Craft Organizing: Cigar Boxes

I love having my own little studio, but it’s quite chaotic most of the time because of all of the stuff I tend to hoard. Vintage hardware, old cigar labels, broken jewelry parts, and all kinds of pieces and parts I pick up at flea markets and thrift stores that I know I can find a use for one day in a craft project. But storing supplies in plastic bins out in the open isn’t too attractive, aesthetically speaking. I have plenty of plastic storage, but those are tucked away in my cupboards. And since vintage cigar boxes tend to have such beautiful graphics, I can hardly resist organizing with them.My hook on storing with vintage cigar boxes came the day I found and clipped out an image from a magazine of a large parts cabinet crafted to hold around 36 same size cigar boxes, acting as drawers. It was a bit like this fabulous one, below, that I found for sale on Etsy, but on a much larger scale.
Thinking I could create my own folk art organizing cabinet, I started collecting cigar boxes over the years to make a cool storage piece. However, finding same-size cigar boxes in quantity is not as easy as you might think, at least not at a price I can afford. So, for now, I’m settling for simply stacking my mismatched boxes, and had begun adhering vintage gummed labels to the fronts to mark the contents of the boxes.

However, the problem with stacking the boxes is that it’s really a pain to get to a box near the bottom, pulling it out with both hands while keeping the rest of the stack from toppling.

Enter: Label Holder Hardware with Pulls. The perfect solution. And with months and months of patience, I finally scored a wonderful box of gorgeous vintage holder/pulls from a kind gentleman on ebay.He mentioned after the sale that they had belonged to his father. I love stuff like that, don’t you? I mean, if you have to sell something that belonged to your dad, wouldn’t you want to know that it was going to good use rather than off to be sold and resold? Anyway, the quality of this beautiful old hardware is beyond anything I could’ve found new and with the pay-off of patience, I finally found it at a really low price. I was able to locate the tiny 1/4″ screws needed on ebay as well.Screwing in the hardware was seriously giving me a blister, so my husband loaned me his drill to create starter holes. That made the process so much easier and faster.I’m now in the process of filling the boxes and labeling each. And when I need something from the bottom of the stack, it’s so much easier to access.Here is a great source for similar hardware, Craft Inc. who sells on ebay or in their online store.Other solutions for adding pulls to stacking boxes is to tape a loop of ribbon to the inside of each box lid with the loop protruding out of the box just enough to grasp. The ribbon also helps with opening the lid as many box lids fit very snug.I found many of my newer cigar boxes at a smoke shop downtown. They set out their empties when they have them and I make a stack and make an offer. I also find them at the flea market. I don’t like to pay more than $5 a box, but if it’s vintage, in good condition and simply gorgeous, like these, below, that I found on Etsy, I don’t mind paying more.When searching Etsy, look under the vintage and supplies categories. On ebay, you can often find cigar boxes sold in quantity by searching using the term lot. Or, you can drive to Galena, Illinois to the antique shop that’s selling this awesome pile!Antique shop cigar boxes photo courtesy of Todd Klassy on Flickr.

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