Sunday, May 20, 2012

DIY Jewelry Display

For Mother's Day this year, I trolled Pinterest for unique ideas for my mama, who's got everything under the sun... and more.

I came across some neat framed jewelry display ideas originating from a blog called Pairs & Pours, and thought I might give it a shot.  
idea 1, with branches
idea 2, with burlap fabric, knobs and drawer pulls

Here's how I ventured into making one:  

1.  Found a neat old frame, refinished it with spray primer and paint.  My mom's favorite color is turquoise so it was an easy choice.

 2.  Cut a piece of 1/2-inch MDF to size.  I needed a solid backing because I wanted to install knobs and drawer pulls for the jewels. 

3.  For added plushness, I wrapped the MDF in batting, like I was upholstering it.  Cut a piece to size, about 2 inches extra on each side.  (In the shot below, the batting isn't cut yet)

4.  Staple the batting to the MDF.  If you're trying this, start in the center of each side and work your way to the corners.  Pull it taught but not too tight.

5.  I had some nice fabric leftover from our homemade headboard.  Here it is laid out flat like the batting, repeat the stapling as in Step 4.

Voila!  The upholstered back board.

6.  Now, how to attach the board to the frame?  The trouble was, the board ran thicker than what was originally in the frame, and stuck out the back, so there was no easy way to attach the two together.

I had some pieces of floating floor lying around, and noticed the groove fit just right.

 So I cut them to size...

 And drilled them into place...

Pretty clever, if I may say so.

There was one slight, tiny, minuscule drawback:  the pieces kept coming off and the whole thing would break apart.  This happened three times.  At this point, I was less happy.

My advice?  Don't seal up frames with pieces of floating floor!  There is a more suitable solution, which you'll see below.

Then, I ran into some more issues.  Friends, please learn from my mistakes.  Do not do these boneheaded things!

7.  Preparing to add the hardware.  As I pre-drilled some holes for the knob screws, the drill-bit caught on the batting and spun it a zillion times before I realized there was a problem.

After battling with the drill to back it out from the MDF, a rock-hard wad of batting had formed under the fabric that I needed to hack at with an exacto knife to break loose.

I then had to extract it out through a tiny hole, running the risk of tearing the fabric, and also ripped out all the nearby batting.  So much for a nice cushiony bed for the jewels.

Battling the wadded-up batting.

Not only that, but the drill-bit was also catching on the fabric, trying to twist it round and round and almost ripping it from the sides.

From that point on, I pre-cut little slits in the fabric & batting to let the screws through.  Easier, but not perfect.  Next time:  no batting whatsoever.  The slits:  a must.

pre-cutting slits in the fabric and batting to let the screws through.

8.  Adding the hardware.  Finally!  I had these two dainty little hooks that I knew would be perfect for bracelets.

I just used whatever screws we had in stock, looking for the right length.  Once done, I realized how hideous they were!

these heineous screws have to go.

 So I dug through the screws we had and found more suitable ones. 

Better screws.
9.  Last but not least, I needed to figure out how to hang the whole thing.  At that point, my husband came into the garage, and I'm so glad he did.

Clever Husband Idea #1:  work on a raised surface, since the hooks on the front make it impossible to work on the back.

raised up on blocks.  yes!
Clever Husband Idea #2: create a solid, strong grid to compensate for the board sticking out from the frame.   Add hanging hardware securely to grid.

I heart my clever husband.

The final result:

A drawer pull on top for earrings; two little hooks for bracelets; then two larger hooks for necklaces.


Good news is, even though making this was totally frustrating, I'm proud of the final result and more importantly, my mom loved it :) 

I know you've had some seemingly-simple ideas that went all wrong when you tried to make 'em.  I'd love to hear about them! 

Let me know your thoughts. xo

*** TOTALLY ADORABLE UPDATE: June 13, 2012 ***

My best friend Lindsay lives very far away, across the ocean in a land where they have tea and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.  I miss her terribly and always think of her at the most random times, and each time it goes something like this:

"Yay, she just popped into my head and I'm happy!" immediately followed by slumped-shouldered, "awww.  I wish she was here."

Well the other day, we were talking about nothing in particular (like we do best), and she said she had a What-Would-Val-Do moment.  A what now?

She had to find a way to hang her jewels and a looked around thinking, What would Val do with these if she were here?  Who, moi?

So she went out and got herself a whole bunch of little hooks and lined her little picture-rail shelf with them...  And then topped it off with a photo of us!   Isn't that the cutest?

Oh it just makes me want to punch her in the nose!  (Of love, of course!  Don't pretend this doesn't happen to you.)

Check it out:

Jewels hung beneath my favorite photo from my favorite trip to visit L in Santa Fe, when I was 3mo pregnant!

This just Made.  My.  Day.

By all means, if you ever have a what-would-Val-do moment, I'd love-love-love to hear about it!



  1. You are so clever and as you know an inspiration for my own jewelry organization today for which I'm VERY proud. I love this!


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