In this Instructable, I will teach you how to make an "antique" wooden jewelry display box. This project is perfect for a gift to a loved one or for use around your home. This display box does not require any special skills or tools other than a love of woodcraft. Beginners and experts alike can enjoy this project!
I decided to make this project because I had recently been experimenting with balsa, and wanted to see how it would perform as the main wood used in a large-scale project. I had never tried staining balsa before and hadn't really used it for anything important. I love how balsa looks, so I decided to give it a try - Now I am incredibly glad I took the chance because it really paid off.
Step 1: Supplies and Tools
These are the bare minimum tools and supplies required to complete this project:
1) Wood - I used balsa wood for this project because it is light and cheap, thus making it perfect for the beginner. Wood is used for the frame, walls, shelves, etc. and is the most important thing you will use.
2) Glue - Super glue is a fast-drying, strong glue that is great for small parts because it applies fast and requires only a very little amount to set. I used Gorilla brand super glue gel because it doesn't run as much as other super glues. You can also use hot glue, but I feel that super glue is superior because it results in a more clean finish.
3) Cutting Tool - The wood required for this project is generally either small or thin, meaning an Xacto knife would work. However, I prefer saws - since this project isn't all that large, I would recommend a razor saw.
4) Ruler - Used to measure. Required for this project unless you know how to eyeball lengths of wood to a 1/4 of an inch.
These are tools and supplies that will greatly aid in this project but are not required to make it.
1) Miter Box - A miter box is used to help make precision cuts. It is not required, but a miter box will make your job a whole lot easier.
2) Sand Paper - Sand paper is not required, but will make your project more polished. If you don't mind the extra trip to the store, I would highly recommend sand paper. Try to get at least some very fine sandpaper for detail work and coarse sand paper for the rest.
3) Felt - I used felt inside all of the shelves and around all of the hangars in order to avoid scratching expensive jewelry. Not required, but if you plan on using this a lot, it is highly recommended.
4) Wood Stain - In my opinion, I love how balsa wood looks. However, if you want to take your project to the next level, use wood stain. If you choose to use wood stain, you will also need to buy a proper mask and take safety precautions to avoid over-inhalation, but if you are careful it is by far worth it.
5) Scale - You can use a scale to weigh various pieces of wood and try to choose sticks that have a good density. If they are too dense, they end up being too hard to cut and are too heavy, and if they are too light, they can easily snap.
6) A few other smaller supplies which we will discuss in this Instructable.
I personally used all of these items to make my display box, so if you want to follow this instructable step-by-step you should probably get all of these. Otherwise, be prepared to skip over certain sections if you don't have the materials required.
Step 2: Working With Balsa
Balsa is a very lightweight, cheap wood that you can generally find at your local hobby shop or craft store. When working with balsa, you need to make sure to take your time when cutting. With heavier wood, you might be able to slice right through it, but with balsa that will result in uneven cuts and pockmarks.
Since it is lighter, make sure to be more careful with sandpaper - you would be surprised how little sanding is required as compared to other woods!
Finally, if you choose to wood stain, be aware that you might have to settle for a lighter color, apply more, or work in multiple coats. Balsa is very porous, meaning the wood stain will soak in, and since it starts off lighter you need to work harder to get it to a nice, even dark color.
Step 3: Create the Bases
Cut 8 pieces of balsa that are 1/2 x 1/2 x 7 in. For each base, glue 4 sticks together so that each stick has exactly one end touching another stick and one end touching it so that it is a perfect square. Once you have two bases, move on to the next step.
Step 4: Build the Frame
Cut 4 pieces of wood that are 1/2 x 1/2 x 8 in. Glue each stick so that it connects the bases together. The sticks should be on each of the 4 corners of the inside of the bases.
Step 5: Attach Dividing Walls
Create 4 walls by cutting plates of wood 8 x 5 x 1/8 in. Sand the inside corners of the 4 pillars connecting the bases until the walls can fit. Start off by gluing 2 of the walls together along the 8 inch side, and then glue them to two opposite pillars. Then glue the 2 remaining walls between the center of the box and 1 of the other 2 pillars.
Step 6: Adding the Floor and Roof
Cut a floor and roof that are approximately 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 1/4 in. Glue these on the top and bottom of the box. After this step, you will have finished the basic frame of your display box.
Step 7: Adding Quick Storage Box
Cut 4 pieces of plate balsa about 5 1/2 x 2 x 1/4 in. Round the top edge of the 4 pieces using sandpaper and glue them together, making sure that each piece has one end connected to the next and one end connected to itself so that it is a perfect square. Then round off the top corners and glue the box to the top of the display case.
Step 8: Adding Specialized Compartments
There are 3 different types of compartments used for storing items in this display box. You can choose to add shelves, necklace hangars, and bracelet / watch hangars. You can mix and match, and because of the color scheme and design, both men and women can use this. For the purpose of demonstration, I made 2 shelving compartments, one necklace compartment, and one bracelet / watch compartment.
