My New Old Cheese box

New Cheese box transformed with Camembert label transfer and stain

Welcome back diyers.  We are about to transform this plain, ordinary, humdrum cheese box  into a unique, one of a kind masterpiece. 

Did I oversell?  Well, it will be cool.

Wooden Cheese Box

From what I can tell, cheese boxes were first used in 1890 to ship cheese from Europe. Specifically Camembert cheese from Normandy, France.

This is my original cheese box.  I am almost positive it is not from 1890. I think the staples on the box give it away. Anyway, my box was brand spanking new with absolutely no character.  It is a great size, measuring 15 inches across by 5 inches deep.

I originally bought it on Ebay with a totally different project in mind.  If you must know, it was a lighting project, part of a chandelier…that’s all you need to know because this is obviously not a lighting project. Once I got my box in the mail, I was totally unmotivated.  It no longer said “lighting” to me, it said cheese box.

Old vintage cheese boxes are beautiful, they have patina, they have age, great for display and storage. I needed a vintage cheese box…

Stained Wooden Cheese Box

Time to make my own. 

Step one was staining the entire box inside and out.  Where the wood was really rough, the stain was soaked up and appears much darker than where the wood was smooth. So far, my vintage cheese box doesn’t appear too vintagy, just a little darker.

Stay tuned, I’ll correct that in a bit.

Flickriver Photoset 'Vintage Camembert Cheese Labels' by Dave Caplan -reversed image.bmp

This image was found online here.  Or, if you google vintage cheese labels, you can find tons more.  Apparently somebody loved designing labels for Camembert Cheese.

 If you are going to do the image transfer that I’m about to show you, you must flip the image in your photo editing software first.

After reversing the image, print the label out as large as you can on a standard sheet of printer paper. Your printed circle should be about 8 inches across.

If you don’t want to flip the image, you could modpodge the label directly to the cheese box which will give a much sharper look (not as vintagy).

Mod podging a label onto a wooden cheese box

To give the image a bit more of a vintage, faded look you can easily transfer the image with modpodge.

Cut out your cheese label image. Put a layer of modpodge on the cheese box where the label is going to be attached.  Paint another layer of modpodge on the front side of the label (the side with the printing)

Wooden cheese box label transfer with mod podge

Center the label on the cheese box, smoothing out any air pockets and bubbles. Let the image dry overnight.

Wooden cheese box label transfer with mod podge-001

So, you got a good night sleep and you’re ready to reveal your vintage label.

Spray the paper with water until it looks thoroughly wet.

Wooden cheese box label transfer with mod podge-002

With your finger rub the paper until it begins to peel and reveal the image.  If the image dries and it still looks a little white, you may have to peel more paper.

Label added to wooden cheese box

A new, old label is revealed.

I still didn’t care for the final color of my cheesebox.  While it looked stained, it didn’t particularly look old.


Went to my acrylic paint stash and pulled out black, a brownish color and a rust.  Mixed the paints with a little water and attacked my cheese box once more. 

Note: Don’t mix your colors entirely, you want a little of that color variation on your wood.

adding a paint stain to cheese box

The left of the cheese box has just stain, the middle is freshly painted, and the right side was painted then immediately wiped off with a paper towel.  The paint is now acting like a stain.

I left the inside of my cheese box with just the stain since that had already achieved a nice dark finish.

Sealing a cheese box with mod podge

The entire exterior of the cheese box was given a coat of modpodge.  The modpodge gives it a bit nicer finish than just the paint/stain and it also covers up any mod podge shiny leakage around the label.

New Cheese box transformed with Camembert label transfer and stain

New Cheese box transformed with Camembert label transfer and stain

New Cheese box transformed with Camembert label transfer and stain-

New Cheese box transformed with Camembert label transfer and stain

I’m thinking that this box would make a terrific Christmas present…maybe filled with cheese and a bottle of wine.

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