reuse old makeup box

How to Turn Old Make-up Boxes into Art

I don’t know about you, but I also like the packaging when it comes to cosmetics. I find it difficult to part with many makeup and cosmetic product boxes, or I deliberately pick them up for some types of products in order to store them in my make-up table according to a certain pattern and to have quick access to them have (e.g. with blushes).

But also other boxes, I simply could not throw away over the years, because I found the elaborate and loving design just too good to throw away. Some perfume comes in a very detailed packaging, while the bottle itself is really simple. But just storing all the boxes in a shoebox under the bed and letting them gather dust wasn’t really right for me either.

With my dear friend Lena, I came across a wonderful use for all the pretty packaging and knew right away that this is THE solution par excellence: She simply turned all her old outer packaging into a work of art.

Over a few weeks, I kept tinkering with my personal picture and finally finished it a few days ago. Now it hangs over my desk and I’m happy every time I look up while blogging. The perfect work of art for make-up fans!

Today I would like to show you in a few steps and with a few tips and tricks how I designed my picture. Maybe it will also spur you on to search your make-up collection for old make-up boxes and turn them into small unique pieces.

Step 1: Gather the boxes and decide on a picture frame

For years I filled a small shoe box with pretty special packaging boxes that I just felt too good to throw away or that I didn’t want to part with because I associate a certain memory with the collection or the product. These could finally be used, but I also added make-up bags and the packaging of fragrance miniatures to allow the picture to be designed as freely as possible.

Of course, the size of the picture frame that you should get depends on the number of cardboard boxes. Or maybe you just want to create a small picture anyway, or several small ones next to each other. This is of course completely up to you, your imagination and your furnishing style.

I had a lot of boxes anyway and wanted to hang up a frame that was a bit off the norm. Luckily, you can find what you are looking for quickly at Ikea and you don’t pay very much for the frames. First I bought the “Marietorp” frame in black, but then I realized two things when I got home:

  1. The shape of the frame was a bit too squiggly for me and I wanted it to be cleaner.
  2. The design just turned out to be impractical because I couldn’t lay out the boxes in it in a targeted manner to plan my later artwork.

So hurried to Ikea and exchanged the frame for another one, namely the “Kokosan” model in white. Same price, different design and much more convenient to create. The frame is recessed so that you can easily lay out your boxes in it and pre-puzzle without obstacles.

Step 2: Have fun with the puzzle!

Puzzling is really to be taken literally here – and it takes time. I thought in the beginning that I would surely be finished in one weekend, but fiddlesticks! Either I did not like the arrangement or there was still a spot free, or no space for a box, but I definitely wanted to have included in the picture. So every few days I fiddled a little bit with the picture, discarded ideas again, added new ones, and so on.

If you start with the picture, plan really enough time, otherwise you are frustrated at the end, because it just does not go as quickly as desired.

Step 3: Crop and Glue

What you need for crafting:

  • a good pair of scissors to cut open the boxes.
  • a craft knife or craft scalpel for exact cutting of the boxes. (I bought this one from Amazon because it’s really cheap and much easier and more precise to use than a regular cutter.)
  • a thick base on which you can cut. (This does not necessarily have to be a cutting mat, if you do not need something else or have it in the house. I just took an old cardboard box and folded it several times.)
  • Glue
  • maybe some tape (if small corners have to be glued over or as with me a fabric loop)

I’m not the type to measure everything to the millimeter, I need creative freedom. Therefore, I simply cut off most of the boxes freehand along their edges and only added further side areas to a few (e.g. from a MAC Gloss from the Liberty of London LE, see penultimate picture).

Tip: If you have a rather restless hand, use a ruler to help you cut along!
You have to keep in mind that the boxes take up much less space in the picture after cutting than before. That means there will definitely be gaps. Eva avoided them in her picture by cutting out the boxes a few centimeters wider. I consciously decided against it because I preferred to fill the gaps with other patterns. For example, I also used the insides of some boxes, the pattern of which I simply liked so much, or colorful designs from the “package leaflet” of a perfume.

Step 4: Do the puzzle again, glue it on, done!

After cutting the individual boxes, you have to do a bit of a jigsaw puzzle again, as there is now more space between them than before when they were still complete.

Honestly, at some point I just glued the boxes on as I felt like it and consciously accepted smaller and larger gaps. I ended up filling these with excess pieces of cardboard, for example the inside of the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palette because I liked the polka dot pattern so much, or the inside of the MAC Toledo Blush for the same reason (you can see it in the picture below, the black and white circle pattern), etc.

Incidentally, I simply glued the boxes to the cardboard that came with the picture frame, which is quite stable. Here you have the choice between white or black as the background. I chose black so that minor inaccuracies are not so noticeable.

After the glue has dried, you can assemble the complete picture and hang or place it in the desired place.

By the way, my favorite corner of the picture is in the upper left corner. It simply contains the most beautiful designs for me and I really enjoy looking at them. The packaging of the Liberty of London LE from MAC is really something special thanks to the little birds.

All in all, a lot of packaging is built into the picture, with which I associate something special. Be it a certain phase of life, an event, or or or. For example, I incorporated the packaging for my engagement perfume (Shiseido “Zen”), but also for some special gifts from loved ones, some from specific moments (shopping around town with my brother, or makeup shopping with my best friend) and my very first MAC LE (“Surf, Baby!”).


The result is now an absolutely unique piece that delights me every time I look at it. It is already really something unique that no one else has in the kind at home, and at the same time also combines so many memories in itself.

I will certainly continue to save my Special Packaging makeup boxes and also other special outer packaging. And sometime there will be then maybe yes again such a picture. Or even several small ones – who knows


My name is Sofia, I am 21 years old, and I have a huge passion for people and life. I am constantly creating art, whether it be in the form of a photograph, a song, a video, a painting, a poem, or practically any other art-form I can get my hands on. I just adore bringing my imagination to life!

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