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How to Make a Coffin Jewelry Box

Updated February 21, 2017

The familiar shape of the old-fashioned "toe-pincher" coffin brings to mind vampires and ghouls, making it an iconic symbol of Halloween. A functional miniature version made of wood makes a creepy gift for fans of the macabre, or can be used as a seasonal decoration. If you don't have access to the tools you'll need to cut wood, you can build a version from foam board, which is cut manually with a utility knife.

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  1. Draw a template of the box on paper. For example, for a box that is 6 inches long, start with a 6-inch vertical line; 1 inch from the top, draw a 2-inch line to make a cross, with 1 inch on each side of the vertical line. Draw a 1-inch line centred at the top and a 3/4-inch line centred at the bottom.

  2. Lay a ruler between the right end of the top line and the right end of the middle line; draw a pencil line to connect them. Move the ruler to connect the middle line and bottom line. Repeat on the left side. You now have a basic toe-pincher coffin shape.

  3. Measure each of the box template's six sides. Draw a rectangular piece the exact length of each, 1 1/2 inches wide.

  4. Trace templates onto plywood to make two toe-pincher shapes and the six rectangular shapes. Cut out shapes with a scroll saw. Sand the edges of each and wipe away any dust.

  5. Place bottom toe-pincher shape on a flat surface. Heat hot glue and draw a line of glue along one of the edges. Immediately press the corresponding rectangular piece in place to make a side, holding in place until cool. Repeat with all side pieces.

  6. Fill gaps in corners with wood putty. Dry completely.

  7. Spray tinted primer to coat the inside and outside of the box and both sides of the lid, making sure that the primer is dry on one side before turning over to paint the other. Dry.

  8. Paint the primed box and lid with black paint. Dry and add a second coat, if necessary. Allow paint to dry fully. Paint any additional details or embellishments desired and spray with a varnish top coat.

  9. Attach lid to the box with hinges using the screws provided. Alternatively, carefully attach the hinges with hot glue.

  10. Tip

    The lid does not have to be hinged; if you prefer, the lid can just sit on top.


    Always use spray primer, paint and varnish in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Do not use hot glue on foam board; use craft glue.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1/8-inch thick plywood
  • Paper and pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scroll saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Wood putty and putty knife
  • Tinted spray primer
  • Latex paint
  • 2 miniature brass hinges
  • Screwdriver

About the Author

Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," Celebrations.com and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.

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