Introduction: Wooden Bento Lunch Box
Pack a cute lunch and make everyone in the cafeteria jealous with your sweet custom bento box!
Bento boxes are super cool, but SO expensive online! I made this one from materials I had around the house; it was practically free! It took me less than two hours to make, and I don't have much woodworking experience.
Why pay $60 for a bento box when you can make one at home for FREE?
NOTE: The included photos are from the construction of multiple bento boxes, the first bento I made was a trial box constructed with plywood, the others with poplar.
Step 1: Materials
- 1/4" untreated, non-toxic scrap wood (the better the wood, the prettier the box)
- gorilla glue (it's food safe after cured!)
- paint and shellac OR mineral oil
See... who doesn't have this stuff laying around?
NOTE: Research the wood you are using to ensure it is safe for use with food.
These links may help:
Step 2: Determine Box Size
Click here to determine the size your bento box. This website takes height, sex and activity level into account to calculate the correct box size. Although the box may seem small, it will hold enough calories for a meal.
Some bento boxes have spacers, so take the spacer size into account when you size your bento box.
This is how I calculated the size of my box:
Convert milliliters to cubic inches. You can use google if you don't want to do the math by hand, just enter "600 mililitres to cubic inches" in google.
600 milliliters = 36.61 cubic inches
So, you want :
height x width x length = 36 cu in
The dimensions of the box I made are:
1.5 in x 6 in x 4 in = 36 cu in
To determine the dimensions of your box, just modify these three numbers until you get close to the desired volume.
Step 3: Cut the Wood
After you've chosen your dimensions, cut the pieces out. See the attached photo, it details the dimensions of my box.
You will have a total of 8 pieces:
- 2 lid pieces
- 1 bottom
- 4 sides
- 1 divider
The lid consists of two pieces, the first piece of wood sits inside of the box, preventing the lid from sliding around, it has the width and length of the opening in the box; the second piece sits on top of the box, and has the same width and length of the box.
Step 4: Build the Box
Glue the box together, clamp (OR.. if you don't have clamps, find a way to rig it up like I did).
Glue the two lid pieces together. Spread glue, and sandwich together. Line the lid up with the box to ensure it is positioned correctly. Clamp.
Wipe excess glue if it foams from the seams.
Step 5: Decorate or Finish
If you've used nice wood, you can finish your project by rubbing with food grade mineral oil on the box. Just rub the oil in until the wood will not absorb any more. You can coat the mineral oil finish with beeswax if you'd like. Be sure to reapply mineral oil as needed.
NOTE: I am not sure shellac is all safe for use with food. Please spend some time researching this more if you would like to use the method described below. Shellac is used in candy and pills, so I felt safe using it.
You can also paint and shellac your box. I pained one of my bento's, attached pictures with Modge Podge, and sprayed with shellac.
Step 6: All Done!
Fill your bento with cute food!
If you need some help, check these out: