Introduction: Moving Monster Moneybox

About: Dad of two and habitual shed dweller

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Just after my Son was born we went on a family holiday and payed a painful amount of cash for the privilege of painting some pottery.

I created what I thought was a cool looking monster money box for him, clearly he disagreed and a year later as he looked me lovingly in the eyes he launched it from his changing table and gave me a non convincing "Oh ooh" as an apology.

Well I thought lets see you smash inch thick wood clever clogs.......and the moving monster moneybox was born!!


32 x 220 x 1500 mm Planed pine plank (1 1/4" x 8 1/2" x 60" approx)

3 mm Plywood sheet (1/8" approx)

Circular saw

Multi tool with accessories

Electric or hand plane

Palm sander



Hand saw

Coping saw


Junior hacksaw


Ruler, tape measure and square

Drill driver and accessories

Gorilla glue

Super glue

Clamps, lots of clamps.....

Router and appropriate bits

sand paper (various grits)

6" flat second cut files

Turquoise blue wood stain (80ml)


Acrylic paints

Gold metallic paint

Clear lacquer aerosol

Artists and 1/2" paint brush

Disposable gloves (for the wood stain)

And the other thing I forgot to list.....

Step 1: Contemplating Catastrophe

Whilst pondering how to make the swing monsters I perched on my work bench. It turns out that the cup of tea two ginger nuts and one digestive biscuit I had scoffed before were the literal braking point for the bench.

After a short and painful lesson in the effects of gravity, it was fixed, future proofed, and I was back in the game....

Step 2: Petrifying Pendulum Prototype

Hands up, I had no idea how to approach this one. So to follow tradition I just blagged it and hoped for the best!

I started by drawing a rough paper template and seeing how much the lobe of the pendulum would protrude when it swung. I transferred this to a piece of scrap 3 mm plywood and set about finding a suitable pivot point for the 6 mm steel rod (I drilled 6.5 mm holes for the rod).

I had left the lever arm longer than intended so that I could adjust when balancing out. after some more guess work and good luck I made a small platform which the coins would drop onto. I had to trim some material off below the lever arm to keep it balanced.

I Somehow it worked..............Baron Bodge, lord of the chance strikes again. I would say at a guess that the lobe swung out about 60 degrees.

Step 3: Box Basics

The box is made of five pieces of 32 X 220 X 300 mm (one for the base), with the centre two having the middles removed, fixed together with glue. The holes for the coins, monsters and base come later.

I cut all four pieces to the same length using a circular saw.

Easy, so far.......

Step 4: Creating the Cavity

I laid the pendulum on the cut out blank and marked it out so that there was enough timber to mount the hinge studs for the pendulum to swing on. To make the cut outs I used a hand and jig saw. I fixed the cut out to the back board using gorilla glue and a small army of clamps. Once the glue had dried I drilled a hole for the hinge stud to fit into.

Step 5: Pendulum Probing

After I had fitted both hinge studs (the only time a stud has been in my shed!) I lined up the second cavity cut out in place, checking it was all square, and squeezed them together firmly so that the hinge studs left an imprint in the timber. I drilled the holes for the remaining lengths of hinge stud to slide into and fitted them together.

I finally got an idea of whether or not it was going to work. I dropped a two pence coin onto the lever between the gap of the two cut outs. I found that the upright stops on the end of the levers needed to be longer so that the pendulum swung to its full extent, and also that there was quite a difference in where the coin landed as to how much the pendulum swung out.

Step 6: Petrifiying Pendulum Protrusion Portals (and Coins Slots)

I marked out the recess required for the pendulum, taking into account the increase in height for it to swing, and cut the edges with a junior hacksaw. Then I cracked out my new toy, a multi tool I'd picked up from a friend. It was the first time I had used it and the vibrations it gave off felt like I was holding a box of robo-wasps but it made easy work of the wood once I had realised not to take off too much at once.

Once I had cut both recesses I marked out where the coin slots need to be and since it was with the grain, I decided to go old school and bust out the chisels. I checked that the coin slots were located right and were hitting the lever arm's sweet spot and glued and clamped it all together.

The next day after I had taken the clamps off I found that one of the pendulums was slightly too tight, so I had to take a fraction off the slot with a 6" flat 2nd cut file and a little sand paper.

Once I knew that the slots, levers and pendulums were all good I glued and clamped the front piece of the box on.

Step 7: Completing the Containers Contours

My brother had borrowed my router so I popped over to his to use it and he kindly lent me his electric plane to tidy up the sides which saved me from carving it up like one of Sweeny Todds victims with a hand plane. After he had shown me how it was used properly I gave all the sides a quick once over with the sander. I decided to round the edges of the box off with the router and put a roman ogee on the base.

To fix the base I drew the box dimensions on the bottom of the base and marked where I wanted to drill the holes. I drilled the holes and counter sunk them. I then fitted four three inch screws to the holes positioned it over the box and made an imprint with the screws to show where I need to drill the pilot holes into the box. I fastened it down and was ready to get my brushes out and go at it like a Stan Lee reject.

Step 8: Decorating and Demagorgon Duplicates Design

Taking into account that I wanted to paint the monster letters with nice bright colours I decided that an oil or regular wood stain just wouldn't look right so I took a deep breath and ordered some turquoise blue stain from Ebay. I used some scrap wood from the cavity to figure out how many coats I would need and settled on three.

I drew a grid that gave me an outline of how much space I had to draw the letters to fit on the front of the box. It was hard work thinking up different types of monsters for the letters especially the repeated letters like E. I think I have to give credit where its due and thank Nickelodeons Real Monsters for some subconscious inspiration. It wasn't until I was typing this that I remembered the show and googled it and then realised just how much my H looked like Krumm! Thank you Nickelodeon, altering kids realities since 1977.

I did a little research about painting with acrylics on wood and found that it needs a sealer called gesso. I tested it out and it made a real difference to the colour. so once I had drawn the letters onto the box I gave them all a coat of gesso and them went over the details with a pencil again.

I sat at the kitchen table for approximately three years and painted the letters with the teeny tiniest paint brushes you have ever seen. Soul destroying work........

Step 9: Painting the Pendulum Protrusions and Contemplating Creating the Concealing Caves

I held the pendulum in place with a little blue tack while I painted them, I chose vivid colours so that when they swung out the faces would stand out.

I had planned to put to caves on the side for the monsters to "pop out" from, painted grey and the stained wood inside the cave outline painted black. I cut a rough shape out from 3 mm ply wood using a coping saw. But when I put it in place it just didn't look right and I didn't want to spoil something I was already happy with. So I binned them.

I gave the whole box a couple of light coats of clear lacquer spray which brought the colours out and gave it a nice glossy finish.

Step 10: Done.

That's it, all we need to do now is fill it but that will be a whole new challenge!!

Thanks for reading and please vote for this instructable in the box contest!

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