Introduction: Key Box

To make this project you will need:

2'x4' sheet of plywood

36”, 2”x1” lumber (2)

wood glue

1" panel nails

5/8" cup hooks

2” x 1 ⅜” hinges (2)

double magnet catch

door knob




wood finish

chalk paint

painter's tape

paint brush(es)

any decorations you desire!

Step 1: Sketch Out Your Design

Before you begin, you will want to sketch out your design so that you'll know your exact measurements and what you'll be working towards. It doesn't have to be super detailed.

Step 2: Cut Your Materials

Using a table saw, you should cut the plywood down to two 13" x 18" rectangles. These will serve as the back of the box and the door. Next you will cut the lumber down to two 13" pieces and two 18" pieces. These will become the sides of the box.

Step 3: Assemble Your Materials

Next, you will glue the sides of the box down to the back of the box with wood glue. You will also reinforce this with panel nails. It is suggested that you do this while your wood glue is still wet. Leave the panel used for the door off for now. I also sanded everything once the sides were securely in place.

Step 4: Attach Doorknob and Latch

Before staining the box and attaching the door, you should go ahead and drill in the doorknob and magnetic latch. To attached the doorknob, simply mark the spot in which you wish to attach it, drill a hole matching the size of your screw, and either use a drill or a hand screw to secure. The process is the same for the latch. Mark your position and use a drill to screw in the the screws. The magnetic latch should be on the inside of the box, while the metal piece should be on the inside of the door. Make sure they are lined up before securing them into place.

Step 5: Stain

Before attaching the door, it's easiest to go ahead and stain. That way your door does dry stuck to the box and you can more easily reach small areas to stain. I used an antique walnut stain, but you can feel free to use whichever color you like. Before starting, I made sure to put painter's tape over any areas I wanted stain free. For me, this was around the doorknob, over the latch and metal piece, and around the edge of the door. I wanted to keep the front of the door bare for a latter step. I mixed the stain a bit so that I could be evenly distributed before painting two coats of the stain over the designated areas. I allowed a days worth of drying time in between each stain.

Step 6: Attach Door

After the stain has dried, you can attach the door. I used two 2” x 1 ⅜” hinges: one near the top and one near the bottom of the door. First, I marked the location that I wanted the hook to be. I then drilled a small hole in the marked area before drilling the screw into the box and then the door. The door should open and close easily after you do this.

Step 7: Adding Hooks

To make the box a key holder, I added nine 5/8th" cup hooks. I used a ruler to mark the locations of the hooks, placing them about two and a half inches apart. To secure the hooks, I first made a small hole using a drill in the spot I had marked. I then screwed the hook in mostly by hand. To make sure the screws were tight, I used an extra screw as a bit in the drill and hooked it around another hook. This allowed me to tightly secure the hooks in place.

Step 8: Paint on Chalk

Just to add a little something more, I decided to paint the front of the box with chalk paint. To do this, I first put painter's tape around the edge of the door so to not mess up my staining and keep the lines straight. I also put some around the doorknob. I then painted on the first coat horizontally, coming back a day later to add a second coat vertically. After leaving it for a few days to dry, I primed the surface by covering it with a thing layer of chalk and wiped it down. To make it a little prettier, I wood glued some letters that I bought at Michael's and stuck on the chalk package with painter's tape.

Step 9: Final Product

Pictured above is my final product.

This project was not my first time working with wood, but it was my first time assembling a project without instructions. It was a more difficult process than I originally had thought and I ran into more mistakes than I could have imaged, but I learned from each of them. This project taught me a lot about being adaptable and figuring out alternative ways of getting things done. For example, I spent a long, long time trying to figure out how to get my cup hooks in all the way. There seemed to be no way for me to use a tool and my fingers weren’t cutting it. I eventually figured out that I could put another cup hook in the drill as a bit and use it to turn the hook I wanted to by hooking them together.
The project that I chose didn’t require a lot of metal working, which helped me with my woodworking skills mainly, but left me a bit lacking. I would still like to learn more about metal working, specifically welding. I only did a small bit of it in the first part of the semester and I kind of feel like I didn’t have a good chance to improve. Despite not working with metals a lot, I feel like I did really well with the woodworking I did on this project. I was just a slight bit off with my measurements, but it was a great improvement from some projects I have done in the past. I’m also really happy with the way that my chalk painting on the front turned out. I was skeptical at first about how the chalk front would look, but I think it turned out well and it works.

The main thing that I still had a little trouble with were my measurements and staining. My measurements were just the slightest bit off, which bothered me a bit, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to fix it. I could have possibly sanded the door down more to make it a bit more even, I think. I also had some trouble with staining. I’m not sure if I waited too long between coats, didn’t sand quite enough, or should have rubbed some off, but my staining was not as even as I would have liked it to be. I definitely wish I could have done that better for aesthetic purposes.

I really enjoyed the creativity I had with this project. It was really fun getting to create something of my own at my own pace. There’s not really anything that I didn’t enjoy about the project, except maybe spending quite a bit of money on it, but that was even well worth it in the end. I have a usable product that I’m proud of.