Introduction: 50's Romance Comic Book Jewelry Box

Cornier than any early Superhero comic and more terrifying than anything EC ever put out, Romance comics were a large part of the comic book industry from the late 40's to the late 70's.  It was a world made up of girls next door, brazen hussies, gentleman and cads.  There were shockingly early declarations of love, tears (and more tears), and lots of mix ups that I'm pretty sure Three's Company appropriated. 

I wanted to do something with this genre and decided that a jewelry box was the way to go...mostly because a girl just doesn't have time to make a hope chest anymore!

The last step of the Instructable consists of close up shots of the panels in case anyone else is preparing for an important date.  There are also some random panels from other romance comics scattered among the steps because i couldn't help but include them.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


After and extensive review, this single page feature called "Good Manners Will Make You Rate with Your Date" seemed like an excellent candidate. Not only could the whole piece be incorporated into the project, but it is also a nice review as a gal prepares for a big night out with a new fella.


Tacky glue
Wood Glue
Modge Podge

Parchment Paper
Graph paper


8 sets hinges/screws

Assembly square
Binder clips
Cutting mat
Flush saw
Mitre saw

Step 2: Prepare Comic

I was concerned that I may be scolded for using the actually page from a pre-code comic.  Just in case, i want to assure any hardcore bag and boarders out there that this comic was far from VG condition.

The panels will be placed on top the box with only a couple more layers of shellac, so Modge Podge it up with at least 10 coats.
Once it is completely dry, carefully cut out panels.

Using graph paper to finalize the lay out is helpful to me since it can be cut up and used as a template for the box pieces. 

Step 3: Measure and Cut Wood

The overall dimensions of the box are 10 3/4" long, 7 1/2" wide and 2" high (the actual depth of the storage area is 1 1/4")

Bottom Piece
1/4" Walnut 10 3/4" long by 7 1/2

Sides of the Box
3/8" padauk 10 3/4" long by 1 1/4" high (2)
3/8" padauk 7 1/2" long by 1 1/4" high (2)

The corners are mitre cut and keys were added for extra strength.  This is my first attempt at these, so my method may be a little odd.  Plus, if you are using those fancy electric-powered tools, you'll do these in two seconds rather than my tedious and less accurate hand cutting.

That being said, I used two scrap pieces to cut two 1/8" notches.  This was the template.  Then sides of the box were labeled on the ends (A/A, B/B, C/C and D/D) so I would keep them in order and each set was put between the template pieces and cut and sanded as needed.

The Box Tops
Top Lid
1/4" Bubinga and 1/4" Cherry - 7 1/2" long and 4" wide

Middle Lid
1/4" Bubinga and 1/4" Cherry - 7 1/2" long and 3 1/2" wide

Bottom Left Lid
1/4" Bubinga and 1/4" Cherry - 3 3/4" long and 3 1/2" wide

Bottom Right Lid
1/4" Bubinga and 1/4" Cherry - 3 6/8" long and 3 1/2" wide

The top pieces of the box were 1/4" Bubinga and 1/4" Cherry, glued together before cutting.  I wanted to keep the original color of the page (cherry) but still have the richer color inside (bubinga).  Plus, then it looks more like the page of the comic is sitting on top on the box, especially when then veneer is added.

Inner Dividers
3/8" Mahogany - 7 1/2" long by 1 1/4" high (2)
3/8" Mahogany -13/16" by 1 1/4" high (1)

Step 4: Glue Box

The sides were glued using an assembly square and clamps.  Once dried,  I used tiny scraps of bubinga for the keys, glued them into the notches and used a flush cut saw to trim them.  Then the sides were glued to the base.

The dividers were placed in the natural panel breaks, so i measured against the lid pieces, marked the spots and glued in the mahogany dividers.

Step 5: Add Velvet Lining

The interior of the box should be dark and plush... just like only red velvet would do!
  • Using the graph paper template and measured out cardboard for (lid area minus sides and dividers)
  • Cut velvet, leaving a 1/2" boarder around the cardboard
  • Flip and cut out corners.
  • Glue velvet to cardboard
  • Hold in place with binder clips until dry

Step 6: Marking and Drilling for Hinges

I measured and drilled holes prior to adding the finish, but did not add the hinges themselves until the end.

The hinges were placed:
  • Top lid - 1" in from the top side
  • Middle section - 1/2" in along the left side
  • Bottom Left lid - 1/4" in along the left side
  • Bottom Right lid - 1/4" in along the right side

Step 7: Apply Finish and Add Pictures to Lids

All pieces were sanded and a couple coats of shellac applied.

The pictures were glued down with a thin coat of wood glue.  After the glue was thoroughly dry (very important!) the last few coats of shellac were put on.

Step 8: Edging

The edging along the left side is meant to look like the torn edge of the page.  This was a last minute addition that I think worked well.  The box looked far too plain without it.

I just broke the veneer lengthwise, leaving the shape the grain created.  Then it was just a little wood glue, some weight to keep it flat as it dried (and the panel wrapped in parchment to keep it from sticking to anything) and light sanding.

Step 9: Assemble

Putting it all together...
  1. Glue in velvet pieces
  2. Attach all lids with hinges
  3. Add final coat(s) of shellac
Now fill with jewelry, jewelry making tools, diodes, guitar picks, vitamins, condoms, your stamp collection, your healing crystals, or anything else you enjoy and think about how fantastic it is to be able to enjoy all those things : )

Step 10: Good Manners: Full Page

I wonder if this was a little bit of feminism sneaking in or an underpaid comic book writer trying to encourage ladies to chip in on the bill.

Comic Contest

Participated in the
Comic Contest