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Lacquered Agate Box

before and after lacquer diy DSC_6177

I love making things that are lovelier than something I’d purchase.  That is the whole point of DIY no?  For me, it’s either got to be less expensive or more cute.  If it isn’t either of those things, it really isn’t worth the effort. This agate lacquered box is both… prettier than what I would buy and way less expensive.  Would you believe me if I told you that the how project cost less than $20? Believe it.

I will confess, I had this box two other colors before I landed on a light ivory/beige called Light Sand.  I am really really trying to branch out from a color perspective.  First I had it light lavender, but that felt a little stuffy, so I went to a radiant orchid (the color of the year, right?) but that just seemed a little out of control for me.  You guys know me… I’m a black/brown/white/navy/gold kind of girl.  So, I just thought I’d let you know that I tired really hard, but couldn’t do it.  Light Sand it is.  I am beginning to embrace my neutralness.




I’m in love with the way it turned out and cannot wait to show you all how to make your own! Although there are a few steps, they’re all totally easy and can be done by anyone.  Shall we get on with the tutorial? 



lacquer box workflow


After removing the hardware, fill up the holes with wood filler and let it dry before sanding smooth.  Since your box won’t have hinges, it needs another way for the lid to stay on.  I chose to make an inner lip that holds the lid on out of thin balsa wood.  Since this 1/16th inch thick wood cuts with scissors, it’s so easy to work with.

Cut the balsa strips so that they’re the perfect size to fit snugly into the inner sides of the box, then glue them into place using wood glue.  While they’re drying, drill a whole into the center of the lid for the drawer pull to fit through. If you don’t have a drill, you can use a hammer and a nail.  If you are interested in getting a drill, this one is my favorite.  It’s very light and auto stops when a screw is tight.

After the holes are filled, drilled, and the lining is dry, paint your box inside and out. When the paint is dry, fix your knob into place.  If the ‘stem’ of the knob is too long, cut it off with a strong pair of wire cutters or a dremel.

DSC_6188 DSC_6193


So, I actually purchased a $5 box, a $1 piece of Balsa, and a $14 knob leading me to the grand total of $20.  I had the paint, wood filler, glue, etc on hand, but if you didn’t, the whole thing might still just cost $30.  Regardless, it’s a statement piece that will totally make it’s way into my next styling video!

It’s both a great deal and gorgeous! How soon will you make one?





17 Comments on “Lacquered Agate Box”

  1. Ashley Minck August 13, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    This is fantastic! I’ve been looking to buy one for a while, but couldn’t find anything that was exactly like what I want. Can’t wait to make one to house all of my random remotes.

  2. Alex @ Delishknowledge August 13, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Love this! Totally agree with DIY needing to be less expensive or cuter- I hate when I see something that costs almost as much as buying it- and it’s not even that cute! Will be trying this one!

  3. Madeline [madelinemade] August 13, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    this is genius erin!
    love it. you could sell these in your shop :)

  4. brittanyMakes August 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    beautiful!!! Genius addition with the balsa wood and the agate knob, definitely something I would like to try myself! PS – your rss feed is still broken :( you’re probably missing out on a ton of readers who read their blogs using a reader.

  5. lexi @ glitterinc.com August 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    This is fantastic (and I’m thinking one of these could look so cute on my baby girl’s bookshelf!)
    xx Lexi, Glitter, Inc.

  6. Sarah August 14, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    Hi, love the color! Did you use Tamiya spray paint?

    • Erin | House of Earnest August 14, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      Hi Sarah,

      No, I used a brand called Majic Diamond Hard. It’s just from my local mom & pop hardware store!

  7. Amy @ Homey Oh My! September 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    STUNNING, and I LOVE the paint color you used!

  8. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful September 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    BRILLIANT!!!! I am so doing this.


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