Patriotic Keepsake Box

5 Materials
4 Hours

This simple box can be adjusted to any size you need! I chose a patriotic American theme for mine, but you could choose whatever stain, paint or design that you like.

(This post was sponsored by Worx.)

Watch the full video of this project:

Measure and Cut the Wood

Begin by cutting the lid for the box to the size you like. I used basic plywood I had laying around my workshop, but you might also use specialty ¾” paneling from your local home improvement store. If you are using a stencil like I am, cut it to a size that fits the stencil appropriately. 

Measure the planks for the sides of the box (I used 1” x 3” planks) to be slightly shorter than your lid. This will ensure that the lid hangs over the top of the sides when closed. Cut a total of six planks to that length.

Set two of those planks next to (or on top of) the lid according to where you would like to attach them, and measure out the planks for the two shorter sides accordingly. Cut six more planks to that length. 

Measure the bottom of the box by setting up two long planks and two short planks on top of your ¾” panel, and marking your lines.

Be sure to align your planks according to how you intend on gluing them together (i.e. the long planks on the outside of the short planks, as shown in the picture below) when you take your measurements for the bottom.

NOTE: If you are using hinges that will attach to the outside of the box and/or lid, be sure to measure the planks to allow for enough space for the hinge to attach (see Step 5 below).

Sand and Stain the Wood

Give the wood a quick sanding to smooth it out, paying special attention to the ends. If using a powered sander like I did, be careful to not linger too long in one spot, particularly on the long ends where the planks will be glued together. (Sanding too much in one spot might make the sides uneven and affect the gluing process.)

Wipe clean of dust, and begin staining. I used three different stains from Varathane on this piece:

Barn Red (4 long planks and 4 short planks)

White Wash (2 long planks and 2 short planks)

Worn Navy (Lid and bottom)

Apply the stain using a foam brush or lint-free rag (I like to use old t-shirts), and wipe away quickly. Allow to dry, then do the other side.

Start Painting!

The tools in the MAKERX line are battery operated, so the first step is to charge the battery. Once it’s charged, remove the charging attachment and plug in the hub attachment.

Next, attach the airbrush to it’s diaphragm pump (much like a compressor). It just pops into the socket. Finally, plug the hub into the pump. The airbrush is powered and ready to go!

But first, you need paint!

To add the paint, take the stopper off of the top of the reservoir, fill carefully, and replace the stopper. A little goes a long way! I filled up the reservoir as much as I could, but still had half of it left when I was finished.

NOTE: It’s extremely important to use paint that is specially formulated for airbrushes. Regular paint is too thick and will dry too quickly, clogging the airbrush.

Since I was going with a patriotic theme, I purchased a stencil for the 50 stars from Amazon, which is also available in a variety of sizes. After confirming that the stain was dry, I secured the stencil in place with masking tape.

Finally the fun part! Press the dual-function trigger on the airbrush to control the flow and volume of the spray. The spray is rather gentle, even when the trigger is pressed completely. To increase the intensity of the color, simply hover over that spot on the project longer.

NOTE: The toggle switch on the hub does not affect the volume, flow, or speed of the spray. That toggle is functional on other tools in the MAKERX line.

Assemble the Box

Apply a bead of quality wood glue to the long side of a red plank, then attach it to a white plank of the same length. Repeat the process with another red plank, so that three “stripes” are attached to each other. 

Repeat this for all four sides of the box.

It REALLY helps the adhesion process to press the glued pieces together tightly. Since I do a lot of woodworking projects, I use wood clamps for this purpose. But if you don’t have these, try some straps, rubber bands, or even masking tape. 

Once the sides are dry (I like to leave them to dry overnight, if possible), glue the sides together to make the corners. Be sure to attach them in the same pattern as you originally laid them out (i.e. the short sides inside of the longer sides), otherwise your bottom and lid will not match up correctly.

When the corners are dry, glue the bottom to the inside of the box, and allow it to dry. (This project involves a lot of dry time!)

If desired, you can also add some screws or nails to the corners and bottom to hold everything more secure. (If this will be a “light duty” box, that might not be necessary.) 

Attach the Hinges

Attach your hinges appropriately. This will be different depending on the hinges you are using. I used some that I had leftover from another project, which were really not made for this purpose, so I had to play with them a bit before I started drilling.

And voila! Your box is complete!

Resources for this project:

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