Introduction: Child's Easel Box From a Wine Box

My youngest daughter is at that age when children wander
around the house with all sorts of junk that gets incorporated into her play. Things get put into boxes and bags and set up in wonderful arrangements to suit whatever is going on in her imagination. So when she asked for an artists box to keep her drawing stuff in I wasn't sure we were both thinking of the same thing but I decided I'd give a go at making her a box, come easel. The only powertool I own is a drill, so the key issue here was to keep things simple. I had in mind buying material to make a wooden box that would be a good size for a sketch pad and also to keep all her colors and pencils in. I also wanted to see if I could use the lid as an easel by setting it at an angle.

It's also worth pointing out that this is not the first ever Easel Box. I thought I was being original but there are many more easel boxes out there including this nice Portable Easel Box by Rosh_09 that was featured just recently. Every design is different in its own way.

Step 1: My Materials

Not having any power tools meant making a box would be
difficult to do well. But I discovered a wine box that was the perfect size to fit a sketchpad in. I went to Home Depot and bought the smallest hinges they had and also a pair of cabinet door flap stays and a handle. All for around 10 dollars! This wine box was without its lid so I cut a piece of white hard board which I had leftover from some other DIY project. I couldn't find any little latches at Home Depot but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I modified the design later in such a way that it wouldn't have worked anyway. Instead I used a couple of neodymium magnets to keep the box closed.

Step 2: My Tools

All my tools fit in a tool box and a couple of drawers
in my apartment. I don't have a workshop. Everything is small and hand held.

Hand saw

Craft knife


Screw driver




Step 3: Glue the Lid

First I cut the wine box down by about an inch. The length and width were perfect. The height was just a little too much. I used the excess material later for cross bars underneath the lid. To make the lid I traced the shape of the box to the white board and cut it out with a craft knife (only a few more passes than cutting cardboard). Glue the lid in place. But only three sides!!!

Why did I stick the lid to the box only to have to cut it out again?
Because now I have a frame around the lid that lines up perfectly with the box frame no matter how bad my sawing is!!!

And why did I only glue three side and not all four? Read on to find out.......

Step 4: Cut the Lid Out

Cut the frame around the lid on the three side where it is glued. If the box is only stapled together it should just pop out.

The reason I only glued three sides and not all four is..... by not giving the fourth side of the lid any frame it is much thinner and the artist can hang the sketch pad over the back while drawing as you can see in the second photo of this step.

Step 5: Fix the Hinges......

Chisel out the depth of the hinges from the walls of the box so that they sit nice and flush and screw them in place. I used clamps to steady the pieces while chiseling and I pre-drilled the holes for these pesky small screws.

Step 6: ....And Fix the Stays.....

Calculate the position for the stays.

I struggled with this part. My first two attempts were terribly wrong. In the end I used a parallel crossbar to have both stays located at the same time and even still I needed to reduce the thickness of this crossbar to fit in with the dimensions of the box. Also, the screws were too long and were sticking out everywhere! I grinded them down with the Dremmel.

Step 7: ...And the Handle

I also had to cut down these screws to fit the thickness of the box. I centered the handle but one of the screw heads on the inside got in the way of the stays when opening and closing so I counter sunk the head.

Step 8: Add the Neodymium Magnets or String

Okay this bit is not working either.

I had these 4mm neodymium magnets left over from something else I was making. You can order them on line they are not too expensive. But I would get them a little bit bigger: 6mm diam. x 4mm. They don't seem to have the force necessary to guarantee the box stays close.

So this is the alternative: Its a high-tech version using a rare known material called "string". I put 4 screws into the box and stretched the string around the screw heads. Works a charm!

Step 9: Done!

Thanks for watching :)