I was asked by my son to build a unit to display his gem collection, he liked the look of one that his grandfather had built a few years ago to house a shell collection, so we started with that as a basic plan.

Using some left over wood from another project and some acrylic off cuts from my greenhouse, we knocked this wee cabinet up over a period of a couple of weeks, and I’m pleased with the way that it turned out, I’ve had fun working with the acrylic, I’m much more comfortable using it than when I started.

Sorry I haven’t got more detailed pictures of the steps, I didn’t intend this to be my 1st instructable but after getting some great ideas from here recently it has inspired me to share.


1m of 40x10mm for face frame
1m of 30x10mm  for rear box frame
Piano Hinge
Off cuts of Acrylic sheeting
Led String light and battery holder (optional)

Tools required
Fine toothed mitre Saw
Sharp Knife for marking acrylic
Basic picture frame tools (V nailer, frame clamp)
Acrylic Bonding/welding agent with syringe
Small pressure clamps 4+
Table Saw (not essential)

The materials and tools required are just a rough list of what I used, most of the tools are optional.


Step 1: Assembling the frames

The top picture is the piece made by my father that gave me the inspiration for this project, the dimensions are roughly the same .

First build your 2 wooden frames (rear box frame and face frame).

Cut timber to length required, I made the face frame 1mm wider all round to give me some tolerance when hinging.

I  ran the face frame timber through the table saw on its edge (cheek cut) to rebate 20mm for the acrylic window and did the same for the rear frame on its face for the rear acrylic panel to sit flush.

Mitre the 2 frames and join with V nails if you have them, nails or dowels if you prefer, leave to dry overnight in a frame clamp (I made a basic one from plans on the net).

When dry, a light sand and 2 coats of varnish to seal, I used a water based polyurethane.

<p>Could it be an idea to use LED strips with an acrylic diffuser to get a more even light.</p><p>Also you could use LEDs directly on the edge of each pain to light up the edges to give a grid affect.</p>

About This Instructable


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Bio: I'm an avid self builder and workshop nut, into alternative energy and all things gadgety, living on the side of a mountain still renovating ... More »
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