What to do with this box?

I received this handmade doll from a Korean pen pal when I was in high school. He made the box to ship it in. I want to use the cabinet pulls for feet but, I'm not quite sure what to do with the rest. I want to preserve the top on it. Anyone with suggestions, please answer :)
what to do with this box, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
what to do with this box, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
what to do with this box, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
what to do with this box, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
what to do with this box, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
what to do with this box, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
  66 answers
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Apr 07, 2014
    Try adding some molding to the box, it may help cover some of the rough spots. fill in with wood putty any areas that aren't covered. Paint a frame around the lettering on the lid, and varnish it to preserve the writing.
  • Z Z on Apr 07, 2014
    Oh, I don't think I could do a thing with it. It's wonderful just the way it is. If you want it raised up I'd make a base that it could set in so as not to change anything this young man did in making this sweet shipping crate. The doll is beautiful too.
  • Debbie Debbie on Apr 07, 2014
    It's a beautiful box ! A little bit of varnish on the top, that's all
  • Vicky Craig Vicky Craig on Apr 07, 2014
    how beautiful!!
  • Debra Anderson Debra Anderson on Apr 07, 2014
    The box is beautiful. Build a separate stand to put it on so you don't change anything on the box---other than varnishing it to help preserve the wood and writing on the box.
  • Doris C Doris C on Apr 07, 2014
    Debbie is right. That box has memories, preserve it in it's original condition.
  • Reposhture Studio - Kim Reposhture Studio - Kim on Apr 07, 2014
    Don't do a thing. It has so much character and fun! the history shouldn't be touched. But I would maybe use it to store things in, you can never have to many cool things for storage!
  • Jeanne Falkenstein Jeanne Falkenstein on Apr 07, 2014
    I would store items in it that make me smile and feel loved. I wouldn't change the box except to add a wood varnish to preserve it. It would go where I see it daily as a reminder of the love and blessing the box and doll were intended to be.
  • Betty Jaynes Betty Jaynes on Apr 07, 2014
    I would only add a finish to preserve it. It is a lovely part of your life. Just touch it up and use it for a memory box.
  • Joan Young-Santiago Joan Young-Santiago on Apr 07, 2014
    I would poly it not varnish it, I wouldn't want to make it too dark to read.
  • Mary N Mary N on Apr 07, 2014
    I have one of those! It is very beautiful. I got one from my brother in law one Christmas when he was stationed in Korea. She is a beauty.
  • Larry Lou Larry Lou on Apr 07, 2014
    I agree, I wouldn't change a thing other than varnish to protect it, it is wonderful as it is, as is your memory.
  • Mary N Mary N on Apr 07, 2014
    Mine is sitting and playing a sitar.
  • Donna D Donna D on Apr 07, 2014
    Just Varnish and make a stand to raise it ...the stand can be made to fit tightly put the pulls on the stand. Good luck!
  • Elaine S Elaine S on Apr 07, 2014
    I don't know what he wrote with ... a pen, paint, marker?? I would be careful before putting varnish or polyurethane on the top and just do a small spot to make sure the writing will not smear when you put a finish over it. Other than that, I would put a satin polyurethane finish on the box to preserve it. What a special treasure.
  • Cynthia Serrano Cynthia Serrano on Apr 07, 2014
    you could use fabric to make a "basket" liner for it --- and PRESERVE the box itself by making no changes to it --- it could be tied on with ribbons or snaps maybe :-)
  • Rae Rae on Apr 07, 2014
    I would use wood wax, it should not bother the writing , make feet for it and use as a table. Very cool box
  • Sherry L Sherry L on Apr 07, 2014
    If you want it on short legs wooden one can be bought cheaply. I wouldn't use those beautiful turned ones on the box. The box is part of the memory so I would try to preserve it, testing a small area where the writing is.
  • Helen Helen on Apr 07, 2014
    A nice storage coffee table would be a great...add feet to the bottom of the box to raise it up a bit and polyurethane the outside.
