Making a Jewelry Box

When I was thinking about preparing the jewelry gifts for my fiance, I encountered a unique problem: there was a traditional Vietnamese necklace called a kien – a solid loop of gold ten inches in diameter. We had a set of three made in Viet Nam, but we needed a way to present the gifts at the ceremony.

Vietnamese áo dài and jewelry (Kien)

Vietnamese áo dài and jewelry (Kien)


I couldn’t find a jewelry box that was ten inches in diameter, so I thought it’d be nice to customize a special jewelry box. I wanted to personalize it by engraving her initials on the lid. I had envisioned something scripty with a lot of swashes, but street art influences found their way into the final sketches.

Initial sketch of... initials.

Initial sketch of… initials.

I started with a wooden box at Michaels. I transferred my sketch to the box, then used a woodburner to make it permanent.

Initials sketched onto Jewelry Box

Initials sketched onto Jewelry Box

I started with the Universal point for the outline. Once the outline was complete, I used a shader tip for the inside.

Initials woodburned onto Stained Jewelry Box

Initials woodburned onto Stained Jewelry Box

Inside the Jewelry Box

The inside of the box is divided into two sides: one, tilted to mount the kien; the other, divided into ring rows.

Custom Jewelry Box (Inside)

The Inside of the Jewelry Box

Making Ring Rows

For this I used:

  • 1 sq yd Red Microsuede – You’d think felt would cut it, but it looks like crap. Considering how much time you will invest in making this box, splurge a little bit and get a nicer fabric.
  • Foam Board – this will form the structure of the insides of the jewelry box
  • Medium Density Foam Core – fabric store
  • Foam (optional) – stiffer than foam core, more flexible than foam board
  • Woodburning Iron, Blade Tip – this is used to score the foam board, and a heated blade will melt through the foam core
  • Spray Adhesive – to wrap microsuede around the foam core

I used foam board to give structure to the insides and serve as the divider. The “soft” parts, such as the ring rows, are foam core wrapped in micro-suede.