Cigar boxes are not useless once the last cigar has been smoked. You can find cigar boxes constructed from such materials as wood, tin, aluminum, plastic, and cardboard. Many are collectors' items, because of the tramp art and advertising depicted on them, so you will want to preserve them. Otherwise, cigar boxes can be recycled and modified to suit a variety of purposes, particularly if they are made of a durable material.
Use a cigar box to contain your most precious jewels. You will need to line the inside of the box with felt or velvet fabric, to protect the jewelry and the box itself. Divide the interior of the box into compartments using strips of small wood. If you're lucky, you can find a small plastic organizer that will fit perfectly inside the box, but doing so may sacrifice some of the appeal of the original box. Because the design of cigar boxes is so varied, you are sure to have a one-of-a-kind jewelry box.
Cigar boxes can be used for many organizational purposes. They make great desktop organizers, as they are wide enough to hold pens or pencils. If you add compartments to the inside of the box, you can use it to sort such items as paper clips and thumb tacks. Cigar boxes can also make unique sewing boxes, with compartments to hold thread, needles, thimbles and more.
An artistic way to re-purpose cigar boxes is to create a Cornell box, a type of display box that makes an artistic statement using everyday objects. Joseph Cornell, a great symbolist, made these boxes famous, and used them to hold everyday objects and keepsakes. One such box used plastic ice cubes to symbolize jewels; another used a jar filled with colored sand, to symbolize powdered gold from a Mayan temple. To create your own Cornell box, line the inside of the box with felt or velvet and adhere your keepsakes to the inside of the box. A piece of glass is the finishing touch for this miniature display case. Of course, your box doesn't need to be as full of symbolism as Cornell's. You can use it to hold anything you desire, without making an artistic statement.
Music lovers may enjoy turning a wooden cigar box into a guitar. Cigar box guitars are a symbol of poverty and were created in the Depression Era by children and musicians who wanted to create music but had no money. A guitar neck and strings are attached to a cigar box, which serves as the resonator for the guitar. Today, cigar box guitars are facing a revival of popularity, with workshops and websites devoted to the hobby.
Cigar boxes make creative recycled gift boxes. You can decorate the outside of the box to personalize it for your gift recipient, or leave it blank if you prefer. Add jewels, glitter, magazine clippings and more to create a fun and unique gift box. After decorating the box, fill it with small gifts such as trinkets, photos or even cash. The gift recipient will be impressed by your creativity, and have a great box to store his own keepsakes.