Make a wooden book keepsake box

Make a wooden book keepsake box

Valentine’s Day project

I started this project with the idea of making a wooden “book”. It would open to reveal a heart-shaped picture frame on each side and could be displayed open on a table.

The logistics of pulling that off were a bit more than I had time to deal with, so about halfway through the build, I decided to just make a simple frame insert and call it a keepsake box.

Most of my time on this project was spent in the design: specifically how to make the box look like a book, yet let it to swing open. Since real books generally don’t have visible hinges, I didn’t want any to show on this one either.

Thankfully, I have a terrific bunch of helpers on my Facebook page who came up will lots (and I mean lots) of ideas. The one I decided to go with was using a dowel as a hinge. It works out great and doesn’t require any glue.

This is a pretty easy project to make. Mostly, you will spend your time on the hinge mechanism and shaping the cover and spine so that it swings properly. Take your time to test it along the way and you’ll be fine. Most importantly, resist the urge to force the cover to swing if it sticks: the dowel holes are so close to the edge, it will likely cause a split. And by the way, use a hardwood. Pine will almost certainly split.




Download plans:

*****

35 COMMENTS

  1. Steve;

    I like the book/box. I’ll have to put that on my list of small projects. The one thing I would change is to look for some scraps of Baltic birch to use for the box carcase so it would kind of look like pages.

    StanP

  2. If only your book box was big enough to hold a book about building boxes, the circle of creativity could be complete.

  3. I loaded the comments just to suggest using baltic birch plywood or something like zebrawood to resemble pages, but someone else beat me to it! Great project, Steve!

  4. Thanks for the project Steve. I love making little boxes, don’t need a lot of materiel and they are fun to build. I think I’ll make one.

    Kirk

  5. Great project, Steve! What do you think about using flocking for the inside walls and bottom of the box instead of the sticky felt?

  6. I love this thing. Think I’ll make one. Kind of thinking a metal dowel rod might work nice instead of wood. Maybe a little stronger. What do you think?

  7. Hi buddy. Great little project. I agree it needs either Baltic Biirch ply or alternately, you could build “pages” with dark and light veneers stacked in layers. See you on Lumberjocks.com..

    Paul

  8. Can someone tell me why I’m not able to download in PDF the plan for this book box? I’ve tried in Google and Internet Explorer, both are unable to. thanks

  9. I’ve made 1 of these as a prototype, and another is on the bench. If anyone is thinking of making one of these let me give you a couple words of advice:

    Drill the holes for the dowels straight. One of mine was just a little “off” and caused the entire front “cover” to twist and bind. I’ve since thrown together a quick jig for my drill press to drill these holes, instead of trying to free hand it.

  10. Je suis ” Canadien Français du Québec “. Je ne parle pas beaucoup l’ anglais mais j’ aime bien regarder vos video et je fini par comprendre comment faire.

    Vous faites de beau vidéos

    Merci

    Serge

  11. hi steve i am doin this as one of my school projects for christmas if you have time can you please email me the measurements in cm as i am hopeless with inches
    thanks

  12. If you don’t have a drill press and want straight holes, clamp your drill on your bench or other surface and clamp guides to align book to drill bit.

  13. Very nice box. I’ve made many boxes using pin hinges. Most pin hinges projects list 1/8 inch brass rod for the hinge pins. Brass rod is a little expensive and hard to cut. I’ve been using silicone-bronze welding rod. It is the same size and a whole lot cheaper. I drill the hinge hole, then cut the rod to be about 1/8th inch shorter than the depth of the entire hole. I insert the rod (no glue) then plug the hole with an 1/8th inch dowel glued in place an cut flush with the surface. 1/8th inch bamboo skewers work great.

  14. I just built my two sons the “Norm Abram bookcase from episode 108” x 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HEABEQAOKQ

    Brag Tag;

    One son is graduating (Last Semester…yea!) from Texas A&M with a degree in Engineering and he has kept every book as a trophy. The weight of his books crushed a cheap retail bookcase, So I built 2 bookcases from Norm’s design, and wow are they strong.

    Norm was my childhood woodworking hero, but my friend are much more like me. Not perfect but willing to go the extra mile to get there.

    Steve, You and I are no Norm Abram, but you bring talent, expertise and a bit of funny to the table that I can relate to.

    I would love to see you build one of these bookcases as a tribute to Norm.

    I will be making 2 of these wooden books as the perfect addition to my bookcases

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HEABEQAOKQ

    Thank You!

    Lance Portwood

  15. I just built my two sons the “Norm Abram bookcase from episode 108” x 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HEABEQAOKQ

    Brag Tag;

    One son is graduating (Last Semester…yea!) from Texas A&M with a degree in Engineering and he has kept every book as a trophy. The weight of his books crushed a cheap retail bookcase, So I built 2 bookcases from Norm’s design, and wow are they strong.

    Norm was my childhood woodworking hero, but my friend, you are much more like me. Not perfect but willing to go the extra mile to get there.

    Steve, You and I are no Norm Abram, but you bring talent, expertise and a bit of funny to the table that I can relate to.

    I would love to see you build one of these bookcases as a tribute to Norm.

    I will be making 2 of these wooden books as the perfect addition to my bookcases

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HEABEQAOKQ

    Thank You!

    Lance Portwood

  16. Just purchased red oak to make my book boxes or box books or a box that looks like a book.

    Making two of these, should be fun, I’ll keep you posted.

    A true WWMM fan,

    Lance Portwood.

  17. Thanks for the inspiration with this!. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to “tweak” your design and do a couple of “extra fancy” models, one in cherry/curly maple and one in mahogany/curly maple. I even through in some padauk trim as a tribute. I’m waiting on one last item to arrive in the mail before finishing them up. I’ll post photos on the Me-Mo community, once completed.

  18. I would like to make something like this as a place for my father-in-law to store his family Bible. It’s in French and it’s been handed down from generation to generation starting with his grandparents. It’s quite a bit bigger than dimensions listed for this one. Can the plans be scaled up to accommodate a larger book? If so, are their any special instructions? Thanks! I love the plans you have here!

    Lee

  19. PDF plans indicate the frame is 3/4″ tall? Seems a bit short for a 1.5 inch spine less a 3/8 inch cover (1.125 inch delta). Is this accurate?

Leave a Reply