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A hand-painted love letter box, with the look of antique lace. It's easy with paper doilies!

Antiqued faux-lace love letter box Love letters need a special place for safe-keeping. Here is a cozy letter box, with the look of hand-painted, antique lace. It is made easy with paper doily place mats, and a romantic Valentine postcard trimmed with a lace ruffle.


  • Vintage Valentine postcard (Adobe PDF file), printed on heavy photo paper or cardstock.
  • Cardboard cigar box.
  • Embossed paper doily place mats – you might need 3-4.
  • Ruffled lace trim, about 20”.
  • Decoupage medium (like Mod Podge).
  • Crafts & Supplies at joann.com!
  • Spray paint. We used dark red, matte finish.
  • Craft paints. We used pink, yellow, dark green and medium brown for the antiquing wash.
  • Oil or water-based polyurethane.
  • Craft glue.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Craft knife (or razor blade) and cutting mat. Scissors will work fine.


  1. Cigar box, painted red, with doiliesSpray paint the cigar box with at least two coats, inside and out.  let it dry between coats.
  2. Carefully cut the lacy border from the placemats. Center the borders on each side of the box, and cut to fit. For the top, cut four pieces to fit around the top, then miter (45-degree cuts) the corners.

  3. Doily boarders, glued to boxBrush decoupage medium on the back of each lace border, and position them on the box. Smooth them down with a slightly damp rag (see Tips). Let dry.
  4. Brush on one coat of matte polyurethane.  Let it dry.

  5. Painted details on doily bordersWith craft paints and a fine brush, color in the details on the borders. You can use a paint pen, too, but you’ll miss the messy “hand painted” look we were aiming for.
  6. Apply another coat of polyurethane and let dry.

  7. Applying the brown wash for antiquingMix up a little brown wash (1 part brown acrylic paint and 2 parts water). Working with one side at a time, brush on the brown wash, wait 20 seconds, and wipe it off gently with a rag. If too much brown accumulates, dab it off with a damp rag. You want "age" accumulated in the embossing, not sediment (see Tips).
  8. When it dries, brush on another coat of polyurethane.

  9. Affixing lace ruffle with hot glue gunCut out the postcard image, and with a hot glue gun, attach the ruffled lace trim along the edge on the back.
  10. Affix the postcard to the top, with the hot glue gun, or with foam mounts.


  • Be sparing with the decoupage medium.  If the doily paper gets too wet, the paper will absorb too much water, the embossing will flatten and the paper will buckle.
  • Line the inside of your box with velvet. Cut a cardboard piece to fit the bottom of the box, cover it with a velvet scrap glued around the bottom edge with hot glue, and glue it down inside.
  • Add a little gold latch to your letter box, with glue, for charming but questionable security.

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