Tutorial – Making a Box

This lesson uses my laser carved chest kits (these are the interlocked ones, either blank or carved in any size, I will be doing a tutorial soon on the non-interlocked chests).  I will be having occasional contests with these, there’re easy and fun, so you might want to give them a try.  You should be able to put the chest together in about 5-10 minutes.  If you plan to stain the chest, do the pieces before glueing.  If you’re going to paint them, do the painting afterwards.  You can use spray paint, acrylic paint and even nail polish.  Decals, sequins, jewelry finding, etc. all work great on these chests.  I haven’t tried handpainted artwork, but that’s a thought.  One word of caution, if you are going to try to paint one of the carved boxes, do some test pieces to be sure you get the look you want, the wood is porous and will soak up waterbased paint and bleed around the areas.  You might need to seal the wood before starting to paint.  NOTE:  when painting or staining thin pieces of wood, be sure to paint or stain both sides at the same time so you don’t get warping.

Chest Kit Pieces

Chest Kit Pieces

The chest kit comes with a bottom, 2 long sides and 2 short sides.  There will be 1 or 2 lids and a liner.  You can lay them out on your work surface along with your favorite white or wood glue.  I like to squeeze the glue into a longish line (slightly longer than the long side of your chest).

Don’t worry.  There is absolutely no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to put these chests together, it’s what works best for you.  This is my favorite way, but relax and be comfortable.  This is cake! (mmm …. cake!)

One important note, if you are doing one of the ‘carved chests’, make sure the carving is on the ‘outside’ of the chest so that you will be able to see it all the way around.  I have had to ‘redo’ chests before when I’ve found one of my carved sides is on the inside of the box and it is quite doable before the glue sets up, but it’s much easier if you have them facing the right way the first time.

Making a Chest

Making a Chest

I like to take the bottom of the chest, hold it in my left hand (I’m right handed) and dip the ‘teeth’ of the interlock just barely into the glue line (hmm.. can’t see the glue line very well).  I’ll redo these pictures soon, but you get the idea. 

Making a Box

Making a Box

Above you see the teeth of the interlock sort of filled in with glue.  This piece can probably use just a touch more glue on the bottom part of the teeth


This shows the bottom with the touch of glue on one side and the 1st long side piece next to it.

09020305This is the bottom and side put together.  Just slide the small teeth into each other and it will fit together and even if the glue isn’t dry, as long as you don’t push or pull it, it will stay together.


Now, if you turn the box so you are holding the bottom and the side you’ve just glued, you can glue the other long side of the bottom piece and slide on the matching long side.

09020308At this point you should be able to lightly hold the bottom and 2 side pieces and dip the end interlock (the bottom and 2 sides) into the glue.  If the sides wiggle on you, don’t worry, they will firm up just fine when you add on the end pieces. Take the end piece and just work the interlocks together until everything fits, you can tell by feel when you have it all in place.


Here you see the box with the first end piece fitted on.  Reverse the box, glue the end interlock and slide in the 2nd end piece being sure all the interlocks are secure.  The box will feel firm to you now.  Slide your liner piece into the box interior. Y(you can use a dab of glue if you wish, but it is not necessary under most circumstances. You can wipe away any excess glue at this point.


Hooray!!!  You’re done!  Now wasn’t that eazy-peazy?!?


Here are a few chests I finished.  

  • Brown top chest – I stained the pieces using a good wood stain before gluing together.  Then used a decal for the top decoration, finishing with a coating of acrylic.
  • Green box – I made the box and then using I think 3 layers of spray paint in all (several sessions so that all sides could be finished).  Then some lovely little decals and a finish of acrylic spray.
  • 2 boxes on the  right – I made some carved boxes and then used a couple of layers of a clear glittery nail polish on the boxes and glued on a rhinestone.  They don’t show as well in the picture as they are in person, but it’s a really great effect.

If you have anything to add to this tutorial, please don’t hesitate to let me know…. take care.. Ellen

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