  • Debbee Winegar Debbee Winegar on Apr 07, 2014
    Just throwing this out there, Mod Podge to preserve it?
    • See 1 previous
    • Debbee Winegar Debbee Winegar on Apr 07, 2014
      @Peg I did some deep picture frames with antique hymnal pages using Mod Podge, they didn't smear or anything. I also put printed pictures of family using copy paper and laser printer on tiles and Mod Podged over them, they were awesome!! I love Mod Podge!
  • Luisa Martinez Luisa Martinez on Apr 07, 2014
    Leave as it is.
  • Lex263207 Lex263207 on Apr 07, 2014
    Wooden balls with one flat edge can be purchased at craft stores & home improvement stores. The flat edge allows them to be glued on with wood glue. You could stain them to semi-match the wooden box as it is. I see many people recommending to keep the box as is, & I respect that; however, if you do want to consider doing something else, you can attached salvaged drawer handles on either side for a decorative touch. You could also line the bottom although a map of Korea. Cut it to size. Use a permanent marker to write the story of the gift on the map, then modge posge to seal.
  • Pat Brown Pat Brown on Apr 07, 2014
    Get a sheet of glass the same dimensions as the top and use it as a coffee table, the writing would not be disturbed in any way. Maybe put rollers on the bottom. This is awesome
  • Faye Johnson Faye Johnson on Apr 07, 2014
    Leave as is. If you want it as a table have glass cut to cover the top. That way you take no chance of smearing the writing. A basket liner for inside, as suggested above, is a great idea.
  • Betty Finnell Betty Finnell on Apr 07, 2014
    It's a treasure just the way it is!
  • Pam Park Pam Park on Apr 07, 2014
    very special, so cool!
  • Charlene Neuenschwander Charlene Neuenschwander on Apr 07, 2014
    Varnish to keep top in tact then paint the rest of the box. on the lid you can cover with foam and upholstery fabric and make a seat out of it and store stuff inside.
  • Kathryn S Kathryn S on Apr 07, 2014
    As this box was for a doll, I believe it is too small for a piece of furniture???
  • AJ AJ on Apr 07, 2014
    Varnish to preserve and build a bottom it can rest in with feet. That way you can leave the box the way it is. Cut glass to fit the top if you use it for a table. Keep the memory...that's what gives it its charm. :)
  • Therese C Therese C on Apr 07, 2014
    If you are afraid the writing might smear, you could have a piece of glass cut to fit the top and add metal corner clips to keep it from slipping, then add the legs. A bead of clear caulk under the outer edges of the glass, then press down to seal it, would keep it from any moisture seeping under the glass itself. I love things like this and myself, would not risk varnishing it and smearing the original writing. Very nice! Wonderful keepsake!
  • Sockmonkey Sockmonkey on Apr 07, 2014
    Could you hang it on the wall with the 'lid' facing out and then use it for a 'memory' shelf for storage of special items?
  • Judy4justice Judy4justice on Apr 07, 2014
    Mod Podge will seal it and leave a clear finish.Its very easy to use, just brush on several coats,letting it dry between each one, should preserve it beautifully.
  • Patty Reisz Patty Reisz on Apr 07, 2014
    I think it would make a beautiful jewelry box. You could add leggs/feet to it and build a felt lined insert (or several stackable ones) for rings, etc. On one side of the lid, you can add something pretty to hang necklaces on, so that when you open the lid, you would be able to see them all. Preserve the writing as it is an important part of the sentiment of the gift. Whatever you decide, please post the finished project and good luck!
  • Linda Reader Linda Reader on Apr 07, 2014
    A wonderful picture or letter type memory box. I have one similar to this that my grandfather used to put his leather tooling tools in... and when I was little he used to get it and put it in teh chair to lift me high enough to eat at the table. Its soooo special to me! The memories are great! I think the modge podge or shellac sealant is a good idea. About how big is is?
