How to build a wooden car display case

Written by sue stepp
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How to build a wooden car display case
Display collectable cars and other small items in a display case that's simple to make. (toy wooden cars image by Christopher Hall from

Many people have something that they collect and like to display. Whether it is expensive china tea sets, die-cast model cars or small wooden cars used for racing, a small display case is perfect for displaying special collections. Simple wooden display cases that hang from the wall are inexpensive to make. Building a case costs about £6, as of 2010, and can be made quickly using simple craft supplies. These cases hang on a wall, so collectibles are on display without being in the way.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 pieces of balsa wood 1/4 inch by 3 inches by 11 1/2 inches (part A)
  • 2 pieces of balsa wood 1/4 inch by 3 inches by 18 inches (part B)
  • 2 pieces of balsa wood 1/4 inch by 3 inches by 17 1/2 inches (part D)
  • 1/8 inch-by-12 by-18 piece of balsa wood
  • Staple gun
  • 1/2-inch staples
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 12-by-18 inch picture frame with glass
  • Glue
  • 4 pieces of balsa wood 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch by 18 (part C)
  • Sandpaper
  • 2 small hinges.
  • 4 eye bolts 1/4 inch wide
  • 24 inches of picture hanging wire
  • Masking tape

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  1. 1

    Make an L shape using one part A piece and one part B piece. Place part B so it looks like a line going away from you, and put part A on the right side at the bottom of part B to make the bottom of the L shape. Make the 1/4-inch side face upward. Staple the wood together through part B into part A. Repeat this process using the other part A and B.

  2. 2

    Put the two L-shaped pieces together forming a 12-inch-by-18-inch rectangle. Staple the pieces together from the part B pieces into the part A pieces.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut the foam core board 12 inches by 18 inches. Place the 1/4-inch-by-12-inch-by-18 inch balsa wood sheet on top of the 1/4-inch side of the rectangle, and staple it into place. This is the backing for the display case.

  4. 4

    Lay the box on a flat surface with the 1/4-inch-by-12-inch-by-18-inch balsa wood side (the back) facing down. Slide the part D pieces into the box, and position them evenly. Staple them into place from the outside of the part A pieces.

  5. 5

    Sand the box, and paint it. Paint the whole box including the inside. Let it dry for an hour.

  6. 6

    Place the picture frame on a flat surface with the front facing down. Measure the length and width inside the glass area. Cut the part C pieces to match the measurements inside the glass, but take 1/2 inch off of the shortest measurement. If the opening is 11 1/2 inches long by 17 1/2 inches wide, cut the wood 11 inches by 17 1/2 inches, so the wood fits in the frame. Paint the wood pieces a colour that looks good with the frame and the colour the box is painted.

  7. 7

    Glue the pieces of wood in the frame behind the glass. It will hold the glass in place. Let it dry overnight.

  8. 8

    Screw the hinges onto the front of the box, and attach the other part of the hinges to the back of the picture frame. The frame creates the lid for the display case.

  9. 9

    Turn the case over, so the front is facing down. Screw an eye bolt into the bottom two corners of the case. These eye bolts steady the box and keep it from leaning forward. Screw two eye bolts 2 inches from the top of the case.

  10. 10

    Thread the wire through the top two eye bolts leaving 3 inches hanging out each end. Bend the right side of the wire in toward the case, and wrap it around the wire in the centre until you use up all of the excess wire on the right side. Repeat this process on the left side until you use all of the excess wire on the left side. Tear off two pieces of tape 3 inches long, and wrap them around the ends of the wrapped wire on each side. This keeps anyone from getting cut on the ends of the wire, and protects the wall from damage. Place the cars inside, and hang the case on the wall using a nail or picture hanger. Fill the case with your favourite wooden cars, matchbox cars or other items you want displayed in your home.

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