I just finished two more hat boxes–one I bought on sale at a craft store and one from a thrift store.
I spray primed the largest one because it was covered in glossy flowered paper. Then I painted it medium grey. The other was just raw cardboard and I liked the texture and color just as it was.
I printed two antique hat maker signs I found online, and blew them up much larger. So large, in fact, that the type got a little fuzzy. So I had to go over them with an ultra fine sharpie. But they ended up looking great. I antiqued the paper (after printing them) by dipping it in coffee and sprinkling cinnamon in some places (then wiping it off ). Worked great. After decoupaging the signs on the box tops and sides, I antiqued the outside of the two boxes using various shades of semitransparent wood stain–I love antiquing with this medium! The last step was spraying them with a clear matte finish.
Here are all three of the boxes I’ve made over the past few weeks. They are a lot of fun to make and nice craft room additions for storage!