Vintage style DIY recipe box

In my efforts to simplify, I realized my adorable little “Cook’s Book” recipe binder was taking up counter space but not getting much use. It did a fabulous job of helping me consolidate far too many cookbooks, but while it was perfect living on my cookbook stand, it wouldn’t fit on a regular shelf and that limited my options for where I could put it. We’ll soon be moving to a smaller house, and I don’t know how much counter space I’ll have in my next kitchen.

I started the hunt for an old-fashioned but functional recipe box and I found this one from Rifle Paper Co. that I adore (polka dot!) — but I wasn’t ready to commit $40 until I knew if I’d really use it enough to be worthwhile.

So, I made my own.

vintage style DIY recipe box

*Note: this post contains affiliate links.

Using this little unfinished box for my project ($7), I pulled my trusty spray paint off the shelf and transformed it to my favorite color. I used satin finish Rust-Oleum paint purchased at my local Home Depot store; I can’t find a link for the aqua color I used (there’s no telling how long it’s been on my shelf!), but I really like this similar color in the same brand.


I also painted the grass, because I’m awesome like that.

Inspired by my antique breadbox, I found a font I liked and printed off the word “recipes” at approximately the size I wanted it on the box; I’m not an awesome letterer (is that even a word?), but I can copy things reasonably well. No fancy stenciling; I just eye-balled it.

recipe box
antique bread box

A paint pen would’ve worked better, but I’m an impatient crafter. When inspiration strikes, it needs to happen ASAP or it might not happen at all. Black acrylic paint was already in our craft supplies, so I used that and it worked just fine. The next day, I coated it with polyacrylic to seal it.

Budget friendly vintage-style recipe box:

recipe box and recipe cards

After much searching, I went with these recipe cards because they have plenty of room to write, even on the back side, and the design at the bottom goes perfectly with my box.

I love how it came out, and at only about $15 for the box and the set of recipe cards, my pocketbook is happy, too.