Easy DIY Spice Chest Made From an Advent Calendar Box

4 Materials
3 Hours

DIY Spice Chest made from an advent calendar box and air-dry clay. This easy craft tutorial turns a plain wooden advent calendar box into a gorgeous spice chest with clay fronted drawers decorated with acrylic paints.

Perfect for holding spices or little knick-knacks.

What is a spice chest?

Spice chests originated when spices were so costly and precious that their owners liked to store them in a bespoke cabinet.

These highly decorated spice cabinets or chests acted as a visual representation of the owner’s wealth. Although similar to apothecary drawers in many ways, spice chests have ceramic drawers to prevent the volatile oils in the spices from leeching into the wood.

I think that the combination of the wooden frame and pretty glazed ceramic drawers make spice cabinets such attractive objects. It is this look that I have tried to emulate with this easy DIY spice chest tutorial.

What we used for our Easy DIY Spice Chest.

  • Wooden Advent Calendar Box
  • Air-dry Clay
  • Paints and wood stain.

How to make our DIY Spice Chest

I started by covering the front face of each of the little drawers with air-dry clay. Air-dry clay grips to wood quite well as it dries, so I didn’t use any adhesive for this step.

First, I used a small ball of clay to cover the knob of each drawer before using a square piece to cover the front of each drawer. The video below shows the process in action.

Once I had covered all the drawers with the air-dry clay, I set them aside for 24 hours to dry. I then painted a base coat of white acrylic paint on each drawer.

Once the white base coat is dry, you can decorate the drawers. I used acrylic paints for this step, but I think permanent markers would also work well.

Finally, I stained the carcass of the advent calendar box with a Mahogany wood stain which provides a great contrast to the drawers.

Once everything has dried, arrange the drawers back into the box, and you have a beautiful spice chest to hold your treasures.

My DIY spice chest is definitely on the rustic side, but I love it.

It has pride of place on my kitchen shelf.

For more home recycling and upcycling inspiration check out the following posts.

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • Tammy Ourand Tammy Ourand on Apr 05, 2022

    How in the world do you know what spice is in what drawer ?

    thats a lot of opening drawers looking for the cinnamon!

  • Jan Jan on Apr 05, 2022

    Can you actually keep spices in these drawers ?

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2 of 3 comments
  • Thea Thea on Apr 05, 2022

    Oh thats so pretty!😍

  • Sherry Sherry on Apr 05, 2022

    So unique and clever: never would have thought to use the clay! Makes it look like the real ceramic drawers. Lovely!