How to Make a Wooden Pencil Box

Everyone can get a little messy at times, and nowhere is this more apparent than at someone's desk. Whether she's a schoolgirl or a business contractor, organisation (or the lack thereof) is a problem. One culprit implicated in disorganisation is scattered writing implements. Making a small, neat wooden pencil box, however, is a very simple process and good first step toward organising your desk.

Decide on the size you want your pencil box to be. Drawing up a blueprint of the dimensions, the depth and even the thickness of the wood you're using often helps. How thick should the wood be? Do you want the box to hold a single row of pencils? How deep should the box be? Will you be carrying it around or just leaving it on your desk? Will this box have a lid or not? If so, what style?

Decide on the thickness of the wood you want to use. The more portable the box, the thinner the wood should be, but ultimately, the choice is up to the person making the box. Measure out the lengths of wood that you require. Use your tape measure to find the length of an unsharpened pencil (or of your longest pen if you'll be storing those in the pencil box as well) to use as the base length for your pencil box. Use a straightedge, and mark these lengths with a pencil to be sure that you know where to cut. Repeat the marking for the width you'll be making the box.

Once the lengths and widths have all been measured, cut the wood along the marks made earlier. When you're finished, there should be a base, two lengths, and two widths for the "floor" and "walls" of your pencil box. Check one more time to be sure that the pieces are the right sizes. If the cuts are rough and you want them smooth, sandpaper can be used to great effect to rub off the rough edges left by the saw. Be sure that the pieces are the way you want them before the next step.

Assemble your box. Either nails or screws will suffice, whichever is easier for you. Regardless of which kind of hardware you use, though, the size should be determined by the wood that you're using. For thicker wood, larger screws or nails are required, and for thinner wood, finishing nails or screws should work well. Additionally, either the four "walls" should rest atop the box's base and should be nailed in from the bottom of the box, or they should rest outside the box and be nailed in from the side. Regardless, the "walls" should all be nailed to each other for added stability once they're attached to the base. As a side note, wood glue can be used either as a hardware substitute or to add extra durability to the box.

Attach the lid. One of the most common lids is a hinged lid, which involves cutting a length of wood (or several lengths which are held together) to cover the top of the box. Along one end, the hinges (standard door or window hinges work fine and can be found at any hardware store) should be nailed into the box, taking care that the nails don't protrude into the storage space. Another type of lid is a sliding lid, which requires thicker wood to be used on two of your box's "walls." The front wall of your box should be shorter than the others for a sliding lid, and the two depth "walls" should have a groove cut into them for the lid to rest in. The back "wall" should be the stopping point of the lid. There are other options, but these are the two most common.

Decorate your box. This step is optional, but it's often a good one to take. Staining the wood (which can also be done before assembly) or painting it adds an extra personal touch to your pencil box. Additionally, a wood-burning kit could be used to brand a variety of designs into the box. There is no right or wrong at this point, only what you as the owner want.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Straightedge
  • Nails (or screws)
  • Hammer (or screwdriver)
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Hinges (optional)
  • Stain or paint (optional)
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About the Author

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.