My absolute favorite time of the year is when the leaves start changing and the days get much cooler. Not only do I love fall and all the different changes that start happening, but around this time of the year, I start getting into the mood of wanting to decorate every inch of my house. There's no better way of getting ready for the seasons than decorating! I wanted to add something to my coffee table and what I decided to do is a Decorative Wooden Box Centerpiece. What I really like about this DIY project is that you can have it on your table year round. The only thing you need to do it change the decorations on the inside to the appropriate seasons. In this instructable, I will show a way to decorate for fall and a way to decorate for Christmas. Before we begin making this, here is a list of all the items needed to create this DIY project successfully.
Tools and items needed
- Pine (personal preference) wood - 1in by 8in by 8ft
- Wood glue Sandpaper 80 grit and 150 grit
- Stain (color is your preference)
- Decorations (depending on the season)
- Kreg jig (optional)
- Miter saw or circular saw
- Two rags
- Disposable rubber gloves
- Tape measure
- Table saw
- Disposable cup
- Two boards- 18” by 5”
- Two boards- 6 ¾” by 5”
- Bottom base board- 16 ¾” by 6 ¾”
The very first thing you need to do is make sure you have all the required tools and supplies before you begin. This will help make the project go much smoother and easier. Instead of investing in some of the tools, you can see if a family member or friend can loan you one. They can get pretty expensive and if you don’t use the tool often it could end up being a waste of money.
Step 1: Step 1: Measure and Cut Using a Miter or Circular Saw
Altogether you will have have a total of 5 boards that are needed for this project. The measurements of the wood are 18" by 5" (2 boards), 6 3/4" by 5" (2 boards), and 16 3/4" by 6 3/4" (one board). I went and bought pine wood at Menards. To make it a lot easier and cheaper, I bought the wood at 1” by 8” by 8’. Once you begin the project you will need to cut the board down, but the good part is that this one board will be used to make the entire box. You will need to mark the wood with the correct measurements and use a circular saw or miter saw to cut the pieces of wood to down to size. Take a pencil and make little marks before you cut the boards. This will help you cut all the correct sizes when you begin to cut. Make sure to take precautions before using a miter saw or circular saw. If you do not have much experience with one or want to learn more about it before cutting your wood, it would be best to watch a video over the use of one. Here is the link for a circular saw for beginners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMcIfDjexSw Here is a link for beginners for a miter saw. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQSeNzaa96c I put all the links at the bottom of the page to make it easier to come back to and search for them. These videos would be very useful to watch and learn from. I was lucky enough to have a brother that builds cabinets and he knows quite a bit about everything when it comes to building with wood and using power tools. He was able to go over how to use the tools correctly with me and I was very happy he did. I was a little hesitant before starting because I have zero experience with them.
Step 2: Step 2: Measure and Cut Using a Table Saw
The next step is to measure the wood and use a pencil to mark it. In this step, you will be marking the length of the board to the correct markings. To do this step, you will need to use a table saw and rip (cut with the grain) the boards to width. Before you begin cutting, you will need to set the table saw to the correct measurements. Here in another link on how to use a table saw. They can be pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing exactly and it is always best to know how to really use and understand the tools you will be using. You should wear protective eyewear and hearing protection. Here is a link for the correct use of a table saw for beginners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxi8EWBWcOU You will be cutting all five pieces of wood. The picture above will help with the measurements and knowing exactly what side to cut.
Step 3: Step 3: Kreg Jig
This step is not required but it can make your wooden box look a lot nicer. Not everyone is going to want to spend money on a kreg jig because they can be quite expensive. If you do not plan on doing this step, skip to step 4 and continue on. If you do plan on using the kreg jig, then you will need to use a drill to make pocket holes in your boards. The picture above will show approximately where you will need to put them. It does not have to be exact when it comes to this step. For this step, I used the brand Kreg. Once you get done drilling in all the holes, lay down all the pieces of wood on a flat surface. Here is a video on how to use a kreg jig for beginners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvO6zaIUO18
Step 4: Step 4: Sand Interior
For this step you will need to have 80 grit sandpaper. Lay out the pieces of wood on a flat surface and sand all the pieces down. The part that you are sanding now will become the interior of the box. You do not need to sand the other side just yet. The reason we are only sanding one side is that it is much harder to sand the interior after the box once it is put together. A tip for when it comes to sanding is to go with the grain of the wood only. This will give you the best results for your wooden box.
Step 5: Step 5: Assemble
The next thing to do is to assemble the wooden box together. Put it together like it was screwed and glued together. Check all the corners and sides to make sure everything aligns correctly. For this step, you will need a drill, screws and a clamp. Now it is time to actually glue and drill the box together. Before you screw it down, take the wood glue and put it on the edge of the boards and push it together. Align all the sides and once you do that, take your drill and drill in the screws through the pocket holes. Repeat these steps with all the sides. It helps a lot if you use a clamp after you glue down the sides and then drill in the pocket holes. If you are not using the the kreg jig, put wood glue on the sides and drill in your screws in all the corners to put it together.
