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How to make a wooden secret box (using the laser cutter)

Picture of How to make a wooden secret box (using the laser cutter)
I wanted to make a customized wooden box as a gift.
I used the laser cutter for more precision and to be able to make nice corners.
In this tutorial, you will learn on how to prepare your file for the laser cutter, and tips to find all the materials you need.

 
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Step 1: Materials

- Plywood
- Studs for upholstery (in your hardware store or Home Depot)
- Nails
- Lock
- Hindges
- Vintage handles (I found mine on Ebay)
- Wood Finish
- Transparent wood glue
- Black China Ink (for a customized message)

Tools:
- Laser cutter
- Drill
- Hammer

Step 2: Preparing the file for the laser cutter

Picture of Preparing the file for the laser cutter
The document format has to be L24xH36 inches, in RGB color, and 300 dpi.
To be able to cut it properly, all the lines have to be in black, with an outline of 0.001, and be carefull to close your shapes!

You can take a look at the document I used.

Step 3: Treating the wood

Picture of Treating the wood
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Because the laser cutter actually burns the wood, it will leave ashes on the cut borders and a strong smell that goes along with it.
My advise is to first leave the wooden pieces outdoors overnight to get rid of the smell, and then to clean the borders with a piece of wet fabric.

Then, apply the Wood Finish color of your choice. I only used one layer to still see the lines of the wood.
Let it dry for 6 hours.



Step 4: Mounting the box

Picture of Mounting the box
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Using some transparent wood glue, assemble first the sides of the box. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Then, glue all of the borders to fix the bottom and the top parts.
Be careful to press strongly those last parts.

Step 5: Decorating the box

Picture of Decorating the box
I wanted to use studs to give a vintage and traditional look to the box.

Be careful of where you put the studs! Because the box has only one layer of wood, they have a lot of chance to point out from the inside!

The solution I found was to use them for decoration and fixing purposes.This is why they are mounted only on the outside border of the top part of the box. This way, they fix tightly the top part to the sides of the box.
The wood I used was very thin, so I had to be careful to put them straight so that they don't point out.
Don't use a hammer to put them in, it might damage the box. Use a tool, or the head of a hammer, to press them down in the wood.

Step 6: Finding vintage accessories

Picture of Finding vintage accessories
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I bought the hinges and lock in a regular hardware store, but I couldn't find handles that had a vintage look.
The best resource for them is online. This is a site that makes pretty nice vintage reproductions.
http://houseofantiquehardware.com

They are still expensive comparing on what you can find on Ebay. I bought a set on 9 handles for $10, but they were pretty old so I had to clean them with some brass cleaner.

Drill the holes and fix all of these final elements.
I added some personal messages using black China Ink on the top, and inside the box.

Enjoy your new box or offer it to someone!

there is no secret in the box at all got better boxes at the dollar store you need a better understanding of the word secret
well ..
definition provided by your link is quite clear : something thatr is covered, hidden, confidential, etc ...
synonyms provided say the same...
so, where is the" secret" ?
vincent75202 years ago
I thought there was a "secret" drawer or something inside the box !! :((
However it's nice but somewhat tacky with the tacks !
pcairic3 years ago
Spellcheck: Hinges, not Hindges.
Nice work!
thepelton4 years ago
Nice box, but I agree with dung0beetle. I would have built it without the tacks. Otherwise pretty nice.
fretted4 years ago
LMBO
knife1415 years ago
Where is the "secret" in this box?
The secrets go inside the box.

It would look better without the tacks in my opinion.