DIY Vintage Seed Box

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

I have been lusting after all the vintage seed boxes that I’ve been seeing around the internet.

Lusting after one doesn’t make me want to spend upwards of $100 for one though.

Vintage fuzzy Easter bunny bank

You know me, I’m cheap with a capital C. (I guess I could have just spelled it with a capital C then).

So I decided to try my hand at making one myself.

Authentically vintage? Not really.

In my price range? Absolutely.

Pink Rununculus


  • Paper mache box
  • Water-based stain
  • Seed packets
  • Mod Podge
  • Super cute doodads to accessorize your seed box

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box


Now, you could use an old wooden box for this, but for some reason around here old wooden boxes cost an arm and a leg. Possibly a spare kidney too.

So I decided to use a paper mache one I found at Jo-Ann Fabrics instead.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

It was part of a set of nesting boxes with attached lids and the whole set of 3 was around $9. But, or course, I used a 40% off coupon.

No need to pay full price at Jo-Ann’s. Ever.

I found these colorful seed packets at Wally World (Walmart to the rest of you).

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

I loved them, first of all, because the graphics and design have a vintage look.

And second of all, they were 20 cents each.

So not only were they inexpensive, but the 20 cent price printed on the packet made them appear that they were from a long time ago. A time when seeds actually cost 20 cents a packet.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

I started out by staining my box with Minwax’s Express Color in Pecan, which is a water-based stain.

Minwax water based Express Color wiping stain

Notice the clearance sticker and price. They only had this one tube with that price tag on it, so Mrs. Cheapo grabbed that tube.

Now, I’m not a chemist here or anything.

But staining a paper box with regular oil-based stain seemed to be courting a fire or spontaneous combustion or something, so when I saw this water-based stain I thought it was the way to go.

I applied the stain with a foam paintbrush, just painting it on in long strokes, to mimic wood. You can use a rag to apply it, but you won’t get the same faux graining as a brush.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

I did not do the normal wood staining procedures where you would apply a stain, leave it set for a few moments and then wipe off the excess. With this project I only painted it on and then let it dry.

It does look rather wood-like, I might add.

Then I cut the front covers off the seed seed packets that I wanted to Mod Podge onto the lid.

And put the seeds and the back covers into plastic bags, so that I could still use the seeds later.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

I also thought this would come in handy when the DEA finds a bunch of baggies in my cupboard :)

I applied the Mod Podge to the back of the packets and “glued” them into place.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

For the writing on the front of the box, I just printed out some wording on my computer, rubbed chalk onto the back of the paper, traced over the letters to get the chalk outline onto the box and then went over the chalk with a black Sharpie.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

Originally, I had planned to distress my seed packets with those fancy inks from Tim Holtz.

Totally off topic, but did you know that Howard Stern (the radio personality, not the one who was married to Anna Nicole Smith) is a fan of Tim Holtz’s inks. Small world.

Anywho, I tested a brown distressing ink out on a sample seed packet and because the packets have a sort of blue color to them, the distressing was coming out a distressingly strange color.

Not Mr. Holtz’s fault, just couldn’t get the look right, so I just skipped the distressing.

So, totally different look than I originally envisioned, but you know what? I’m sort of liking the bright colors!

We’ve had a long, hard winter and by golly, I’m going to let my bright and sunny freak flag fly!

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

Almost forgot, the bunny wanted me to show you that he has a problem.

He has hole in his back.

Vintage fuzzy Easter bunny bank

May have been a knife accident.

May be that he is a bank.

Could go either way.

I bought him from Polly’s shop, Georgie Emerson Vintage, and she says he’s old new stock. Or maybe it was new old stock?

Anyhow it’s vintage merchandise that was never sold before. Probably from an old store that went out of business.

DIY tutorial for making a vintage inspired seed box

Do you have a love of these old vintage seed boxes too?

If you have one I’d love to see it. I promise I won’t be jealous when you tell me you found it an an estate sale for 50 cents.

Edited to add: You know how you occasionally get an idea and think you’re all so creative and original and all that? Well, before I hit the old Publish button on this one, I Googled “DIY vintage seed boxes” and it appears that the amazing Debra at Common Ground also made one of these last year. You can see her tutorial HERE. Just didn’t want you to think that I was a crafting guru or something :)

Linking with Be Inspired , Feathered Nest Friday, Inspiration Gallery, Tweak It Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesday

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  1. says

    Pam, the bunny is vintage. My husband gave me one for Easter when we were in college in 1975! I still have him. Love the seed box idea. You also reminded me to go get the 20 cent seed packets before they run out. I save the packets for small gifts after using the seeds. So I guess I am cheap in all caps!

  2. says

    Love this idea and all the fabulous step-by-step instructions. Your Howard Stern reference completely cracked me up. Even though it feels like forever before we can plant, I must go get some seed packets. Another wonderful project, Pam. Well done!

  3. heidi defaut says

    as usual, i loved your post. very clever.i find it to be so much more fun to create something like this than to just get it somewhere. you did a GREAT JOB!

  4. says

    Great project! Thanks for sharing how you did it. Hey, that flocked bunny bank brought back memories. We had those as kids (’60s and ’70s).

  5. says

    You ARE a crafting guru!! This is the sweetest idea and I am definitely pinning it. I am a little craftily challenged but you did an amazing job breaking it down! Even I should be able to figure it out (maybe).

    Have an awesome weekend!


  6. Wenddie says

    I’m not sure what I like more your cool seed box or how you talk about it. I have a small wooden box and now I have something crafty to do with it. So glad I found your blog. Good entertainment. That is totally a compliment :) I also realized how cool I am because I am vintage too! I remember when those scary bunnies were sold in the store and probably owned 1 or 10 in my day.

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