Introduction: Handmade Wooden Music Box

I decided to make my Girlfriend something special for her 21st birthday, a couple of weeks before we had been talking about music boxes and how I'd love to make one, so that's what I did!

I went out and bought some walnut wood for the box part from a local supplier and the mechanism for the music box was purchased online with a specific song inside.

First thing I did was draw up what I wanted on paper and then in a CAD software with the rough dimensions given when I ordered the mechanism, I originally had drawn it up in Rhino6 CAD software but my trial has since expired but I managed to get it open in Fusion 360.

Step 1: Making Process

Once the mechanism arrived, I could start making. I cut the sides so the 2 long sides were just over 7" in length and the 2 shorter sides were just over 5" in length and the width of each piece was about half an inch, the height wasn't altered at this point.

Then with all sides the I added the 45 degree angle on edges of the inside face of the 4 pieces so they fit together. At the same time I did it along the top side of these pieces too and cut a piece for the top and cut the angle all the way around too so it would fit in when all the pieces were aligned together.

After that I cut them to down to 5" in height and started to mark for where I wanted the curved cutouts. In my drawings I started toy with some measurements before settling on 3/4" up from the bottom and 1/2" from each side to add the appearance of feet, to get the curve I just used a roll of tape.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the process but I laser cut out the curve design on some thin 5mm MDF to use as a jig, marked up the shape on each piece then took them to the bandsaw to cut them out roughly, and used that same jig to help tidy up the edge when I went over it with a handheld router.

Once it was all cut to shape I started to glue up, I put the box together and put blue tape on each corner then unfolded it, this will stop the glue squeeze out, once glued I folded it back together and (although I would never recommend but it worked for me, my time constraints, and lack of equipment) I used shoelaces to keep it tightly squeezed together, wrapped around twice with each lace. After that was dried enough I glued the top in and put weight down on it so it was glued in properly.

Step 2: More Making

With it all glued up I cut the box 1" from the top, this will serve at the lid to the box, then I had to clean up any glue squeeze out and rough marks with sandpaper. Once all cleaned up I cut some little thin strips of wood all the same height.

These strips were glued onto the inside of the box, flush with the curved section, this is where the base will sit. For the base I got a section of walnut and marked it up to fit the inside of the box, and took it to the bandsaw to cut it down in width to 5mm, because of the key for the music box being placed on the underside I needed enough room for it to fit and be able to turn too.

Once cut to size each edge on the underside was sanded to a slight angle to fit in the box easier and the mechanism was positioned, measured and screwed on. Then I inserted it into the box. Now its looking more like a music box.

I wanted there to be a bit of room for storage so I added in some blocks of wood in the corners for a 5mm piece of clear acrylic to sit on. The acrylic was laser cut to slightly under size, so the sound from the music box can get through, and then screwed in secure.

Last thing to do was add the hinges, first I added a chamfer to the bottom back of the lid piece and the top back of the box then taped the lid and the box together so it wouldn't move when adding the hinges, I found the position I liked for then pre-piloted the holes for the screws and screwed them in removed the tape and gave everything one last sand.

Step 3: Finished Music Box

And finally finished, this took a total of about 3 - 4 days to get this made, but I'm extremely happy with the outcome and so is my girlfriend, it was a good learning experience for me as I've not done anything like this before, I wish I had taken more photos, but I was short on time getting it done in time for her birthday. I will include the link to where I got the music box from, but there are cheaper alternatives available if anyone does or are thinking about doing anything similar.

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