Balsa wood is a popular wood for small handicrafting projects because it is lightweight and soft enough to cut easily without the use of power tools. A small balsa wood box is therefore a convenient craft choice if you want a simple storage container for small items that's more durable than cardboard or other disposable materials. You can also use this project as an introductory exercise in basic wood construction.
Cut the pieces for the frame. Use the T-square and craft knife to measure and cut two rectangular pieces that are 8 inches by 3 and two pieces that are 5 inches by 3.
Assemble the sides pieces into a frame, placing the longer pieces against the outside edges of the shorter pieces (so that the short sides are inside the large ones). Attach the pieces by applying wood glue to the ends of the short pieces, then holding the frame together with a few strips of masking tape (as few as possible) until the glue dries.
Use the frame as a pattern to create the bottom and top pieces for the box by placing the frame directly onto a sheet of balsa wood and tracing it. Cut just inside the tracing lines for each of the two pieces to ensure the best fit.
Glue the side frame onto the bottom of the box. Apply the glue all around the edge of the frame rather than applying it to the bottom piece for best results.
Attach the lid of the box using hinges. Lay the lid over the top of the unfinished box and position its edges flush with the edges of the frame. Open the hinges and lay them in place. Position on each end, at least an inch in (use the same measurement on both sides). Attach the hinges by placing a small blob of epoxy on each of the holes where the screws would fasten. Let set.
Sand the box using fine grain sandpaper. Sand gently; balsa wood is fragile and it's easy to crack or sand too much.
- Wood (Craft Workshop); Sally Walton and Stewart Walton; 2004
- If you can't find balsa wood in large enough sheets for the top and bottom pieces, use the completed frame to make a paper pattern, then cut shorter planks to fill this shape, gluing them together edge to edge.