Step 6: Step 6: Sand Exterior
After the box is assembled, it is time to sand the outside of the box. I used 80 grit sandpaper and went around the entire outside of the box. This will take a lot of time if you are doing it by hand. I was lucky because my brother has a hand sander. If you have access to one, feel free to take advantage and use one. It will make this step go by so much faster. If you do not have one, then sanding it by hand will be just fine too. You can get the same quality with whatever way you decide to do it. Sand the outside of the box going with the grain. Remember this is very important if you want your wooden box to have a good quality finish. After going over it and making everything smoothed out, I used the 150 grit and cleaned it up. The higher the grit number, the finer the sandpaper. After you finish sanding the box down, you may notice the sides are sharp. An easy way to fix this is to take your sandpaper and go over all the edges of the box to smooth them down a bit. Don’t do it for too long so it still keeps the desired shape of a box.
Step 7: Step 7: Scrape Dry Glue
Once the wood glue is dry, it is now time to clean it up and make it look a lot nicer. To do this you will need to make sure the glue is hardened and completely dry. It will say one the bottle of wood glue how long it typically takes to dry. Take a chisel and keep it straight and lined up with the wood where there is glue that is bulging out of the sides. Scrape away the excess glue to clean it up. By doing this step, you will make the wooden box look much nicer and more professional looking.
Step 8: Step 8: Stain Wooden Box
For this step you will need to get your stain, two rags, disposable cup, and disposable gloves out. I highly suggest you wear gloves for this step because you will get stain on your hands and it is not easy wash out. I chose a dark color stain for this wooden box because I thought it would look best with my furniture and stick out more. You can pick whatever color you like best. Also depending on the wood you end up using could also affect the color of stain. Like I mentioned before, I used pine wood and pine is known to be inconsistent with the color of stain when it is put on it. It turned out perfect for me and I absolutely love it a lot. To begin this step you will need to put the stain into a plastic cup. Next grab the rag and dip it into the plastic cup covering the rag with the stain. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of stain when covering the box because you will need to rub it off. Rub the stain on one side of the box completely covering it in one coat. After it is completely covered, grab a clean rag and wipe down the excess stain. You need to do this to get rid of the stain that did not end up staining into the wood. I was always taught to rub with the grain to give it a nice finish so that is exactly what I did. After you finish one side, let it dry completely and move on to the next side. After you have finished the outside of the box, it is now time to stain the interior. Repeat the same steps and wipe it down. It is very important to wipe it down after you stain the wood. Don’t forget to wipe down all the cracks and corners of the box because the stain can pile up in the cracks. Now you play the waiting game and let it dry completely. Depending on the type of stain determines how long it takes to dry.
Step 9: Step 9: Decorate!
This is the last and final step of the decorate wooden box and it happens to be my absolute favorite one! This step is all about decorating and using your own creative ideas. I have included some pictures for fall and Christmas/winter decorating ideas. This might help those who struggle with knowing what to put together and what looks good. A great place to look for ideas is pinterest. There are millions of different decoration ideas that you can put together. That is where I thought of the idea of making this wooden box! I also would suggest going to a thrift store like Goodwill and finding decorations. That is where I found all the stuff I need and I got it for a really low price which is great. If you aren’t able to find much at a thrift store, another place I would recommend going to is Michael’s. They have plenty of craft supplies and for a decent price too. What I would suggest getting if you do plan to fill the box with decorations is dried Spanish moss. You can put this in the bottom before putting anything else down. This will help the decorations stand out more and put them closer to the top of the box since the box can end up being pretty deep for some decorations. It will help make a nice, pretty filler. Keep in mind that the moss can get messy! If you want to avoid that you could find other alternatives. For fall, I chose to put decorative pumpkins around the wooden box, Spanish moss, scented candle, and fall colored flowers. I was able to find most of this at New Beginnings which is a thrift store in my town. The decorative pumpkins I ended up getting at Michael's. For the Christmas decorations, I just got mostly random things. I put in a couple sparkly gold ornaments, pine cones, pine leaves, candle, and a decorative candle holder. Remember to have a lot of fun with this part. Move stuff around and try new things for it. You’d be surprised how many different ways you can move your decorations around and have it still look great! When you get bored of it, you can change it up to however you would like to.
Along with the directions, I also made a step by step video on how I made the wooden box. This might help clear up any questions you have along the way. I also put all the links to the Youtube videos here to find them easier instead of going back through and searching for them.