DIY MEmento Box
Updated: Jul 26, 2018
Father's day is right around the corner - and this year, my dad asked for a storage solution to hold some of his most cherished gifts from me. Whether it was baby shoes or a handwritten letter, this memento box is the perfect project to give to dad this year!
1- pine board @ 1”X6”X6’
1 - Birch Plywood Board @ ¼” X 24 X 24
Excess Wood to create a jig
Laser Printed Photo
Step 1: Cut your wood to the following sizes:
2X12 ½” (sides) - 1 X 6
2X11 (Front and Back) - 1 X 6
12 X 11 ⅝ birch plywood (top)
11 ⅝ X 11 ⅝ birch plywood (bottom)
You’ll want to make sure you cut these boards using a Mitre Saw to ensure they are precise. Precision is the key to this project!
Step 2: On both your side and front/back boards, decide what will be your top and bottom. I put small marks on the tops to ensure I don’t make any mistakes on later steps. I’ve indicated which side boards will be my right and left and used an arrow that points to my front board. I’ve also written F for front and B for Back.
Step 3: Determine how far down you are going to create your router groove. I’ve set my router depth to 3/8th of an inch. This is halfway through my ¾ inch thick 1X6...thank you lumber nomenclature. I’ve determined which router bit to use by measuring the thickness of my top board which is ¼ “ adding an additional 16th of an inch to allow the board to move easily. Because I don't have a router table, I’m using a router and simply creating my own jig to make my straight lines. This is simple to do with a couple blocks of wood, acting as a straightedge and a clamp. To make my groove begin ⅜” from the edge from my board, I’ve set my straight edge of my jig 2 ¼” from the edge of my board. Every router is different, so adjust your jig accordingly!
Step 4: It’s time to cut your grooves. This is where your marked boards are going to come in handy. You are going to cut both the top and the bottom of your sides and front/back boards. Your bottom cuts are going to allow your 11 ⅝ X 11 ⅝ birch plywood to set into the box and be hidden while your top 12 X 11 ⅝ plywood is going to slide in as a removable lid. I’ve outlined each router cut by their tops + bottoms
TOP ROUTER GROVE
BACK: Router the full length of the board.
SIDES: Router the full length of the board but leave 3/8th of an inch at the rear. This prevents seeing a gap at the back of your box.
FRONT: To make your sliding lid, the top of the front board will need to be completely cut off ¾”. I don't have a table saw or router table to easily do this, so i’ve simply cut the top off using a circular saw.
BOTTOM ROUTER GROOVE
SIDES: You need to create the router grooves that’s going to house your box floor. To do this, you want a groove which runs the length of the board excluding 3/8th of an inch at both ends.
Each router is different, I’ve set my blade to the highest point and slowly adjusted in downward into the wood ⅜”. To be safe, I lowered the blade into the middle of my board and routered left and right to their appropriate stopping points.
FRONT AND BACK: The groove should run the full length of the board.
After you’ve routered all your pieces, you are ready to assemble your box!
Step 5: Using wood glue, apply liberally on the edge of your sides and in the grooves of your bottom routers. Add your bottom 11 ⅝ X 11 ⅝ birch plywood and clamp shut. Clean up any excess wood glue with a wet cloth.
Step 6: Add a small finishing nails into the sides to ensure your piece stays together. This step also adds a nice look to your finished box.
Once finished on all four sides, set aside and let dry.
Step 7: Let’s make a photo transfer! To proper transfer a photo onto wood, you’ll need to print a photo in laser quality and have the photo mirrored so it translates onto your wood the proper way.
Step 8: Using your gel medium and sponge, apply liberally onto the wood surface, and the picture side of your photo. Place the photo onto the wood (picture side down) and apply one more layer of gel medium on top. Make sure to remove any air bubbles with a ruler. Let dry overnight.
Step 9: Once dry, take a wet cloth and begin to remove the gel medium on top. You should begin to see the photo left behind on the wood underneath.
Step 10: Add a matte sealer (aka modge podge) on top to give the photo a nice hardened finish.
Step 11: Once you are happy with your photo, take your ½” drill bit and drill a small hole in the front of the box. This will allow you to open and close your box easily.
Step 12: give your box a good sanding. You can either leave the box as is or stain/paint the box to the colour of your liking!
Step 13: Voila! A beautiful memento box for a friend to keep all their favorite memories.