This wood box bag is inspired by the creations of iconic 1960s design Enid Collins. Her hand painted bag designs are sought after by vintage collectors. Walnut Hollow’s Classic Box is the perfect size for a mini wood bag. I made up my own design based on the variety of flat back gems I had on hand.
- Walnut Hollow Classic Box
- Acrylic paint in white, silver, and black
- Mod Podge Gloss
- 6 Large pink teardrop flat back gems
- 1 Large clear circle flat back gem
- 6 Small green teardrop flat back gems
- 4 Small clear circle flat back gem
- 12 Small pink teardrop flat back gems
- E6000 glue
- 1 latch closure – Mine came with screws
- 1/8 yd. White thin vinyl
- White thread
- 2 decorative nails – Decorative screws or screws and flat back gems could be used too
- A small round mirror
- Paper towels
- Paper plate
- Cup of water
- Wax paper
- Dremel cordless rotary drill
- 1/16″ Drill bit – You might need a larger drill bit, for bigger screws
- Flat paint brush
- Small detail paint brush
- Small foam paint brush
- Sewing machine
1) With the ruler and pencil, mark the center of the box top. Lightly draw two center lines across the box top.
2) Lay out the gems on the top of the box, as shown. Trace around the center large circle. Following the gem placement, draw an outline about 1/4″ from your design. Do this for the corner gems too. Remove the gems and set them aside.
3) At the box opening, find the center with the ruler. Mark lightly with the pencil. Line the latch closure up at the center. Mark the holes with the pencil. These are your drill marks.
4) On the wider part of the opening, mark a hole, 1″ from the box side and 1/2″ from the box opening. Repeat for the other side. These are the drill marks for the handle holes.
5) With the Dremel and 1/16″ drill bit, drill through the marked latch and handle holes. If you are using screws to secure the handle, you’ll need larger holes, so use a bigger drill bit that coordinates with the screw size.
6) Dump out the sawdust. Wipe the box down with a damp paper towel to remove any excess sawdust.
7) I like to paint with my object on a piece of wax paper. Doing this makes for easy clean up later. Squeeze some silver paint onto the plate. With detail paint brush and silver paint, Follow the design outline. Use the flat brush to fill in the design. Be careful at the corners, not to go over the edge. If you do, it’s ok. We’ll clean that up with white paint next. Wash your brushes in the cup of water. Dry them off with the paper towels. Let the paint dry, and repeat with a 2nd coat.
8) Squeeze some white paint onto the plate. With the detail brush and white paint, paint around the edge of the silver design, and hinges. Using the flat brush to paint the rest of the wood. Wash your brushes in the cup of water. Dry them off with the paper towels. Let the paint dry, and repeat with a 2nd and 3rd coat.
9) Squeeze some black paint onto the plate. With the detail brush and black paint, outline the silver design, covering where the white and silver paint meets. This makes the design pop more and blends the intersection better. I found only one coat was needed. Wash your brush in the cup of water. Dry it off with the paper towels.
OPTIONAL: You can paint the inside too, but avoid the joining edges, as they will likely stick when closed. I felt it was better to leave the inside paint free.
10) After the paint is completely dry, seal the paint with a thin layer of Mod Podge Gloss applied with the small foam brush.
11) With the screwdriver, screw the latch closure into place.
12) Lay your center gem design back onto the box. Squeeze some E6000 onto the wax paper. Pick a little up with the toothpick. Apply a thin coat to the back of the large clear center gem. Press the gem onto the box center. This glue doesn’t start curing for a few minutes, so you’ll have a little time to shift it a bit if needed. Repeat this to the other gems, placing them on the box where they belong. Squeeze more glue onto the wax paper as needed. Let the gems dry for 30 minutes before handling the box more.
13) Using the ruler and pencil, mark on the back of the vinyl two 1″ x 12″ rectangles. Save the remaining vinyl for future projects. Place the two strips together, backsides facing.
14) OPTIONAL I’m used to sewing without pins, so I had no problem sewing this pin free handle. You can’t use pins on vinyl, so if you can tape the pieces together around the edges. You will remove the tape after sewing.
15) I centered my needle and set the stitch length to 3.5, for top stitching. Starting at one corner, I back-stitched. Sew straight all around the rectangles, about 1/8″ from the edge. Back-stitch again at the end.
16) Push the decorative nails through the vinyl handles, centered 1″ from the ends. If you’re using screws, you need to use something else sharp to make the holes, before inserting the screws.
17) Squeeze a little E6000 on the nail post and vinyl back where it will lay down on the box.
18) Hammer the nails into the holes, pressing the vinyl down smoothly. Clean up any excess E6000 with the toothpick. Use light tack paper tape to hold the glued vinyl flat until the glue has dried. Remove tape after 1 hour. Let dry for 72 hours before using.
19) Enid Collins included a small round mirror inside her bags. Squeeze a little E6000 onto the back of the mirror. Place it centered inside the box bag lid. Press firmly. Let it dry with the lid open, for a couple hours, before closing.
Enid Collins has a large variety of designs to get inspired by, so take a look before creating your own version. While I used a Dremel power rotary drill, you could use a crank hand drill if you’re more comfortable with that tool. You can hand sew the vinyl, because it’s thin, but a sewing machine is much faster.
Abby has been an artist and crafter since she was a young child. She has been sewing and creating for 30 years. She has a degree in Fashion Design. She started her blog, Crafty Lady Abby in 2009, as a way of documenting her creations and motivating herself. She creates tutorials to share her creative knowledge and empower others to be creative. She tracks fashion and craft trends, writing about international fashion weeks, rounding up projects, and creating her own.