How to Paint Cigar Boxes

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In an age when most consumable items are sold in packaging made of paper products or disposable plastic, cigars are one of few items that are still commonly sold in their classic, attractive wooden boxes. When empty, these boxes make an excellent foundation for painting crafts. Transform your old cigar box into a decorative storage piece using a painting process designed to conceal the commercial markings of the box while taking advantage of its shape.

Things You'll Need

  • Cigar box
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Straight razor blade
  • Medium-grain sand paper
  • Fine-grain sand paper
  • White matte acrylic paint
  • Stencils or white objects to trace
  • Colored acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes

Dust out the cigar box, removing any remains of cigar paper or tobacco. If necessary, use a stiff-bristled brush or old credit card to remove dried leaves that might have gotten stuck in cracks and crevices of the box.

Remove any stickers or paper wrappings. Use a straight razor to scrape them off if they're stubborn. If the box you're painting has its hinged top attached only by the paper covering, removing the paper will leave the top unattached. Decide whether you want to leave the paper in place and paint over it (though this won't look as good), give the top a new hinge (like a jewelry box hinge) or leave the top unattached.

Sand the box by hand with medium-grain sandpaper, then run over it a second time with a fine sandpaper. Pay special attention to the inside edges of the box and the corners, as these will usually be the roughest spots.

Dust the box with a dry paintbrush to remove the dust from sanding; this will improve the paint adhesion.

Give the box a primer coat. Cover the entire box with a layer of matte white paint, painting in three sessions; do the outside, then the bottom of the box, then the inside, letting the paint dry between each session. If any of the designs of the cigar box are still visible through the paint, give it a second coat (you want it to be uniformly white when you're done so as to create a consistent palette for the rest of your painting).

Sketch the outline of the design you want lightly in pencil over the white paint. Use stencils or trace flat objects, like coins or paper patterns, to help you get the shapes of your design just right. Erase and redraw any mistakes until you are happy with the design.

Fill in the pencil sketching with colored paint. If you plan to paint over any of the pencil lines you drew for a visible outline, paint these last, letting the colored portions dry first.

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References

  • "Cigar Boxes Purses & Projects (Design Originals)"; Delores Frantz and Suzanne McNeill; 2004
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