Mid Century Makeover on Wooden Cigar Boxes

Mid Century Makeover on Wooden Cigar Boxes

Once upon a time on my blog, I upcycled a cigar box into a ring holder for my dresser. But I didn’t touch the exterior; rather, I just worked inside the box. So, when I recently found a pair of wooden cigar boxes while thrifting, I decided to do the opposite. And give them a mid century makeover on the outside!

Here’s the ring holder I alluded to above:

DIY ring holder

And the two wooden cigar boxes I found at Habitat ReStore. Extra long and in terrific shape!

wooden cigar boxes

I decided that their extra long size would make them ideal candidates for storage of some kind. All I needed to do was improve upon the exterior so that I could use them as decor if I wanted to!

craft storage in wooden cigar boxes

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Prepping the Cigar Boxes for a Mid Century Makeover

First things first, I wiped down the exteriors before doing anything else. That gave me a chance to really “feel” the print on the exteriors to see if it was raised or something similar.

cigar boxes for painting

I didn’t want to see hints of the words through my paint.

Sanding would be easy enough, just to remove traces of the words and ensure they couldn’t be seen through the paint. So, I grabbed our orbital sander and got to work.

sanding the wooden cigar boxes

Once again, I wiped down the cigar boxes to remove the sanding dust before moving onto the next steps.

Next, I needed to protect the hardware from the brush-on paint I planned to used. But taping them off wasn’t feasible, given how dainty the latches and hinges were.

So, I brushed on some Vaseline from my crafting-dedicated travel-size mini tub. Just on the hardware to keep paint from adhering to the metal.

vaseline on hardware before painting

NOW I could finally start painting them. I selected bold and bright color samples of Behr paint for the wooden cigar boxes.

upcycling the wooden cigar boxes

Painting and Stenciling the Wooden Cigar Boxes

I painted both boxes with regular old craft paint brushes. And while I tried to avoid the Vaseline-covered hardware (in general), I didn’t panic if I accidentally swiped paint over them.

paint colors for a mid century makeover

In the end, this is what they looked like after I was done painting. Once the paint was dry, I used a soft, clean cloth to wipe the Vaseline off the hardware.

Aren’t those colors divine?

painted cigar boxes

Now, for the mid century makeover portion of the project- the stencils! I selected a couple of mid century modern stencils for the makeover. Unfortunately, the artist who made these stencils discontinued them; however, Etsy may carry similar versions!

mid century stencils and matte metallic paint

I also wanted to try out this matte metallic paint for stenciling, as well. I’ve stenciled with regular metallic paint before, but thought the matte version might result in cleaner lines.

So, I centered my stencil, and stippled away with the matte gold paint. I had to go over the stencil more than normal because of the deeper color of the box. But I had a good feeling about the result…

stenciling a mid century modern cat

Mid Century Makeover on Wooden Cigar Boxes

And I was right! The matte metallic paint worked brilliantly for stenciling- very clean lines with almost a holographic shimmer.

mid century makeover with matte metallic paint

The colors are gorgeous and you might not even know these were cigar boxes to begin with! They are definitely pretty enough to place on a coffee table or elsewhere around the house.

painting and stenciling the wooden cigar boxes


Also, today is the second Wednesday of the month, which makes it Thrift Store Decor Team Day! Check out what my friends have been upcycling below. 

repurposed projects by upcycling bloggers

1. Repurposed Galvanized FunnelHouse of Hawthornes

2. Hanging Necklace OrganizerMy Repurposed Life

3. Painted Butterfly HousePetticoat Junktion

4. Balustrade Lamp MakeoverOur Southern Home

5. DIY Stoneware BowlDomestically Speaking

6. Mid Century Makeover on Wooden Cigar BoxesSadie Seasongoods

7. Repurposed Wire Basket into PlanterMy Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


I recently bought a collection of vintage artist’s paint brushes from this favorite Etsy shop of mine. And they fit PERFECTLY in one of the wooden cigar boxes. Bonus!

old paint brushes in a cigar box

Every now and again, a simple makeover project is just what the (creativity) doctor ordered. And I absolutely LOVE how both of my wooden cigar boxes turned out.

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea from a thrift store find, then you may also be interested in these boho pillow covers that I made!

boho pillow covers from upcycled sweaters

And for another MCM-inspired upcycling idea, check out this wall decor I made from a thrifted frame, too!

upcycling a picture frame with spoonflower wallpaper

Craft on!


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cigar boxes as mid century modern decor

stencils for a mid century makeover

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Kay Bowles says

    I love how the cigar boxes turned out! They would be the perfect place to keep small craft projects handy at night while watching tv with the hubs!..Pets cant get to anything and I don’t have to go back and forth from my craft room! Thank you for sharing!!!

  2. How cool are those! I need to get me some funky mcm stencils!

  3. You are amazing!! I Love all you do!

  4. Rebecca Payne says

    Great job as usual. Thank you for sharing.

  5. donna obetkoff says

    what i see is a very talented girl,I am past the age to be creative,but i sure enjoy seeing what you young girls are doing.way to go girls donnao

  6. I love how this makeover Turned out and they perfectly fit your vintage artist brushes!

  7. They turned out so cool!

  8. I love these! I have purchased some very nice cigar boxes and would like to make ring boxes! How did you make the cloth interior part to hold the rings? Thanks!

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