My out of control scrap pile has officially dwindled down to a couple of completely manageable bins . Earlier projects like the headboard and floating shelves sucked most of the life out of it. But, those projects motivated me to keep working towards utilizing as much of it as possible, without purchasing anything new (yet). The most recent result was this little decorative box. Easy to build and perfect for all those little, bitty pieces you just can’t make yourself throw away.
The base pieces. You start with these pieces to create the base structure. The ? marks are there because you can use scrap pieces of different heights, just be sure you use all the same size depth. I used 3/4″ stock for the the bottom (7×12) and the skinny strips you see (13.5 x ? & 7 x ?) and 1/4″ stock for the interior sides (4.5×7 & 4.5×11.5).
Start assembly by gluing and nailing the short skinny strip ends (7x?) to the bottom piece (7×12).
Repeat with the long skinny strips. You want the pieces flush with one side of the bottom. You can see the skinny strips are not all the same height and it really doesn’t matter as long as there is enough extending past the bottom to attach the side pieces.
Then dry fit the sides of the box into the base to be sure everything fits properly.
Once you know everything fits properly, pull out the longer pieces leaving the shorter ones in place. Those shorter pieces will just be used as spacers at the moment. Use a good sized bead of glue along the interior side of the base and then place the long sides back in place and clamp (pull the short ends out to clamp). You could also nail these in place with a brad nailer. I didn’t have any nails short enough, so glue worked alone. I just had to have a little patience to allow everything time to dry. Once dry repeat these steps for the short ends.
After all the interior sides are in place and set permanently it is time to start adding the decorative sides. This is where all the little pieces come into play. You want to use 3/4″ stock – the same as used for the skinny strips.
Start with the short ends (no in process pictures, sorry, I spaced). Mark your side wall 1/4″ down from the top. Do not place any pieces above that mark. Apply glue to the side wall and glue each length in place. My short ends were horizontal strips in various heights @ 7″ long. The pieces should be flush with the ends of the short side. These could also be tacked in place with 3/4″ brads, but glue alone works fine too. Clamp the pieces to the side wall once they are all in place. Let dry.
Finished short end. You can see the 1/4″ gap left at the top of the side. It’s very important this measurement is the same all around the box.
After both short sides are in place you can start the long ends. Mark 1/4″ down from the top same as you did for the short ends. For the longer sides I went with 3″ height along the length in vertical strips (because I have a ton of short, itty bitty pieces), but you could do longer strips in various heights just like the short ends or any other arrangement that works for you.
I only nailed the first piece in place. The rest of the pieces were just glued in place. Keep going until the side is filled.
After all those pieces were in place, I cut a 13.5″ long strip the height needed to meet the 1/4″ mark near the top of the side wall.
Repeat for the other long side. My long sides are very similar, but not exact. Like I said before it ‘s a puzzle you can put together in whatever design works for you and the scrap you have available.
With all the sides assembled, glued and clamped, it is time to assembly the top.
Super simple to assembly. Attach the 7″ long pieces with glue and nails to the short end of the top. Repeat with the 13.5″ long pieces along the remaining two sides.
That’s it. Finished top. Don’t worry if it looks a little off in the photos. Some sanding is going to make it all look pretty.
Now it’s time to see if it all fits together.
And it does. Yay!
Now that it is built it is time to sand it down. I did not fill in the nail holes because this is going to have a more old distressed look when I get done with it, so the nail holes just add to that look.
The almost finished box after loads of sanding…
I’m still debating on the exact finish I want to use. The stain I would like to try is only available online (for me) and I’d have to order 2 quarts. I don’t want to try it that bad. Another possibility would be a faux distressed paint finish, but that would cover all the variances in the wood which doesn’t really appeal to me either. More thought will have to go into this one. Stay tuned…
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