Mayan Rubik's Treasure Box




About: Hi, my name is Britt Michelsen, I'm a Chemical Engineer especially interested in Computational Fluid Dynamics. To balance all the theoretical work I like to make stuff in my free time.

In this Instructable I'm going show you how to turn a plastic Treasure Chest Rubik's Cube into a wooden one.

This cube reveals its inside once it is solved. Just hide your secret message and a fragile glass vial with a poisonous gas which will be released, should someone decide to break the cube out of frustration instead of solving it (Please, please don't poison anybody, I'm just kidding ;-)).

Step 1: What You Need

What you need:
•  at least 25 two millimeter cubes (22 for the Rubik's cube and three to make a rig, but you should get a few more, in case you mess up)
•  Oskar’s Treasure Chest (from Mefferts)
•  Wood stain
•  Clear finish

•  Hot glue gun
•  Strong two component glue
•  Phillips screwdriver
•  Dremel (114 High Speed Cutter, a Sanding Drum and a 3 mm drill)
•  Saw
•  Compass
•  Optional: laser cutter, but the graphics are easy enough, so you can just paint them on.

Step 2: Make the Edge Pieces

Start by building a rig as shown in the first picture of this step. It will make your life a whole lot easier. We will start by making the edge pieces. Remember which piece goes where.

Take the edge pieces apart, they consist of three pieces. Glue two of those pieces together as shown in the second picture. Use a compass to mark a circle with a 3 cm radius, where you will have to cut later. Use the sanding drum of the Dremel, to remove all the excess plastic, until the pieces look as shown in the third picture. Now mark the same radius on the small wooden cubes as shown in the fourth picture. Make sure everything fits, than use hot glue to glue them together.

Step 3: Make the Corner Pieces

Next we will make the corner pieces. Start by taking them apart, then sand and grind the piece that was in the middle down, as shown in the second picture.

Then once again use the compass to mark the circle on the wooden cube, as shown in the third picture. Sand them down and make sure that everything fits and glue the pieces with hot glue together.

Step 4: Make the Center Pieces

It's time for the assembly and adding the center pieces. To give the cube some extra stability, drill holes and glue the screws back in, as shown in the first picture.

Sand the middle pieces down as shown in the second picture. Saw four about two millimeter thin slides of a cube and glue one to each middle. Let the glue set, and if you want/have to, sand the whole cube once it is assembled.
As you can see, I marked the side with a pencil, the writing can easily be removed later.

Now you are basically done. You can of course "decorate" your cube in any way you want, if you would like to go with the mayan theme check out the next step.

Step 5: Decorate

If you don't like the Maya theme you can of course go with whatever you want. I chose mayan glyphs, that match a Rubik's Cube, you can see them in the first picture, of this step. If you would like to choose your own glyphs, check out this site.

If you would like to rather use stickers, check out my other Rubik's Wood Cube ible. I engraved the glyphs with a laser cutter. Once I was done I noticed, that the cube looked far to polished and new. So I decided to use wood stain and matte finish. When you are using wood stain be careful, that there are no more glue residues on your cube, because they will mess up your results.

Hint: depending on the direction of the wood grain the sides of your cube will soak the stain in differently. To prevent an uneven look, test the stain on a small spare cube. Then go back to your Rubik's Cube, stain a small cube and use a cloth to get rid of the of the stain first from the sides, that tend to get darker. You will end up with a nice and even result.

Whatever you are deciding to do, enjoy your new cube.

Cabot Woodcare Contest

First Prize in the
Cabot Woodcare Contest

3rd Annual Make It Stick Contest

Participated in the
3rd Annual Make It Stick Contest



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    15 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Can someone please make the inner plastic chamber into a 3D printable model? I would be willing to give that person a free 3 month instructables pro membership...


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Do you think it would be possible to make the core of the cube yourself, using wood?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    With a CNC? Certainly. By hand? Probably not (a lot of precision is needed).


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool! I am very envious of your tools and handiwork.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderful piece of resourfulness, there...
    It's great to see these things, thank you.
    You deserve a Singing Meercat!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Love the Mayan cube. Love Rubik's Cubes in general. I have never seen the puzzle box version and it intrigues me, but the price is keeping me from adding it to my small collection of cubes.

    On the center edge pieces, you could run a long piece of wood stock through a router with a bit that has the correct curvature as the plastic piece. Once the piece of wood is run through you can just cut the pieces to the correct width. Mass Produced. On the corners ... I've got nothing.

    If you don't mind I'd like to "steal" the Mayan idea and wood burn it into veneer and glue it on a regular Rubik's cube.

    Great Idea!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, thank you, I originally wanted to make it with a CNC, but the one we were supposed to get didn't arrive in time. I think a lathe would have worked pretty well as well.

    I had the same idea with the veneer, but I'm a big perfectionist and didn't wanted the plastic to shine through, while turning the cube. It would have made my life a whole lot easier. though...

    I like the idea of burning the design in the wood. I didn't think of that. I would love for you to make it and show me the result.


    I have never been able to solve these tricky puzzles, but these came out great. You have inspired me to come with additional ideas as to how a Rubiks cube can be gutted and repurposed.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, actually they are quite easy to solve, you just need to learn a few algorithms.

    You work at instructables, right? I can't edit the first step of this instructable without getting this error:

    There's been a problem updating your Instructable
    SyntaxError: JSON.parse: bad control character in string literal

    It would be nice if you could look into it.