  • Jackie I Jackie I on Apr 07, 2014
    Use a few coats of poly to preserve the top. Use very fine sandpaper to sand in between each coat. Look for some pretty Oriental themed paper to cover the outside and line the inside with some velvet or satin and use those knobs for the feet.
  • Teri Teri on Apr 08, 2014
    Spray on varnish might work well to preserve the writing without smearing it. I agree with the others who recommend keeping the box largely as is. I think it's a beautiful part of the memory. Maybe you could make it into a display table for the doll itself? To me that would be pretty cool. The doll is beautiful.
  • Dani M Dani M on Apr 08, 2014
    I would use a clear varnish to preserve the wood which would allow the writing on the top to still be seen without it being exposed to wear/scratches/moisture, I would not use the drawer pulls you pictured as feet unless they match the metal finish on the latch/hinges, otherwise it will look unbalanced, color-wise. If it were me, I would line the box with felt in the bottom and put jewelry or other such treasures in it. if the latch still works well, If the latch is weak, than barring nothing else, it would be a wonderful place to put the remote so it has a 'home' near your favorite TV chair. Then it would be less likely to be left stuck in the chair or couch cushions or knocked off the side table.....and you can enjoy seeing it every day.
  • Lucretia Randle Lucretia Randle on Apr 08, 2014
    we just turned a similar box into a keepsake box for my daughter to hold her sons "firsts" in..first shoes, pictures, outfits etc
  • Michele Walker Michele Walker on Apr 08, 2014
    Such wonderful ideas! Thank each and every one of you for your comments! I love Hometalk!
  • Meena M Meena M on Apr 08, 2014
    How big is it? Looks big. Put wheels on it and use it as rolling storage?
  • Mary McNamara Mary McNamara on Apr 08, 2014
    paint the side and seal the top so you can still see the names and like other people already said memory box sound wonderful !
  • Cindy Cindy on Apr 08, 2014
    Wow what an incredible gift... Preserving both is awesome. You could always take the top off, put clear coat on and then put some of the letters and photos from your friend and frame them all and out on wall... Not great at ideas but in awe of somebody's generosity and giving a gift like that. What a treasure.
  • Peg Peg on Apr 08, 2014
    The stuff is amazing ....like you, Mod Podge has been my friend on so many projects. I looked around and I think my home is 90% Mod Podge .LOL!
  • Margie Margie on Apr 08, 2014
    I like the ideas that you've gotten to use as a keepsake box. Another suggestion might be to frame the top with the writing, like you would a picture (although you might need to add a larger backer board under it since the writing goes to the edge of the box in one area) then put glass on top to protect the writing. If the box is large enough I would add large industrial iron wheels and use it for a coffee table. Please post your finished photos so we can all see what you decided to do.
  • Diane Mastermaker Diane Mastermaker on Apr 08, 2014
    I have a smaller box similar to that but without the hinges. Wine came inside it so I'm looking for a similar answer for mine as well. I'm just wondering if you could reverse the top so that the writing would be on the inside. This way no matter what you do to the outside you'll still have it preserved. I'd like to put hinges on mine and paint it so I'm looking forward to see your end result!
  • Hps323691 Hps323691 on Apr 08, 2014
    I have the same quandary over an old wood box filled with items, that my father sent my mother during WWII. I want to preserve it, but use it!!
  • Judy Martin Judy Martin on Apr 08, 2014
    you might want to seal the writing in some anthete Gold for Letters,and use longer legs/ use bronze on legs & trim out box in light & dark bronze with Gold written on letters use the nobs for opening & put Gold ribbon on tie nobs if you don't think nobs to large /Keep sake for ever ....... a sweet book,nice !!
  • Kaye williams Kaye williams on Apr 08, 2014
    I would say ting oil it to keep the wood hydrated, line or paint the inside and put momentos in it and put it in a place of honor. I have the same thing with an old beer box I have had for 30 plus years.
