DIY Faux Inlay Box

I love personalizing my apartment with unique handmade items. This DIY faux inlay box is my latest creation:

DIY Faux Inlay Box | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYHave you ever had a DIY project go wrong? That’s exactly what happened when I attempted to decorate this box.

After seeing a lot of beautiful faux inlay projects in the blogosphere, especially this dresser from Little Green Notebook, I thought I would try this technique myself. I’ve had this little wood box for years, and I’ve always wanted to do something with it. It seemed like the perfect victim (emphasis on victim) for this project.

In the end, it turned out okay, but it sure took a while to get there. Lucky for you, because you can learn from my mistakes!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own DIY Faux Inlay Box:

  • wooden box, or other object to paint
  • gold craft paint, or color of your choice
  • white paint, or other light-colored paint
  • sponge tip craft brush
  • small angle-tip paintbrush with firm bristles
  • marker for touch ups

Using the sponge tip craft brush and gold craft paint, cover your box with a thin coat of paint. Let dry and then add additional coats, if necessary.

I used FolkArt Metallic Acrylic Paint in Pure Gold, and I was really impressed by the shiny, rich color.

DIY Faux Inlay Box: Paint Box with Base Color | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYAfter the last coat of paint dries, it’s time to add your inlay designs. Using the angle-tip brush and the white paint (I used Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint in Titanium White), carefully add your patterns. Take your time, and don’t load the paint brush with too much paint. You can always do a touch up later, but it’s hard to remove excess paint.

I recommend searching the web for potential designs; you’ll find lots of beautiful furniture to inspire you. Typical inlay patterns include swirling vines, stylized flowers, and sometimes more geometric shapes, all contained within a border.

Tip: start with the border, and then fill in with your chosen design.

DIY Faux Inlay Box: Paint Patterns on Box | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYThis is where things started to go wrong with my box. I’m a very impatient crafter, so I grabbed the first paintbrush that I could find. My brush had a soft rounded tip, and as you can see above, it was the wrong choice. I didn’t have a lot of control, so my painting ended up being very messy.

But did I stop to find the correct brush? No … I just kept on going.

DIY Faux Inlay Box: Painting Patterns on Box | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYAnd going …

DIY Faux Inlay Box: Painting Patterns on Box | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYAnd painted the whole box.

At this point, I was trying to decide if my design looked whimsical or just totally craptastic. My mind was saying “ugh,” but the impatient crafter in me was saying “it looks great!” Ultimately, I decided it looked horrible and set it aside.

After a few months of collecting dust, I picked up my box again and attempted to touch it with a marker (from this Recollections Set). It worked!

DIY Faux Inlay Box: Detail | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYYou can see the marker lines in the picture above. Basically, I traced the marker around the messy edges of my original design, slimmed down thick lines, and cleaned everything up.

It’s not exactly what I had in mind what I started, but I’m happy I was able to fix it.

DIY Faux Inlay Box | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYDIY Faux Inlay Box | Hello Little Home #craft #DIYI’d like to try faux inlay again on a larger piece of furniture, and I even have something in mind. Given my impatience, I’ll probably use an stencil next time though!

Here are a few tips for avoiding your own DIY disaster:

  • Gather all your supplies in one place before you start.
  • Make sure you have the right tools (see my paintbrush fiasco above).
  • Take your time, especially if you’ve never tried that particular craft before.
  • Pause occasionally to assess your work. If something doesn’t look right, stop and figure out how to fix it before proceeding.
  • If you’re not happy with the end result, set your project aside for a while instead of tossing it out. Maybe you’ll grow to love it, and if not, you can try to fix it.

Have you ever had a DIY disaster? Tell me all the gory details!

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  1. This is so pretty… it gives me such ideas! Tissue box, my cables and cords… ooh I love it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. What a gorgeous little box! I agree that it doesn’t look DIY and I love that you weren’t happy with it, but managed to salvage it with some clever re-thinking. Well done!