only from wood.  The other cigar box was made from wood also; However it was coated in paper.  The Mod Podge adhered to areas like the lid creases and not realizing it also adhered to this “paper.” When I tried to open the lid it was glued to the box! Upon attempting to open it, the lid tore away from the box. Ouch!  That’s what I’d call an Epic Fail! I swore this cigar box upcycle would be different!  After all, decoupage boxes are usually fun and easy to make.

Wooden Cigar BoxFor the lid cover, I chose the John Waterhouse painting The Lady of Shalott.  My plan was to line the inside of the box with Ivory Damask scrapbook paper I had on hand.  First, I traced the box lid onto the back of the art print.  I then traced the bottom of the box, and inside lid onto the back of the scrapbook paper.  I then cut them out with scissors.  I applied Mod Podge with a foam brush to the lid and carefully adhered the print to the top of the box carefully, smoothing it out with my hands.  I allowed the box to dry, and repeated this process on the inside of the box using the scrapbook paper.

Once it was completely dry, I applied Mod Podge to the top and inside of the box.  I decided to leave the exposed natural wood on the edges inside.  I really love this box and as I always say “Now…. what shall I put in it?”

Decoupage Wooden Cigar Box Inside

The Lady of Shalott 1888Upcycle Cigar Box

The Lady of Shalott
1888 Upcycled Cigar Box


Art Print to Decoupage

1 Sheet of Scrapbook paper

Mod Podge

Fine tip marker


Foam Craft Brush


The Secrets Out: John Waterhouse Decoupage Wooden Box Craft

I was in Michael’s Craft Store picking up some scrapbook paper, when I took a small detour down the wood craft aisle.  They had every shape and sized bird house, jewelry box, and  storage crates just to name a few.  Normally, I would just walk down the aisle and keep going,  but today I was intrigued by the idea of creating a craft from new previously un-used material. Besides, I had already looked through my home, been out thrifting, and  spent work lunches at Goodwill, and was unable to come across a simple wooden box to decoupage.  I thought one of these wooden boxes would be perfect for my friend’s birthday which was still a few month’s out, so I had plenty of time to make it in between making other crafts.

Art Minds Wooden Box

Wooden Box at Michael’s.com

My friend is a fan of the arts and I had been searching for the perfect painting to decoupage for her.  I came across the artwork of John Waterhouse  and saw a print entitled “My Sweet Rose”  It reminded me of my friend instantly when I saw it, and I thought she would love the image. I traced the box lid  on to the print with a pencil, cut it out and placed it to the side.  I used a foam brush to apply the Mod Podge to the box lid.  Once applied I glued the image to the box, carefully smoothing out any air bubbles or wrinkles.  I allowed the piece to dry.  Once dry I applied another coat of Mod Podge to the top of the photo, sealing the photo to the box.

I decided to stain the box instead of painting it.  I used a wood walnut stain, but any wood stain, finish or color would work. It really depends on personal taste.  I didn’t want the box to appear too dark so I only applied two coats total. I allowed the box dry. While drying I measured out the floral wrapping paper I wanted to use to line the inside.  I applied the wrapping paper with Mod Podge. The biggest challenge was keeping the wrapping paper from bubbling up.  I find wrapping paper the few times I have used it, doesn’t work well (Keep in mind it is thinner paper and purchased from the dollar store) The floral print ; However matched perfectly and I decided despite the challenges to use it in this project. Once the entire piece was dry I used another coat of Mod Podge to seal the entire box. I allowed the entire piece to dry under a fan overnight.



My friend’s birthday was July 4th, and she received the box in the mail and loved it.  John Waterhouse it turns out is one of her favorite artists, and she loved the keepsake quality of the box.

That also means, now that the secrets out I can share this craft with all of my internet friends.  I hope you enjoy!


Used or new wooden box

Wood stain color of choice

Image/or images e to decoupage

wrapping paper (inside liner)

Craft foam brush


Paint brush to apply stain