In the following steps I will show you how to do each of them. Later on when adding felt, I will show you how to do so for each of these types.
Step 9: Add Shelves
For every compartment you would like to make shelving for, cut a square of plate balsa to 4 x 4 x 1/8 in. Then cut this square in half and you have 2 triangular shelves! If the shelves don't fit, sand the sides a bit until it does. Glue the shelves so that they evenly divide the compartment into 3 portions.
Cut 2 pieces of plate balsa about 5 1/2 x 1 x 1/8 in. Glue these pieces on the edges of the shelves. These will help keep any of your items from falling out when moving your display box.
Step 10: Add Necklace Hangars
For every compartment you would like to make necklace hangars for, cut 4 pieces of balsa 3/8 x 3/8 x 1 in. Then cut 4 pieces of plate balsa about 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/8 in. Glue these plates onto the sticks of balsa so that horizontally they are centered and vertically they are slightly up.
Glue these 4 hangars on the upper portions of the walls of the compartments. Glue two per side, and make sure to keep them close to the edge rather than the center so they don't bump into each other.
Step 11: Add Bracelet / Watch Hangars
For every compartment you would like to make necklace hangars for, cut 8 pieces of balsa 3/8 x 3/8 x 1 in. Then cut 4 pieces of plate balsa about 2 1/2 x 1 x 1/8 in. Glue 2 sticks of balsa onto each plate so that the sticks are on either end of the plate and are vertically centered.
Glue these 4 hangars onto the walls. Glue 2 per wall, and alternate walls going downwards - one hangar on the left wall, one on the right wall 2 inches below, etc.
Step 12: Sand to Perfection
Sand all of the rough corners and edges of your design. You can also go over all of the surfaces with a smooth sand paper to get it ready for wood staining and to even the surfaces out. Take your time, because whatever shape your display box is in now will be the same as when it is complete. You also can't easily sand your display box once you apply wood stain.
Step 13: Fill Gaps in Wood
If you weren't able to cut the pieces of wood perfectly, try mixing glue and sawdust and putting it in the gaps. Essentially, when the glue hardens, the sawdust will make the glue the color of the wood you are using and help the gaps / cracks blend in.
An easy, quick way to apply is to use a Q-tip or cotton swab.
Make sure not to over apply. One disadvantage of this is that when wood staining the color will be darker where this mixture is, so try to keep it to a minimum. I made the mistake of over-applying in an attempt to cover up a couple of poorly cut balsa pieces, and had to go through the trouble of scraping / sanding it off after the mixture had dried.
Step 14: Stain Your Creation
Wood staining is one of the harder parts of this process. You do not want to over expose yourself to the fumes. As such, you might want to buy some protective gear.
Taking Precautionary Action
Make sure to have a mask or respirator that will keep out the fumes - check in the product description to make sure it will work, because most masks can only keep out particles, not vapors. If you are new to wood staining, I would also recommend wearing one-time-use gloves (you aren't trying to stain your hands!) and even goggles (to protect your eyes / glasses from unfortunate splashes or spills).
At the bare minimum, use a fan to blow away the rising fumes. Since this is a small project you can even work on it outside.
One sign that your precautions aren't working is if you can smell the fumes - that is a sure-fire way of knowing that fumes are getting into your mask. If you start experiencing symptoms, stop right away and get some rest. Your health is worth a lot more than a jewelry box you found on Instructables.
Staining Your Display Box
To wood stain your box, put some of the stain in a cup or bowl. Use a brush to apply to the surface of the wood. Once you are done, wipe away the excess residue. If you want a darker finish, try applying two coats (wait a few hours in between), getting a darker staining product, or simply applying more in the first coat.
Whatever you do, DO NOT overly douse your creation in stain. I was trying to get a very dark finish, and I accidentally over-applied the stain (whoops!). The stain ended up dripping down the walls and pooling in the cracks of the floor. Luckily there wasn't too much of a problem - I ended up covering it up with felt anyway in the next step.
Wait a day or two before continuing. Make sure all of the stain is dry and there aren't any fumes. Let your creation air out outside or in an open location away from your house before bringing it inside.
Step 15: Apply Cushioning
Cut a square of felt about 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Glue this inside of the quick storage box.
Cut one triangle per compartment of felt to about 4 x 4 in. Glue this onto the floor. Make two additional triangles if you added shelves and glue them into the shelves.
If you added hangars, for each stick of wood cut a piece of felt that is 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. Glue this wrapped around the stick of wood.
These pieces of felt will help keep your jewelry safe from scratches and avoid damaging the wood.
Step 16: Finish!
Congratulations, you have completed this Instructable! If you decide to make this project, have fun displaying it and amazing your friends with your new DIY prowess.
It was a lot of work researching, designing, building, and photographing this project, so I hope you guys enjoy the finished product. If you have any questions about how to build this jewelry display box or have suggestions for how I can improve it, feel free to comment down below.