I wanted to make a gift for my wife that would mean more than just going out and purchasing something. This YouTube video was the inspiration for my Musical Jewelry Box. I did several things differently than the author did, however it did sparked the process behind my build.
Original Design Goals
- simplicity, it should be quick and easy to build
- look good, I want her to like it
- play her favorite song when the box is opened
As Built Design
- for the most part, it was simple to build
- it looks good, it even includes a picture frame with a photo in it
- unique, It is the only one I built
- plays a list of her favorite songs when the box is opened
- functions as a MP3 player with volume, previous and next, and play and pause control
Step 1: The Cigar Box
The box I selected came from Nicaragua and is made from solid mahogany. I used a heat gun to remove the stickers. The heat and the sticker also removed some of the finish.
- cigar box
- sand paper
What I Did
- carefully disassembled the box, the hardware will be reused.
- removed all the stickers
- sanded, stained and refinished the box
Step 2: The Picture Frame
I wanted a picture to be centered on the inside of the lid, surrounded by soft plush material.
- picture frame, thrift store treasure
- 1/2" foam pad
- scrap peice of Lauan underlayment (5mm plywood)
- blue satin like material
- contact cement
- hot glue
What I Did
- cut the Lauan to size
- cut an oval shape out of the panel, just a little smaller than the picture frame
- glue the foam to the panel and cut to shape
- glue a piece of fabric to the back side of the panel, the glue bleeds through the fabric
- glue a piece of ribbon in one corner, to ease the removal of the pictrure frame
- hot glue the frame to the panel
- put photo into the frame
- attach the picture frame inside the lid with hook and loop fasteners
It sounds pretty easy now that I have written it down. This was the hardest part for me, I wanted it just so.... it still is not as nice as I wanted. I traded my sanity for "it looks okay". Actually it looks better installed in the lid.
Step 3: The Player
I purchased five of the cheap MP3 players off of Ebay, the extras became gifts.
- MP3 player
- microSD card
- perf board
- micro tactile push button switches
- heat shrink
- old head phones
- a pair of speakers, amplified may work better than the speakers I used
- rare earth magnets, I like Radio Shack's 64-1895, a bit overpriced but the size is perfect
- magnetic reed switch, needs to have three leads (SPDT, ON-ON), I used Philmore No. 30-17154
- dowel rod
What I Did
- disassembled the MP3 player
- made a note of which contact went with which function
- removed ridge from the outside of the case, to ease fitting it into the box
- soldered wire to the speaker terminals and the old head phone cable
- soldered wire to the reed switch, I used a continuity tester to pick the correct leads
- cut a notch for the reed switch and glue it in
- drill a hole in the lid and press in both magnets
- remove the clear tape holding the contact springs
- carefully solder wires to replace the switches
Everything function properly, except when plugged in to charge the battery. Player stops playing as soon as the lid close, as it should. It takes a couple of seconds to start playing when opened, I would rather it started a little faster.
Step 4: Volume, Play and Pause Buttons
I need to purchase the appropriate drill bits! Forstner bits would have work much better, less tear out than the twist bits I used.
I wanted to be able to access the microSD slot without opening anything inside the box. Install the MP3 player in this manner allows me to easily change memory cards and recharge the battery.
- volume up
- volume down
I did not want to put these inside the box, I wanted to keep the inside simple. I drilled the holes and used my rotary tool to sand a groove between the holes, so the buttons could be recessed.
Step 5: Speaker Grill
I had no real easy ideas for speaker covers. I did have one idea but I am going to save it for a future Steampunk project.
I decided on cutting out a pattern on a piece Lauan under-layment. My first choice was of the speaker icon. That was before I stumbled upon the image of a treble clef and a Valentine heart overlaid on each other, perfect for my project.
Step 6: Finishing the Inside
Crushed red velvet flocking is a very easy way to make the interior of the box look great.
I love the results of using flocking powder, it is so easy to use and the results look great. There are no gaps in the corners or glue bleeding through other materials.
For the buttons, I simply mounted the push switches to a perf. board, drilled holes through the speaker panel, and used a drop of hot glue to hold the buttons on the switches. hmm! I used buttons for buttons, sorry bad pun.
Step 7: Conclusion
I boxed up the music box complete with fake label, then handed her the mail along with the box... she loved it.
My musical jewelry box functions almost exactly like I planned. My biggest dislike is how it functions when plugged into a charger. I am happy with the way it looks. My wife really likes it! That is the important part.
If I use a cheap MP3 player again I will test it with a power adapter hooked up in place of the battery.
When I build the next one there are a few things I would do different.
- drop the jewelry box, and make it strictly a music player (audio)
- make the whole project, at least on the inside, with a Steampunk theme
- use an Arduino and MP3 module instead of a cheap MP3 player
- add lights and animation controled by the Arduino
- have the inside panel, at least the speaker cover portion laser cut
- add wifi for playing online streaming music
- add USB power ports, to use as a charging station
- by using the Arduino it opens up a whole world of options