• Julie @ Home On The Hill

The 'Lavender Fields' Hat Box Makeover

This old hat box had seen it's best days decades ago, and was in desperate need of some TLC!

See how it was transformed step by step from dull and dingy, to bright and fresh.



I bought this hat box online and once it arrived I could see it would be best suited to getting a full painted makeover, as it had crumbling leather trim that had lifted away on the corners, stitching that had perished, and most of the metal clasps were heavily rusted. Plus the interior lining was torn and dirty.




First step was to sand back the crumbling leather trim with a fine grit sandpaper to smooth it out and remove any loose crusty bits. I then cleaned the box all over with a damp cloth and coated the leather trim with pva glue to stabilise it. I also glued down any areas of trim that were lose due to the stitching being perished, and taped these areas tight whilst the glue dried.




In parts the trim had lifted away from the box leaving a gap too large to glue, or was missing altogether. So I filled these areas with air dry clay as there was no movement in the area where the gaps were, so the filler didn't need to be flexible. I sanded the clay back when it was fully dry.


Most of the metal clasps, hinges and metal feet were heavily rusted so I painted on a liquid rust converter which removes the rust and leaves them a deep bronze colour with a vintage patina. The main front closure had less rust but I gave it the same treatment so it would match the rest of the metalwork.



Onto the fun part, now all the cleaning and repairs were finished.


I used Porters Eggshell paint in the colour 'Popcorn', which has a matte finish that looks like chalk paint, all over the exterior of the hat box, being careful not to paint any of the metal work or handle. The box itself is made from a heavy duty cardboard with a leather grain pattern pressed into it. I carefully painted with a fairly dry brush over the makers logo 'Fordite' that was also pressed into the cardboard below the handle, and managed to retain it by leaving the recessed areas unpainted.



I had decided to use transfers I had of lavender sprigs to decorate the box, so this inspired me to try a subtle ombre graduated paint effect from the base of the box. I used Fusions Divine Lavender mineral paint which is also a matte finish.


Once all the paint was dry I sealed it all with a matte sealer from Rustoleum.


Next step was adding the rub on transfers from Iron Orchid Designs 'Painterly Florals' collection. I used the circular transfer for the lid and arranged various sprigs in groupings around the sides which I think looked nicer than a continuous row of sprigs that was my original concept. I also used a small flower on the base and inside the lid.



The original straps that held the lid from falling too far back and damaging the hinges had become brittle, so I replaced it with some white gross grain ribbon.


The final part of the process was to line the interior with fresh fabric, it was just glued in originally with a light cardboard backing. So I used the old fabric pieces as a template and glued the fabric to some cardboard to stiffen it for the lid and base, then glued the new lining in place. I used a fresh spring green and white gingham check I had in my fabric stash, I think it suits the bright fresh colours of the now painted exterior. As a final touch I applied a flower transfer to the centre inside lid.







I will use the hat box for storage in my craft room.

Let me know what you think of this makeover in the comments section at the bottom of this page. :)