Bird Box DIY – No Artistry Required

What can you do with a wooden box when you aren’t an artistic painter?

The bird scene on this box might look like it was artistically painted, but it wasn’t…it’s an illusion.

Painted Box Technique

PAM (Painter Artist Mom) has the painting artistry gene in our family.  With a little help from our friends – paint, wax, stencil, computer printer, Mod Podge, ant hot glue – we can get close  to artistry without inheriting the gene.

Here’s how:

Paint the first coat with a medium-toned blue chalk paint substitute, like Valspar Ultra paint and primer super flat interior paint.

Wooden Box, Before Painting

Paint top and bottom, inside and out.

Box Painted Inside and Out

Paint a second coat of paint on the outside with Annie Sloan Arles.  Make messy and random direction brush strokes.  Don’t smooth out your paint…let the undercoat show .

Arles Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

When it dries, it reveals a hint of the under color randomly.

Using a leaf stencil, paint over the surfaces of the box.

Leaf Stencil

I used Annie Sloan Paris Gray color for the leaves.

ASCP, Paris Gray

It contrasts well with the Arles color.

Stenciling Complete

For the bird and nest image, I printed this one at The Graphics Fairy.  She has lots of neat stuff on her site!

Bird Nest Print

After decided the approximate size I wanted, I tore the paper into a random rounded shape.

Image Ready for Mod Podge

Attach the image to the lid with Mod Podge.

Mod Podge Image

Now it’s time to add a coat of clear wax and dark wax.

Clear and Dark Wax Added

I pulled an old feathered trim from my stash.

Feathered Trim

The feathers were loose and falling off, so why not use the feathers to glue around the edge?

Gluing Feathers

After gluing the feathers, it was ready for hinges on the back side of the box.

Ready for Hinges

I found these tiny hinges at Hobby Lobby.

Tiny Hinges

After attaching the hinges, it’s time for an old cabinet knob treatment.

Completed DIY Painted Box

You may not have realized that the box is in the room upstairs I redecorated in Nature, Navy, and White.

Clear and Dark Wax Added

See it under the Necktie Lamp Shade?  The colors match very well…quite by accident.

DIY Necktie Lamp Shade

There’s only one thing missing…secret treasures inside.

What would you store inside your box?  I’m wondering for a guest room, would hotel choices of lotions, shampoos, and conditioners be helpful?


SignatureUPDATE:  Patricia Neely-Dorsey, our local poet, just notified me that today is National Bird Day, and I didn’t even know it when I published this post.  So, happy National Bird Day!  🙂


  1. Kate (PAM=Painter Artist Mom) says

    Yea! I like the box finished this way. I would never have thought to Mod Podge the birds. Are the feathers clear-coated with something for wear or are they still feathery? Good Job! Love, Mom

    • says

      Thanks, Mom. You would have painted the birds yourself! That’s why you wouldn’t need to do anything with Mod Podge. 🙂 The feathers are glued on and feel slightly fuzzy – no hard coat over them at all.

  2. Robin says

    1st I have to say…..awwww…PAM is such a sweet mom. 🙂

    I like it! No, I LOVE it…being partial to BIRDS and all! So easy to do! I am shocked!

    Since it’s in the guest room…..what to put inside?
    CHOCOLATES!!!! (of course!)
    And maybe a little note for the guest telling them to have a lil sweet treat before bed. 🙂

    I always wanted a guest room. REALLY wanted one. I thought I could let my imagination go wild with the decorating. I 1st thought about it when my son was a baby. I was thinking “If I had a guest room my mom could stay over and help me”. LOL!

    I was thinking that same thought after kid #2. LOL! My mom is a trooper!!! She stayed over ON MY COUCH at times to help….she can sleep just about anywhere!

    Even though I’d still like a guest room…in the back of mind looms this eery thought….what if somebody we know falls on hard times and asks to come stay with us “for a little while”? And it turns out like one of those “I can’t get rid of them” stories…Yeah… I’ve seen too much of that on tv, I think. LOL

    I still want a guest room. We could always add a 2nd story onto the house! 🙂
    I already have a layout in my mind (with a huge master suite) in case the hubby ever decides that is in the cards. I am not holding my breath on that one though! LOL! But ya never know…miracles do happen! I am not giving up hope.

    (I like your style house…with that huge front porch and all….but up here….taxes kill that dream! LOL!
    NJ is NOT the place to move if you want a big house OR property. Just sayin….)

    • says

      Hey, what a great idea! Thanks, Robin. I have the perfect Peppermint Patties for that. We seem to have plenty of guest rooms now that kids have moved off to college. I’ve always heard to be sure your beds aren’t too comfy or guests will stay too long. Sorry it’s prohibitive to have porches in the north…but, then the weather isn’t that great for it, either. Come on down here where it’s warm! 🙂

  3. teresa says

    To answer your question, I’d put Kleenex in it! I hate the look of tissue boxes and most of their decorative covers. I might put a few travel-sized toiletry items in a small basket on the dresser, if there is one. Very sweet and professional job.

    • says

      I thought of that, too, but the size is all wrong. I guess I could do like you say and buy a travel size. I think I’ll check into that…may have room for tissues AND chocolates. Perfect!