Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Mid-Century Keepsake Box (Pt.2)

Box making was on my list for the last days.

And time flew by in a flash.

Last week I have reported about building a Mid-Century inspired keepsake box.
Some finer work was leftover and I will report this time about the final steps.

Here is the to do list:

  • Fine adjusting and fitting all parts together
  • Install a lining to the bottom inside of the box
  • Gluing up case and bottom
  • Painting the lid with chalk paint
  • Smoothing and finishing the case after glue up
  • Make a little handle for the lid and fitting it on top

The Lid

After I had dimensioned and adjusted the lid I've painted it with chalk paint. The color of choice is sage.
That's a light gray green and fit's very well to the color of the Red Meranti.

First coat of chalk paint

I've done two coats this time. The same type of paint was already used for the workbench and I made good experiences with two coats. Of course sanding between the two coats.
Finally you will receive a nice mat coating.

The Bottom

The bottom received a lining. I've done that lining in decoupage technique. Not familiar with that? Ask your honey. :-)
It's just laminating some paper with liquid glue to some wood and giving it a clear coat for sealing.
I've used a piece of wallpaper from a road trip through some wallpaper shops we had done the last weeks (the next honey do project).

The lining

Unfortunately my first try didn't work. So I had to remove the first lining and to glue on another one.
You have to water the lining before you can glue it. So the downside of doing it two times was, that the wood surface was moistened two times.
You guessed it already - the bottom cupped a little bit.
So I had to plane down two hiccups on the underside of the bottom panel.

The Case

Top and bottom prepared it's time to glue up the case. I've laid all parts on my bench top and connected all pieces with painters tape.

Connected all pieces with tape

That done, I've flipped over all boards so that the inside showed into my direction.

Applying glue to all joints

Now I spread glue over all the joint surfaces.

Wrapping the case parts around the bottom

And finally wrapped the case parts all around the perimeter of the box bottom. The painters tape kept all in place and offered enough clamping strength.

Clamps while the glue sets

I've secured the glue up with a few clamps during the setting of the glue. I've exerted only slight pressure.


I have started with the finishing of the lid. I could do that in between some other tasks so that was the first stage.
After the paint was dried I gave it a light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper. You will receive a very smooth surface on chalk paint with this grit.
Followed then by a coat of paste wax.

See the difference between the flat and waxed surface

After the first coat dried, I've applied a second coat of wax.

Second coat

I let it dry for a while and then I've polished the surface first with a polishing brush and in the second stage with a cotton rag.

After polishing

And here is the lid on top of the case. Nice, or?

Test fit

The case was finished in two steps. I treated the inside of the case parts before glue up.
As always I've used a wax varnish. On the inside I just applied one coat and let it dry.

Finish of the insides and the bottom

Box out of the clamps

The second stage was the finishing of the outside after glue up.
I've cleaned all parts from glue squeeze out. Gave the case a pretty light swipe with a smoothing plane. And finally a light sanding with 240 grit.

After smoothing, scraping and sanding

Then I've applied my standard wax varnish.

Box with the first coat of wax varnish

Unfortunately I'm a few hours behind. So I let the first coat dry overnight and will apply another coat today.
Tomorrow, after the varnish had fully dried, I will  apply paste wax and polish it afterwards.

The Handle

The final step will be to mount the handle.
I'll use two nails and glue them in with epoxy. I hope this will be strong enough to hold the lid.

What's next?

Good question. I've thought I would have finished the box this Wednesday.
More or less it is done, apart from one coat of wax and the final polishing.
And last but not least the beauty shots are missing.

One of the mitre joints

I will do both this week and publish an update post with the final shots of the box.
Update! Please find the final pictures here.

That's it for this week. Another project (nearly) done.



  1. That is one sweet looking miter.

    1. Hi Ralph,
      thanks. I'm lucky how the miter joints came out.
      I think it's depending on the wood you use. The first ones I've made in Spruce haven't been that nice.


  2. I really like mixed finishes on pieces like this. And the decoupage idea for the inside bottom provides a surprise and is one I'll use in future.

    Jim B

    1. Hi Jim,
      thanks for your comment.
      I've used that lining in some other boxes I've made in the past and as you already mentioned it was always a surprise for the one who received the box.