Marvelous Money Boxes




Introduction: Marvelous Money Boxes

I wanted to make a couple of money boxes for my kids and had a marvel poster spare so decided I'd make a comic clad money box for them each. They will get £1 a week and 20 pence a day, with the day one being an incentive to behave......well I'm hoping anyway (they are 5 and 7 by the way and not grown ups!)

As I didn't have any hardwood planks about and most of the wood would be covered in comic I made the box mainly out of plywood. As you will see a bit later though I do like my boxes to look like they are made of real wood so this added an extra level of work I needed to do.


Table saw

Router (or dado stack on table saw)

Craft knife


18mm (3/4in) Plywood - 2No 170mm * 125mm (6 3/4in * 5in)

2No 152mm * 125mm (6in * 5in)

6mm (1/4in) plywood - 2No 150mm * 150mm (6in * 6in)

Leather for lining the base (optional)

Veneer (optional)

Comics or comic poster

Blackboard paint (chalkboard)


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Step 1: Cut the Wood

I firstly ripped a couple of 125mm (5in) strips of plywood and cross cut two parts to 170mm and two parts to 152mm. The 152mm came from taking 2 * the thickness of the plywood from the 170mm.

I based the width and height on the size of the pictures on the poster so you if you made this you may have to adjust these dimensions to fit the pictures you have.

In the first photo you can see a rough sketch I had drawn up so I knew what I was doing. I chose this method of construction as it would be quick and easy with no difficult joints to do, and cutting the grooves/dados in the top and bottom of the wood would be easy as these could be passed completely through the router and wouldn't be seen in the final box.

Once cut I set the router in the table to cut the rebate/rabbet in to the edges of the longer parts to the thickness of the plywood and the depth of half the thickness (18mm and 9mm respectively). I then cut the grooves/dados in to the top and bottom of all the pieces to a depth of 9mm (I used a 7mm router bit).

I then measured the width and depth of the grooves in the dry fitted box and cut the base appropriately.

Don't get confused by some of the photos as there will be additional pieces seen as I made two at the same time!

Step 2: Additional Extras!

Although this was made of plywood I did want to make it a bit more luxurious so I added a lining to the base and some veneer to the exposed ends of the plywood.

After cutting the plywood base I cut some recycled leather to the correct size. As I was doing two boxes at the same time I put the glued parts together and clamped them for half an hour.

As the front of the box was going to be lower to accommodate the sliding lid i though it would be difficult to veneer the top of the front panel once put together so I cut some veneer to roughly the right size, glued, clamped and trimmed the veneer to edge of the panel.

Step 3: Glue-up

After veneering the from panel I could put the box together. Before I glued it all up I added a coat of finishing oil to the inside as it would be easier to do it now than later.

I glued the rebate/rabbet to the front and back panels added the base and put it all together, made sure that it was square and secured the joint with brad nails. I also added clamps to further secure and to adjust the squareness in a more controlled manner.

Once the glue had dried I removed the clamps and added the veneer to the top of the exposed plywood. In the corners I used a 45 degree cut which make it look like the box had been constructed with mitre joint which I think looks a bit nicer than a butt joint.

Once finished I determined the size of the sliding lid and cut the ply to size. I added a hole, cut with a fostner bit, to the top so the lid could be slid easily with the finger.

Step 4: Comic It Up

Now the box was constructed I need to add the comics to the outside.

I cut the comic poster in to 4 pieces for each box slightly oversized and glued two opposite sides at once so I could fix the comics to the box using some scrap wood. This worked out well as the scrap wood made a good base to cut the overlaps of the comics on, and being clamped they didn't move when I was cutting, so I was able to produce a nice clean edge.

If I had had some spray contact adhesive I probably would have tried that as the wood glue did tend to make the comics bubble a little, although I was able to remove the imperfections eventually.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

I was going to leave the top unfinished at first but once I put it all together the top didn't quite look right.

I then thought it would be good to make the top in to a blackboard/chalkboard. This would enable me to add the names of the kids on it and put the amount of money they had in the box. The reverse of the lid will also be used as a blackboard for doing sums on. As the boxes are quite large I thought it would be good for the kids to pick things they wanted from a catalogue and cut them out and keep them in the box. We could then work out on the reverse of the lid to work out how much additional money they needed to save until they could get some of the things. I think this will be very appropriate for my 7 year old as he will be learning about money and doing this kind of maths this year at school. I'm sure this will also give my 5 year old some help too if I can manage to break down the sums to a basic enough level.

As you can see in the photo George has £1 more than Jack, I'm not mean it just that George had got some money from the tooth fairy....a good start. Even better for him as another tooth fell out this afternoon!

Thanks for reading!

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