For this holiday season I thought it would be a great idea to make a very personalized gift. I felt that a jewelry box can be a memorable gift for that special someone. This is a fun little project that anyone can make. You can complete this project within one day in just a few hours.
The jewelry box is made out of alder that I bought from home depot. I vividly remember feeling like a little kid at a toy store browsing around for hours. If you are under a budget you may also consider some pine, poplar and redwood.
For this project, we will be using a laser cutter to etch/raster the designs into the wood and cut the pieces. I will make some basic assumptions regarding your knowledge of laser cutter operation. In my case, I'll be the 120W epilog from the mid-peninsula Techshop.
Anyhow, without any further delay let's jump right in.
Step 1: Materials
This is my first 'ible so please provide me with constructive criticism. I will try my best to be as thorough as possible. Also, if i make any mistakes, typos, misinform readers please feel free to call me out. Additionally, please be careful when operating powered tools and wear protective gear when necessary.
I will divide this project in three parts. (all included within this 'ible)
1) Prep work and laser cutting
2) Box assembly
3) Finishing touches
Materials & Tools:
1) 6''x24'' piece of wood (1/4 or 1/8 inch thick) <- I will have different template files depending on the thickness
*Alder, Redwood and Pine are just a few that I have used in the past to make boxes. You may find these at your local Home depot for around $11. The planks will be the right dimensions. Or online at Rockler (You can browse for other types of woods)
2) Carpenter's wood Glue - I've used Elmer's E7310 Carpenter's Wood Glue Max, 16 Ounces
3) Jewelry box hinges and latch - From Rockler (also available on amazon)
4) 220 Grit SandPaper, ruler, and pencil
(If you have an orbital sander available, the life might just get a little easier)
5) Bar clamp (6in might be cutting it too close) or large rubber bands
6) Mineral oil and cotton swabs
Step 2: Preparation and Laser Cutting
*If you have bought your wood from Home Depot you can skip this step and jump right into the laser cutter.
1) Make sure the piece you choose is not wet or bent. This will cause problems with the etching and vectoring.
2) If you are cutting your piece of wood from a larger block make sure to sand it down until it is smooth. You will want to start with a coarser grit and move up to 220. If you have an orbital sander your job will me much easier.
Here's more information about sanding http://www.jamarco.com/91b_Technical/sandpaper/Ma...
3) Once your sanding is completed, clean the wood with a brush before placing it into the laser cuter.
* Please make sure to choose the correct template file for the right thickness of your plank.
The design has been separated in layers to give you the freedom to change anything you like and make it your own. Also the illustrator file has a layer (SOP layer) containing all the settings for the specific laser cutter I've used. Do not worry I will also go over the settings here.
1) Set your plank in the laser cutter and adjust the focusing. I usually find it best to set the focus to the center of the plank. Then move the focus ring across the corners of the wood to make sure that it is at least decently focused. If you are using a piece of wood that has been previously used for another laser cutting project don't forget to SET HOME for the laser cutter.
2) Moving on to the laser cutter: Open up the file on adobe illustrator. It should be ready to print. As previously mentioned feel free to make any changes.
*Reminder: Before printing make sure to make the SOP layer invisible.
3) Printing: I've used a 120 Watt epilog from the techshop. In adobe Illustrator go to File->print ->select printer go to printer preferences and select the corresponding laser cutter. Then select preferences and put in your setting.
For 1/4 inch Bolivian Rosewood
- Power: 75%
- Speed: 10
- Frequency: 500Hz
4) Press Print!!!! Wait nothing happens... That's right you need to press the "Go" button on the laser cutter to begin the job. Yes! Now it is just a matter of waiting.
*NOTE: Bolivian Rosewood might be a little to dense for the laser cutter to cut on the first pass. You might need to do a second pass
Step 3: Box Assembly
Once you have all your pieces and before gluing them together. Go ahead and sand down the burn edges. This will make your box look presentable and help the glue to adhere better.
Place some newspaper on the table as to not make a mess with the glue like I did.
1) Add glue to the inside of the groves of all the sides. Let glue set for a couple of minutes and paste all sides together. Then clamp the rectangle using a bar clamp. If you do not have a bar clamp you can use some rubber bands which will also work very well.
2) The next step is to glue the bottom of the box to the sides.
Adding hinges and latch:
1) Using a ruler and a pencil make a mark 3/4in from the edge of the box. Then making sure the hinge is straight place the screw in. Repeat the same process for the second hinge. Then attach to the top plate.
2) For the latch, make a mark right in the center of top plate and carefully mark where the holes are for the latch. Repeat the same procedure for the bottom part of the latch. Then using a screw-driver add the screws. Voila! You have in your hands a jewelry box.
But are we really done?
Use some mineral oil or linseed oil to give your box a very rich dark color.
1) Add a small amount of oil to a cotton balls and spread it over the wood. I tend to spread it along the grain of the wood. Let it sit for 20 minutes so it dries and repeat the process. You may want to this at least 3 times. But the more layers the better.
2) Go down to your local Jo-Ann's and get some velvet fabric to cover the inside of the box. You can use spray glue or superglue like I did to paste the felt to the wood. When cutting the edges of the velvet some of it will begin to fall apart. You can make a smooth edge by running a lighter across it about 1/2in away from the fabric.
I Hope you liked the little project. Please leave any comments below and add any suggestions. Thank you for reading this 'ible.