Secondary Storage

Published on August 4th, 2008 | by Jules Yap


Angie’s George Nelson-Inspired Jewelry Cabinet

You may have seen this over at designspongeonline some time back, but I finally got round to posting it. Angie’s George Nelson-Inspired Jewelry Cabinet finished 4th place in ds’ DIY Contest.

It’s also the best use of the Fira drawers I’ve seen so far. Love love love it! Nice work, Angie.

jewelry cabinetjewelry cabinetjewelry cabinetAngie says, “I work in fashion, and therefore have a rather large collection of clothing, jewelry, shoes, purses, etc. The problem has always been ‘how to store this stuff in a way that protects it, as well as makes it easy to access’.

As a city dweller, I’ve come to the realization that I’ll never have a giant walk in closet, but I thought there must be something small I can do to give myself that luxurious and organized ‘walk in closet’ feeling.

jewelry cabinetPreviously all my jewelry was stored in my boyfriend’s old fishing tackle box. (Luckily he’s not exactly an avid fisherman, so I think the box had only been used once or twice, therefore it’s not stinky). While flipping through an issue of Domino magazine I came across an amazing walk in closet with an equally amazing jewelry storage cabinet. I quickly flipped to the sources page, and discovered that the jewelry chest of my dreams was designed by George Nelson (pic, right). Sadly it was $1400. Slightly out of my budget, especially for a jewelry chest.

Even though I couldn’t get the Nelson chest, at least now I knew what TYPE of thing I wanted, and so began my quest for the DIY version. After mulling it over for about 6 months, I happened to be picking up some frames at our local Ikea, and lo and behold, what did I find but the perfect substitute in these drawers.

Now all I needed was the base. I thought about trying to track down a vintage side table base, but in the end I found what I needed at Ikea as well, by using the base of the Fornbro side table. (can’t find the link on Ikea’s website)

1) I first stained the pieces (2 coats of stain) and gave them about 8 coats of varnish with some sanding after the second and sixth coats. I did so many coats of spray varnish in order to get a really smooth even finish.

jewelry cabinetjewelry cabinetjewelry cabinet2) I then lined the inside of the drawers in vintage wrapping paper and covered the bottom with cream coloured felt. I needed some way to keep all the earrings and necklaces untangled, so the tiny metal tins with glass lids from Lee Valley Tools were perfect. They come in many different sizes and are surprisingly affordable.

jewelry cabinetjewelry cabinet3) I attached the base with simple screws (making sure they are only the depth of the thickness of the wood.

4) Lastly I attached the 3 drawer sections to each other with a zig zag of heavy duty glue in the centers of the sections to be glued together. I used ‘No More Nails’ but I think a lot of other types of thick glue would work.

I’m so happy with how this project came out, and most importantly I will now be giving ALL my jewelry the love it deserves, simply because now I can actually find it all! The only thing I might have to change is the base. It seems a little less stable than I would like it to be. I may add the round table top (which I did not use) and place it under the entire thing attaching it to the legs, basically using the entire sidetable as it was intended, but upside down. I would then paint the table/base entirely white, since the round table top is black and doesn’t really go with the look I’m going for.

It’s a pretty easy project, and I’m very happy with how it came out. I think it would look equally good with some other techniques, like painting the wood, or covering it with wallpaper or wrapping paper.”

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

35 Responses to Angie’s George Nelson-Inspired Jewelry Cabinet

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ha, I have four Fira drawer sets that I couldn’t quite see moving with me to my new home in summer but I think I just changed my mind. Great idea!

  2. geoff says:

    In case somebody’s curious – here’s the FORNBRO table in the german 2008 Ikea catalogue:

  3. Anonymous says:

    What type of drawers are these? The design and height is great!

  4. plasticfloor says:

    amazing! I’d definitely do that if I had a way of spraying paint on the drawers..

    is this painting workspace just something you have lying around your “too small for a walk in closet” city apartment?

  5. Love this one…I’ve been meaning to take a trip back to ikea anyway. Maybe I’ll do a version of this for spice and cutlery storage for the kitchen. Thanks for the idea!

  6. shanghei says:

    Why didnt you add these knobs

    to make it look more like the one you wanted?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am totally going to do this!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is ingenious!

    I’d love to know the final height with the base?? (depth and width I can get from Ikea)
    Angie are you out there??

    thanks in advance and job well done ;-)

  9. So says:

    I like Angie’s more than the original one… -blush-

  10. Amy Bee says:

    I just finished my version of this hack, and I will offer some words of warning…the drawers are a nightmare to put together, perhaps the worst IKEA assembly I’ve had to do (and I’ve done a lot!). Since the table is hard to find, I ended up searching craiglists from across the country and finally found the fornbro table. Overall, though, it does look great in a MCM/Danish/Modern house. Thanks for the brilliant idea…I will certainly enjoy my new cabinet space!

  11. kekek says:

    good idea :)

  12. Margaret says:

    I think you just saved my marriage!

  13. Angelina says:

    Love the idea and can I say I love your curtains. Did you do that yourself Angie?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Love it! What color stain is that?

  15. upi says:

    so cool…
    combination of modern and vintage.
    amazing look..

  16. Manuelita says:


  17. burrito says:

    This is awesome. I’m also jealous of the workspace that allows such professional painting – Cool!

  18. wow, your good!!! i wish i was that good…my mom is awesome at this too….

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  19. All4Naija says:

    It`s pretty easy project as you said but, also an amazing one.

    Great, indeed!

  20. TAYzt-Buds!! says:

    Oh I so LOVE this idea! Really creative! Can I just say that I’m absolutely falling in love with this blog? It’s so full of fantabulous ideas! It just keeps the wheels turning BIG time in my head! Keep it up people!

  21. Michele says:

    This is such a great idea! I love it!

  22. Chris says:

    I do love the result. I have done something similar although with the drawers turned around 180 degrees and white knobs added. Everybody asks where did I get the Antique drawers…IKEA

  23. i love cheap turned vintage. thanks much for the idea

  24. Anonymous says:

    I want to like it. I really do.

  25. M2JL says:

    Very nice… Might copy this one day as well. Thanks :)

  26. Gràcia says:

    I love the result! If only I had a space to paint like that one… Painting our kitchen table was a nightmare!

  27. tjarrett says:

    That’s fairly brilliant. It would make a pretty spectacular sheet music cabinet, too. Hmm… (scheming)…

  28. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE this hack! I will definitely have to attempt my own version of this!

  29. Nicola says:

    What a great idea. I love the chests, but those legs attached to the bottom look out of place and make it look top-heavy IMO.
    I don’t think much of the original’s legs either, though. YMMV.

  30. Alicia says:

    I saw this on D*S originally, but I love it so much more now seeing the process and the comments along with it. I might try this myself, some day.

  31. The Style PA says:

    Awesome! Looks great.

  32. maritessb says:


  33. Chuck says:

    Really nice, you’ve inspired me. My wife has needed something like this for a long time…..

  34. sandra says:

    Nice blog

  35. Anonymous says:

    I agree- that is really nice. I’m so doing that!

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