Introduction: Zelda Musical Treasure Chest

My wife and I are Zelda fans, so I knew I'd found a great gift when I discovered this Skyward Heart pendant. I'd also been looking to create something with my hands - not something I've done much of in the past, - so a homemade-musical-treasure-chest-jewelry-box was the obvious delivery method for the pendant.

As a complete newbie to wood working, I figured a small jewelry box was a good place to start. I also justified to myself that a treasure chest can and should be rough around the edges, relieving me of some pressure to get things just right.

Below is the final product which I presented to my wife via a scavenger hunt. She seemed pretty pleased with the entire package.

Read on to see how it was made.

Step 1: Materials

The below materials are what I used, though this project is wide open to personal interpretation. My suggestion is to wander a hardware store and see what you can find. That's what I did.

Assuming you have all the tools already, you should be able to do this project for around $75, including the necklace that goes inside (closer to $50, if you already have stain and poly lying around).

Wood Related
* (2x) 1/4x2x4 oak board (actually 1/4x1.5x48)- $2.82 each
* 1/4x4x4 oak board (actually 1/4x3.5x48) - $5.75
* Wood stain - $5
* Polycrylic finish - $18

Decorative brass corner plates (4-pack) - $2.99
* Decorative brass hasp (5-pack) - $1.98
* Brass mid butt hinges (2-pack) - $2.47
* About 6-8 inches of brass jack chain (cut to length in chain aisle of Home Depot) - $0.63

* Record-your-own-message greeting card - Around $6 at Hallmark
* Tilt sensor - $1.95 at SparkFun (buy two just in case)

* Wood glue
* Brass tacks
* Electrical tape
* Black felt or foam for lining of chest (browse a hobby shop)
* Felt sticky feet
* Skyward Heart pendant - $22

* Circular or table saw
* Jigsaw
* Screwdriver
* Carpenter's square
* Sandpaper
* Adjustable clamps
* Brushes

Step 2: Measure & Cut Bottom

Without the lid, the box measures 5" wide x 4" deep x 3" high. Each box side consists of two 1.5" strips, one on top of the other. You could also cut each side to be a single piece of wood, but I think the seam and mismatched grain adds to the feeling of an old treasure chest.

For the sides, cut four 1.5x3.5 pieces (two for each side). For the front and back of the box, cut four 1.5x5 pieces. See picture above.

The bottom will fit inside the frame, so cut it to 3.5x4.5. See picture above.

Step 3: Assemble Bottom

Use wood glue to assemble the lower portion of the box. This consists of the bottom piece, one front piece, one back, and two sides. Clamp and let dry.

Use wood glue to stack the remaining front, back, and side pieces onto the box. Clamp and let dry.

Step 4: Measure & Cut Lid

The lid was the most difficult part, and my solution was a mix of trial, error, and total kludge. I'm sure there is a better way to handle this, but here's what I did.

First, I cut the slats for the lid. At the time, however, I didn't have the appropriate tools for cutting straight strips, so they came out extremely uneven. After a few failed attempts at straight lines, I convinced myself that this wonkiness would actually add character to an old treasure chest (a justification I relied on repeatedly during this project).

I ended up with seven slats ranging from about 3/4" to 1" wide (all 5" long) and none of which were the same width along their whole length. See picture above.

I arranged the slats side by side and laid a couple strips of scotch tape across the group in order to keep them connected as I played with creating an arch.

I then clamped the taped slats to the constructed box. Turning the whole thing upside down allowed gravity to create an arch from the slats. See picture above.

Then it was a matter of clumsily tracing the arch onto a piece of wood and cutting it out with a jigsaw. I did this separately for both sides (since the slats were uneven, they created differently shaped arches on either end).

Step 5: Assemble Lid

The arches you cut in the previous step are shaped specifically to the slats in their current arrangement, so don't untape them just yet.

Instead, apply glue to the edges of the arches and drape the slats over them. See picture above.

Clamp and let dry, then remove the scotch tape.

Step 6: Finish the Wood

Sand the wood and apply your stain and poly of choice to the assembled chest pieces. No need to worry about the inside of the chest, as that will be lined later.

Step 7: Add Hardware Details

Install the various hardware components.

Hinges were a bit wonky for me because the lid was not square. I left the hinge screws at varying degrees of looseness in order to allow the box to close correctly.

As you can see from the picture above, the screws poke out into the box. A dremel tool would fix this, though I found that the lining I selected was thick enough to safely pad the pointy screws.

Connect the chain to the inside of the box with a brass tack at each end.

Add felt feet to keep the chest from scratching whatever it's set upon.

Step 8: Electronics

To play the Zelda treasure-box-reveal music whenever the lid is opened, I connected the guts of a recordable greeting card to a tilt switch and stashed the whole thing in the lid of the chest. The switch tilted as the lid opened, activating the Zelda music recorded to the greeting card recorder.

Though I stand by the theory of this setup, my implementation of the electronics was a near total failure. The switch was wonky, requiring the lid to be closed with some force in order to reset it each time. Then, after a couple weeks of working fairly well, the greeting card recorder just stopped working altogether. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed.

You can give my approach a try for yourself, but it sounds like "xeijix" has a much better electronics setup for his own Zelda chest.

I had another idea that I'd love to try some day: Add an Arduino to the chest and hook it up to a capacitance sensor located in the inside-front of the box. Program it such that when a hand is sensed (about to open the box), it plays the Zelda treasure-chest-build-up music. Then when the lid opens, it plays the "ta-da" reveal music. If you're interested in giving this a go, here's a starting point for that project. I'd love to see the results.

Step 9: Final Details

Finally, get it ready for the presentation:
* Line the box with thick felt or foam. I found sparkly black foam at Michael's that worked perfectly.
* Add some decorative filler to the box, and lay the heart pendant on top.

Give it to a Zelda fan and watch their face light up as they open their very own Zelda treasure chest jewelry box.

Enjoy! :)