Vintage Sewing Knitting Box Stand

If you sew, do needlework, knit or crochet then you'll appreciate the makeover I'm sharing today. This vintage sewing box stand dating back to the 30s was a simple project that took less than two hours from start to finish to complete. I've had two furniture knobs waiting in my stash for just the right piece and this was it.

Whitewashed Wooden Sewing or Knitting Box Stand


When my daughter-in-law sent me a text with a photo of this knitting box table that her best friend was getting rid of, I was more than happy to take it off her hands. You don't come across these often, especially ones from the depression-era.

Vintage Sewing or Knitting Box Stand Before

The wooden sewing stand was in very good condition, other than a stinky interior from the lid being closed for so many years. I share how I got rid of the smell later in this post.

Wood Sewing Notions Stand With Removable Tray Before

I couldn't bring myself to paint a solid paint finish that covered the wood on this vintage knitting box and compromised with a whitewash finish instead.

Depression-Era Sewing Box Stand After Makeover

Nothing says farmhouse like worn grain sack stripes and especially fitting for a sewing box.

Vintage Sewing Box Stand With Grain Sack Stripes

The Smith & Thomas Spool Cotton cabinet knobs from my stash were just too fitting not to add to the top of the wood flip-top lids.

Wooden Sewing Box Stand Furniture Knob

I kept the removable wood sewing notions tray unfinished but lined the bottom of each cubby with denim print wrapping paper that I had on hand. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for the perfect fabric to add later.

Vintage Sewing Box Stand Removable Notions Tray

To add some interest I painted the handle and base of the wooden box with the same dark gray paint used for the grain sack stripe.

Vintage Knitting Sewing Box Stand Makeover

After selling the mid-century modern knitting box table makeover I did a few years ago, I had seller's remorse and so this one is a keeper for my personal use.

What you'll need for this knitting box makeover

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Supply List

Sewing | Knitting Box Table
Clear Stain & Odor Blocking Primer
White Chalk Paint
Dark Grey Chalk Paint
Grain Sack Stripe Stencil
Sewing Cabinet Knobs (alternatives)
Denim Paper Liner
Clear Wax
Round Wax Brush
Shop Towels

Here's how I did the sewing box makeover

Paint bleed prevention

The wooden sewing box is made with mahogany and guaranteed to cause the tannins in the wood to bleed through the paint. To remedy this I brushed two coats of stain-blocking clear primer. This also eliminated the need to lightly sand the table for the paint to have some bite, which would have opened the pores of the wood even more.

Vintage Sewing Box Primer

Whitewash paint finish

The whitewash paint technique is so easy to do. It's essentially exactly how it sounds by washing paint on with a rag. To do this you mix a 50:50 ratio of water and white paint into a container. You scrunch a lint-free rag (I use shop towels) into a ball, dip it into the runny paint mixture, and wash it onto the wood. The more washes you apply, the less transparent the finish.

To add texture after the wash was dry, I dipped a paintbrush into the paint mixture and swiped across the box with long brush strokes. The paint I used is called Raw Silk by Fusion Mineral Paint.

Vintage Sewing Box Whitewash Paint

Adding grain sack stripes the easy way

The painted box needed a little something-something and so I stenciled grain sack stripes on both sides and the top. You can stencil grain sack stripes by using painters tape but I cheat and use this handy grain sack stripe stencil. I used a Hurricane Gray, dark gray color from Dixie Belle Paint Company that I had on hand.

Vintage Sewing Box Grain Sack Stripe Stencil

Get rid of that stink

I kept the interior of the wooden sewing box the natural wood but it had an odor combination of cooped up old and cigarette smoke. Not pleasant but an easy fix with the same stain & odor-blocking clear primer used on the outside of the box. After two coats the smell was pretty much gone. But I also put a bowl of baking soda inside the box for a few days as well.

Protecting the paint finish

To protect the painted surfaces I applied Dixie Belle clear wax with a round wax brush. Clear wax deepens the color of the paint too, which is lovely.

The jewelry on the sewing box stand

The final touch to the knitting box stand was drilling holes in the center of the flip-top lids with a drill bit the same diameter as the screws that came with the furniture knobs. It's not often I have a makeover that's finished in two hours and they are such a treat. The nice thing about a whitewash finish is that the paint dries lickety-split.

Throughout this makeover, I often wondered about the history of this little sewing stand. What creations were made while using it? How many times did it change hands over the years? Where did it originate? Do you ponder these questions when upcycling old furniture or home decor?

If you have any questions about this makeover, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

Here are some small chest and trunk storage ideas you might like as well as some small vintage storage makeovers.

Vintage Knitting Sewing Box Stand Before and After

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.



  1. The grainsack stripe is perfect for this piece, Marie! You should be an affiliate for them;)

  2. GREAT that your daughter saved this lovely box!!! I was fortunate to find a sewing box on legs with 2 drawers. For the drawer lining I used the fabric ticking (like old feather thicks), and it complimented the antique sewing machine transfer I used on the lid. I also wonder what treasures were created from the contents of this box.

    LOVE what you did!

    1. Sounds like you have a real nice one of these, Ceyla. The two drawers must come in very handy. I thought about using ticking fabric to line it but need to find some. Where did you get the antique sewing machine transfer from?

  3. Marie, you did this justice! Your wash was the perfect touch to keep the story and give it new life. Bravo!

  4. Marie, this sewing cabinet had a lot of character before you worked on it but I think it has even more now. I love how it turned out with the grain sack stripe and especially the knob from your stash. Perfect! It would be interesting to know the stories this piece could tell if it could talk, wouldn't it?

    1. Thank you Naomi, I'm glad you like it. I was very hesitant to put paint to this old stand but now it works in our home to have on display, unlike before.

  5. Marie, you did it again! You took a ho hum project and knocked it out of the ballpark.

  6. Great project. That flour sack striping and those knobs are just perfect to update and complement it!

    1. Thanks Kathy! While I contemplated going with color on that grain sack stripe to tie in with the colors of the knob, I had to tell my color loving self to hold back. This one just needed to be simple and neutral.

  7. I'd love to see the interior of this stand in more detail. How does it function?

    1. The interior is just a box for storing things like skeins of wool, knitting needles, needlework and the like. I left the interior untouched so it still has the original finish. At the top it has a sliding/removable notions tray (see photo in post). The top has two flip top lids on either side of the handle where I've added the knobs. I hope that answers your questions, Kelsey. 😊

  8. I love this! I remember that one of my grandmothers had one of these. I wish I had it now.

    1. Hi Michelle, I'm so glad you like what I did with the knitting stand! I feel like that about a lot of pieces that my Mom and Grandma used to have. If only we knew how popular they'd become several decades later.

  9. Such a beautiful makeover and great piece! But you sure got me on the handle! Oh my word...

    I'm featuring this beauty in tonight's DIY Salvaged Junk Projects. Thanks for bringing it over! :)

    1. Hi Donna, thrilled to hear it'll be feature tonight, thank you so much! xo I found the handles at a local antique mall this summer and just had to have them for "that perfect upcycle one day" so you can imagine my excitement when the knitting stand came my way.

  10. Absolutely gorgeous, Marie... I would love to have one of these.

    1. Thank you very much, Julie! It isn't often you come across these lovelies.

  11. This vintage sewing knitting box stand turned out so cute. I love how it turned out!


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