  • Capemom8741 Capemom8741 on Apr 08, 2014
    What a wonderful sentimental keepsake to store momentoes from your high school years. I would preserve the top of the box, but first make sure the product won't smear the writing since it appears to be written in ink. I would probably decoupage the lower outside of the box with a Korean motif in either paper or fabric. by using Mogpog .Perhaps a map of Korea or photos from a travel publication would add interest and color to the box. while maintaining the original top. I once lined a wooden box with fabric glued to thin cardboard which was carefully measured to fit the inside of the box. Personally, I wouldn't use the pictured nobs for feet. You can locate nice brass corners (8) online if you wish to embellish the look of the existing latch. Are you still in touch with your Korean pen pal? I started writing to my British pen pal 47 years ago, and we are still great friends! Have fun enhancing this box...
  • Michele Walker Michele Walker on Apr 08, 2014
    The things I know about what I want to do with this box: Use for storage of special items. And, I don't want to do any type of repairs to the box. I have several hand written letters, envelopes and Christmas/Birthday cards from my pen pal and would love to preserve/include with it. The damaged areas (of the box) tell a story of a time in my life I never want to forget. I will definitely posts pictures of my progress and finished project.
  • Lorie Mason Lorie Mason on Apr 08, 2014
    You could use some wood to make a separate piece to set the box on. This way you can use anything you want for the legs and at the same time you can make it as tall as you like without doing any damage to the box.
  • Donna B Donna B on Apr 08, 2014
    @Michele, Could you use a light colored stain on top and then cover it with poly to preserve the writing, then paint the balance of the box or stain it also? It is really a keeper!
  • Karen Bueche Karen Bueche on Apr 08, 2014
    I like the top being addressed. I think it would look really good to cover the bottom with that burlap they have out with a postage theme. Then remove the latch, put a new one on, and then put legs on it. The top could be stained or gently highlighted with stain. Then maybe paint the edges of the top black to go with the fabric. I think it would be an awesome box then for old letters, postcards, or even pictures.
  • Theresa Hughes Theresa Hughes on Apr 08, 2014
    I would turn it into an antique looking steamer trunk
  • Jun324246 Jun324246 on Apr 08, 2014
  • Robin Stauffer Robin Stauffer on Apr 09, 2014
    Upholster it, maybe strengthen it if people might sit on it. Also, give it big wooden feet and use it to store extra linens, throw pillows.
  • Denise Rankin Denise Rankin on Apr 09, 2014
    Do you remember what kind of straps the box had when you received this wonderful gift. I would keep it simple, poly the lid, paint the outside and line the inside with a suitable (oriental) silk fabric. Display the other items framed around the box. What ever you decide to do, you have received and shared a fantastic gift. Thank you.
  • Michele Walker Michele Walker on Apr 14, 2014
    Well I went to our local fabric store. Took the box measurements (12x9x24) with me. The clerk actually told me "We don't know anything about measuring fabric we just cut it and ring up the price." Needless to say, I'm going nuts right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Lex263207 Lex263207 on Apr 15, 2014
    I had a very similar box from a yard sale, except the lid was missing. Here's what I did.
  • Lex263207 Lex263207 on Apr 15, 2014
    Another angle
  • Fran Jantz Fran Jantz on Apr 15, 2014
    I just did a trunk today, added casters and painted it. Can be used for a coffee table and storage or just storage.
  • Michele Walker Michele Walker on May 25, 2014
    Here's the finished product! I'm so pleased with the way it turned out. Absolutely love the material, the pleated ends and my glass knob feet! Feeling very happy! Thank you to everyone that commented and gave me ideas and the courage to believe I could do this!
  • Denise Rankin Denise Rankin on May 26, 2014
    It looks wonderful! You did a great job!
  • Capemom8741 Capemom8741 on May 26, 2014
    Nice work, Michele! I love the fabric and the glass feet you have used. You were successful dressing up the box without loosing the sentimental character of the top. Enjoy your keepsake box.
  • I'd attach a sitting cushion on top and store other items inside. For the sides a poly to preserve.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Jun 30, 2021

    i cant see a good picture of it