DIY Custom Wooden Stationary Box







13-DSC_0091Today I am going to share how to make a custom wood box with a slide lid with you. This is something I have wanted to make for a while now, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to put inside to store. A few weeks ago, I bought a set of mini greeting cards from Printstagram, and I instantly knew that they were the perfect item to make the little wooden box for. This project, although not totally advanced, does require some major power tools. So, it has the potential to be quite dangerous when working with items like a table saw. If you don’t know what you are doing, or are not very careful, you can easily lose a finger. This is why I had a LOT of help from my hubby on this project, since he is an experienced craftsman. There are probably other ways to make one of these boxes, since everyone has a prefered method of woodworking. This is how we made our box…

Here’s What You Need:

*3/8″ Birch Plywood

*1/8″ Birch Plywood

*Ruler and Pencil

*Table Saw & Push Block

*Drill Press or Drill with a 3/4″ forstner bit

*Wood Glue

*Pin Nailer &23 gage pins

*Dremmel Tool and a Carving bit

*Image Transfer or Decorative Paper to decoupage top of box

*Clear Lacquer Spray to seal the image on the lid




The first thing you need to do is measure your items that are going to go in your box. My cards are 4×4, but my envelopes are a little less than 4.5×6″, and the stack of everything compressed is around 2-2.5″. I want my box to be a little larger to fit everything nicely. So, I want the inside bottom to be 5.25×6.75 which is the padded measurement of the envelope plus the width of the wood for each side because the sides are going to sit on top of the bottom. The sides will be the length of the bottom and a height of over 2 inches, so sides are 6.75×2.5″. The front and back pieces will be a bit different since the front will be shorter for the top to slide into the grooves you will cut. The back will be the width of the bottom and the same height as the sides, so 4.5×2.5″. Cut the front a quarter-inch shorter in height, so it would be 4.5×2.25″




Measure and mark your wood. Set up your table saw to cut your lengthwise strips. Cut your length pieces first. We cut the 6.75 strip first. And then a 4.5″ strip.


Then cut your cross cuts. So out of the 6.75 piece, cut one at a 5.25 for the bottom, and then two pieces at 2.5 for the sides. Then cut the 4.5 strip for the front and back pieces at 2.5″ for the back and 2.25 for the front.





To make the groove for the wood to sit in you need to cut a dado 1/8″ in from the top of the side and back pieces. Set your table saw to 1/8″ from the blade. Now, using extreme caution since you can lose a finger, carefully push the side piece through the blade of the saw from the front until you see the blade breaching the back end, but don’t let it go all the way through. ┬áStop it short. Do the same thing with the other side making sure the groove is being cut on the correct side of the wood. For the back you can cut your dado all the way through from one side to the other since it will be sandwiched in between the sides and therefore the sides of the wood won’t be seen.



Take your front piece and mark the halfway point on the top front. Load your drill or drill press with a 3/4″ forstner┬ábit, and drill halfway onto the top edge making a half moon notch in the top of the wood.




Next, load a small carving bit onto your dremmel. Take your side pieces and carve out the rest of the dado in the side piece, stopping just a tiny bit short of the back ends. You should now be able to fit the side and back pieces together and see a continuous groove all around the sides and the back.





Now, run a small amount of glue down the bottom of one of the side pieces. Smooth out the glue so it is a thin layer. Glue it to the bottom piece. Now shoot a few pin nails through the bottom into the side you just glued. Glue and nail the other side. Then run some glue onto the bottom and sides of the back piece. Sandwich it in between the sides in the back. Nail it in place from the bottom and add a few nails in the sides. Then glue and nail in the front piece.



To make the top of the box, measure the inside dimensions of the top inside of the groove plus a tiny bit of wiggle room. My top needed to be 4.75×6.5″



Measure and cut your top piece from the 1/8″ plywood using your table saw.


Fit the top into the box. If it is a bit tight you can shave it down by sanding the edges.



You will need to sand the entire box lightly with some 220 grit sandpaper to smooth off any rough spots.

*You can leave your box natural or you can add an image to the top like I did. The top of my box was a little of a craft fail. I originally tried to use a lazertran transfer and burn the image into the wood with the real turpentine method. This did not work for me at all. I’m entirely positive if my turpentine is the real deal, especially since I followed the directions on the transfer paper to a t. What I ended up using was another transfer that I let dry and then glued it on with a layer of decoupage medium. I then sealed it with a clear lacquer spray. I was not very happy with this one either. You can’t see it in the photos, but the transfer bubbled a bit when I sprayed the lacquer on it. I am planning on making another top sometime and just decoupaging a thin paper image on the top since I think that will have a better turn out. *






12-DSC_0090I LOVE my stationary box! I LOVE my Printstagram mini cards too! This box is a great piece for a coffee table or a side table. You can make one to fit your photos, craft supplies, beauty projects, anything you like. If this is a little more work than you’d like to take on, sometimes you can find an old cigar box with a slide top and decorate the top. I will be back next week with a fun and easy bunting to share with you guys. Until then…

Happy Crafting!

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4 Responses

  1. This project is so cute and practical! I would just need about 30 of these boxes to hold all my pictures of my dog (lol).

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Haha! Thanks Katie! I am right there with you! My family teases us because we have one picture of us on the walls at home, and the rest are of our pets!

  2. Once again you’ve impressed me with your woodworking skills, but I have to say the first photo is a hoot! Adorable!