I always seem to have a lot of things laying around and cluttering the top of my desk, so I wanted to make a container to hang on the wall nearby, that would keep things visible and handy, but out of the way.
Step 1: Materials and Equipment:
- 1/8" plywood (I used birch)
- Laser cutter (Epilog Fusion - 60 watt)
- CorelDRAW design file for hanging box
- wood glue (I used Titebond III)
- old small paint brush for applying glue
- thick elastics
- clamps (four works well)
- acrylic paint and paintbrush (optional)
- 'S' hook if you are hanging your box over a rod or dowel.
- regular wall hook
- masking tape
- clear acrylic spray paint for finishing
Step 2: Creating the Design File
Using the handy, online boxmaker program, I input the outside dimensions of my box and downloaded the finger jointed box layout .pdf, created by the program.
I then imported the pdf into CorelDRAW and deleted the top piece of the box.
Next, I removed the finger tabs from the top edge of the sides, by selecting and upgrouping the object that I wanted to edit. This allowed me to delete the fingers from the top edge of the sides and join the corners to create a finished edge across the top. In this case, you could just edit one side and copy and paste it to replace each of the other sides, since they are all the same, I did them one by one.
I then created an oval, .5" x .6" and centred it 3/4" down from the top of one side, to create the hole for hanging the box.
Next, I drew a few small asymmetrical holes in one area on one of the sides, and then selected, copied and pasted them to different areas until I had a density of holes and a layout that I liked.
Finally I selected and regrouped each piece, so they could be moved around and positioned to make the best use of materials.
Step 3: Laser Cut Pieces
To cut the birch plywood, I used a 60 watt Epliog Fusion Laser Cutter using 12/100/20 speed/ power/ frequency settings, and a 600 dpi resolution.
It took around 20 minutes to cut, mostly because of all the little holes on the front. If you prefer a simpler looking box with a solid front, you can substitute a third, plain side - all sides have the same dimensions.
Note: You can substitute another material for the birch plywood, possibly acrylic, but it will need to be pretty close to .188" thick, to work with this design file.
Step 4: Glue It Together
Fit all of your pieces together before, to make sure they fit together properly and you know where each piece goes.
With the many finger joints in this box, it can be time consuming to glue each and every edge that will come in contact in a joint, and do it neatly! I experimented in this assembly, with only gluing the tops of tabs coming together in each joint (see photo). I found that this worked well, and as a bonus, it seemed to keep most of any of the excess glue to the inside of the box.
Apply the glue using a small paint brush, gluing the top of the tabs on the three edges of one side and one edge of the bottom, and then put it in place. Work your way around the box like this one side at a time. Before adding the last side, clean up the excess glue in the back two joints by using the glue paint brush, scooping it up and wiping it off onto your scrap paper, a little bit at a time.
Then add the final side and clean up any remaining excess glue.
Step 5: Elastics and Clamps
As soon as the box is glued together, use some of the big elastics, and stretch them around the entire box to help pull it together tightly, and keep everything in place, I added a couple of elastics in each direction. Optionally, if you have low tack painters tape, you can use it to hold your box together.
If you don't have big enough elastics or tape, you can move right on to the clamps. If you only have a few clamps, look closely to see where the joints aren't fitting as tightly as you want them to, and begin by clamping these areas together. I found that by flipping the box over and using a couple of clamps in both directions, I also kept the bottom tightly in place by pushing the top down into place, while tightening the side clamps.
Let the glue dry - check your glue bottle to get an idea of how long you need to wait before the glue has set.
Once the glue is dry, remove your clamps and elastics and/or tape.
Step 6: Sanding the Edges
Check for any bits of glue that squeezed out, or that you missed earlier, and scrap or pick it off.
Next, get out your sandpaper and gently sand the sharpness away from the edges and corners. I like the way this looks, but it also reduces the likelihood of any thin splinters of plywood veneer getting caught on something and breaking off.
To sand the edges of the hole, rip off a little corner of sandpaper and wrap it around your finger to get inside.
Step 7: Painting Your Box
This is my favourite part. You can do what ever you want, leave your box completely natural, spray it with a thin layer of clear acrylic, paint it on one or more sides, inside, outside, both or all.
I decided to just paint the front. I used tubes of acrylic paint I had in my collection, you can use pretty much whatever paint you have. I started with a base layer of white, using a light touch so that the holes didn't fill up with paint - I wanted to still see be able to see the dark burnt edges when it was finished.
Next, I squeezed a bit of each of the colours I was planning to use onto a piece of scrap paper, and started painting from one corner. The rest just happens.
When i was satisfied with the colour of the front of my box, I left it alone until the paint was completely dry.
Step 8: Sanding and Finishing
After the paint is dry, sand your edges to clean up the paint, and in my case, sand the painted areas that I wanted to lighten a bit more.
At this point, you can apply a thin layer of clear acrylic spray paint over the front, or the whole box, if you want to seal the surface.
Step 9: Hang It Up!
Slip your awesome new Hanging Wall Box onto a hook that is secured to the wall (photo 2), or use an 'S' hook to hang it over a dowel, rod or tree branch.
I personally have a lot of tools, brushes, pens etc., that I like to keep out and handy, so I think I will probably make a few more of these!