MAKEZINE_WebTheme3-Wednesday


At some point we’re all going to need to build a wood box. Whether it’s to keep a tool safe, or build a project enclosure, knowing how to make a box that’s a custom size really comes in handy. Sure, you can fab one on a laser cutter, but I’m really starting to get tired of that burnt finger-jointed look.

Below I’ll show you how to build a wood box that’s utilitarian and customizable to any shape. I know it might not be the type of box you’re used to making, so let me know what techniques you use that are different. I’m also not immune to critique, but I’ve built boxes like this for years that have held up like champs. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need

– 3/8″ plywood
– 1 1/4″ drywall screws
– speed square
– tape measure
– driver drill
– pencil
– circular saw

I decided to make a Mumm-Ra-sized box today, so laid him out on the plywood and gave him plenty of wiggle room. Use a speed square to make your cut line.

I decided to make a Mumm-Ra-sized box today, so laid him out on the plywood and gave him plenty of wiggle room. Use a speed square to make your cut line.

Once you've cut the bottom piece, you can use its width to mark the cuts for the shorter sides.

Once you’ve cut the bottom piece, you can use its width to mark the cuts for the shorter sides.

Things can get a little wiggly at this point, especially if you don't have a vice. I suggest pre-sinking the screws to help this. If they poke out a bit, even better since they'll anchor themselves to the base.

Things can get a little wiggly at this point, especially if you don’t have a vice. I suggest pre-sinking the screws to help this. If they poke out a bit, even better since they’ll anchor themselves to the base.

Now that you have the short sides up, you can measure out the long side. Don't worry if the short sides aren't completely straight. You can bend them into place later.

Now that you have the short sides up, you can measure out the long side. Don’t worry if the short sides aren’t completely straight. You can bend them into place later.

Use a tape measure to find the entire length of the box. This includes the base and the sides. This one is 8 and 15/16"

Use a tape measure to find the entire length of the box. This includes the base and the sides. This one is 8 and 15/16″

When you measure it out, make a big triangle that terminates at your measurement. It makes it easy to see when making your cut line with the speed square.

When you measure it out, make a big triangle that terminates at your measurement. It makes it easy to see when making your cut line with the speed square.

As you screw the long sides in, bend the short sides in to make it nice and square. If you have to bend them dramatically, you probably did something wrong and should re-screw them.

As you screw the long sides in, bend the short sides in to make it nice and square. If you have to bend them dramatically, you probably did something wrong and should re-screw them.

After a bit of sanding, Mumm-Ra has a nice little spot to chill in. What will you use your box for?

After a bit of sanding, Mumm-Ra has a nice little spot to chill in. What will you use your box for?