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Do it yourself: make your own small wooden boxes

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Do it yourself: make your own small wooden boxes

It can be the gift or the box that the gift is in, but either way, making these little wooden boxes is fun and easy.
Small wooden boxes are a unique way to give a gift, or just give the box itself as the gift, for holding jewelry or other personals. The wooden boxes can be made in various shapes with a lid, then you can paint or otherwise enhance the box. To do this job easily, you'll need a table saw, a miter saw and a router. Since splintering often happens when working with wood, be sure and use eye protection and gloves. Decide the shape and the dimensions for your box. The box can be rectangular, triangular, or round, but it's recommended that you use a very thin piece of wood for this project, such as 1/8" to 1/4" slats. Mark the exterior and interior faces. Clamp a stop block on the fence of the saw to cut the end and side panels to length. Although it takes extra time to use a stop block, this will assure more exact joints. Cut your 4 side pieces of the exterior. Assemble the box with clamps, but do not glue the box yet. A piece of fabric should be placed between the wood and the clamp to prevent any damage to the box. Check each corner with a tri-square and make any necessary re-cuts.

When you're completely satisfied that the box is square, remove the clamps, glue the joints with a small paintbrush and reassemble the project, using clamps or tape to hold it until glue dries. Excess glue should be wiped off immediately after clamping by using a clean rag to wipe along the joint, not away from it. This will smear the glue on the box itself. A good wood glue should be sufficient to hold your project, although some people choose to add a few additional, tiny nails to make sure it holds. If you're working with extremely thin wood, the nailing of the project may not be appropriate, as it can cause splintering of your box.
After selecting the wood pieces to be used for the top and the bottom of the box, cut these pieces slightly larger than the box itself. Check to see if it fits correctly, then glue the bottom into place. Clamp and sand the bottom until it is flush with the sides of the box. For the lid, you'll decide how long you want the sides of the lid to come down on the box, then cut these sides the necessary width of the wood. Clamp, then check to see that the lid fits easily onto the box. The lid should not be tight but should not wobble, either. After you're satisfied that the lid will fit correctly, glue the sides to the bottom of the lid and after drying, sand lid to be flush with the sides.

You can now paint the box after a light sanding, and various techniques can be used for decorating the box. After painting, you can use rub-on appliques to decorate the lid, or glue small wood pieces in the shape of a flower, then paint a different color. You can also attach a knob on top of the box lid for easier opening. This can be a purchased knob, a wooden ball, or even a large bead. Most craft stores have inexpensive, pre-cut wooden shapes like animals, stars or letters which can be easily glued to the top or sides of the box.
If you'd like to add veneer to the outside of the box, veneer the 4 sides first, then the top. Use a router to round the edges of the box, if desired. You can also add cork, felt, shelf paper, wallpaper or fabric to the inside bottom, as well as the outside bottom of the box. This can also be done to the inside lid, or, the entire interior of the box can be upholstered in velvet or another material. The material can be applied directly to the wood, or a very thin foam can be added before applying the fabric.
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