How to Build Your Own Ballerina Music Box

Written by sean lancaster
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How to Build Your Own Ballerina Music Box
Make a heirloom keepsake by building a ballerina music box. (ballerina image by chinatiger from

A special gift for most young girls is a ballerina music box. It serves as a reminder of their youth throughout their life. Many families use them as keepsakes that are past from mother to daughter through the generations. Nothing could be more special that to start the tradition in your family by building your own ballerina music box. It will carry the added gift of your time and creativity as you craft the music box and select the song it plays.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wooden box
  • Sandpaper, variety of grit
  • Wood stain
  • Paint brushes
  • Clear spray sealer
  • Clear gloss spray varnish
  • Mirror
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • 4 brass corner braces
  • 5/8" Hasp catch
  • 5/8" padlock with key
  • 4 wooden beads
  • 18 note key wind musical movement with magnetic swing arm
  • Drill and bit
  • T-bar winding key
  • Ballerina figurine
  • Acrylic paint

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  1. 1

    Sand the box until you have a smooth surface by using sandpaper. Work your way up in grit size with each subsequent pass.

  2. 2

    Stain the box in your favourite colour and type of stain. Use a paintbrush to get even strokes and to reach places that many might not notice. Don't forget to stain the bottom of the box. Allow to completely dry. While it is drying, decide on the decorations you are going to place on it.

  3. 3

    Spray the entire box in sealer. This will seal the stain and provide a finish for your decorating ideas. After the sealer dries, spray a gloss finish coat of varnish. Let this completely dry before proceeding.

  4. 4

    Center the mirror on the top of the box and affix it with hot glue from the hot glue gun. This will be the stage where the ballerina dances.

  5. 5

    Affix the four corner braces on each of the four top corners of the box. Attach the hasp catch to the top of the box. This and the lock will allow you to lock the box.

  6. 6

    Turn the box over and hot glue the four wooden beads to the four corners of the bottom to be legs.

  7. 7

    Open the top drawer and position the musical movement in the centre but along the front edge of the drawer. Place a small mark to designate the key location. Draw around the musical movement to indicate its location.

  8. 8

    Remove the musical movement and drill a 1/4-inch hole at the marked location. Attach the musical movement in its location with hot glue. Attach the key wind through the hole in the drawer. Wind the key to make sure it works.

  1. 1

    Attach the small magnet that came with the musical movement to the bottom of the ballerina. As the swing arm on the movement moves so will the ballerina.

  2. 2

    Paint the recipient's name on the box with the acrylic paint. Draw a few flowers in bright colours around the top of the box and on the sides.

  3. 3

    Allow the paint to dry completely and then mask off the mirror and hasp. Apply a light coat of sealer to the top of the box to seal the paint in place.

  4. 4

    Remove the masking paper and place the ballerina on the mirror over the magnet on the swing arm.

Tips and warnings

  • Most musical movements allow the purchaser to select the song. "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is ideal for a ballerina.
  • You may choose to line the drawers in the box with velvet for added elegance.
  • Select a box that has at least two or three drawers because one will be taken up by the musical movement.

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