Weekend Project

Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend project: Boxing day

By Justin Newcombe

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It's not the present inside that counts, it's how you wrap it up, says Justin Newcombe.

A handmade gift box is a nice way to let someone know you care about them especially if you personalise the decoration. Photo / Steven McNicholl
A handmade gift box is a nice way to let someone know you care about them especially if you personalise the decoration. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Making a gift box for someone is a really nice way to let them know you care without breaking the bank. Bonus points too: because you spent all that time making the box, you're off the hook when it comes to the actual gift. Socks and undies all the way.

This is a "kitchen table" project and once you get started you'll really enjoy it. This box is constructed out of 4mm marine ply, which Bunnings can cut down for you into long strips which saves a lot of work (and the cuts will be true every time). Just let them know the exact measurements for the various components (lid, bottom, sides and so on). Then all you need to do is cut the strips to the correct lengths. Once you get started it's just as easy to make four boxes as it is two, so get a production line going. The box can be covered with any number of things. Stencilling would work well but I love to paint and this is a golden opportunity to do something painterly. Thinking about the gift actually being the box will help with the theme. A child may like a box which looks like a car. A husband may like a box painted like a fish or a wife may want a little landscape which looks like a holiday. You don't have to paint the box, you can laminate pictures on. The wonderful thing about this construction method is that it's scalable up and down and is perfect if you're a DIY novice.

Once you build this basic box it's easy to refine your process, explore other materials and different shapes and sizes. For once this Christmas, it won't be what's on the on inside that counts.

Step 1

Measure and cut ply into strips to fit the dimensions of your box (I recommend getting Bunnings to do this part). My box is 58mm high and is in two sections, a 25mm lid (plus the 4mm plywood top) and 25mm box (plus a 4mm plywood bottom), so I had two 25mm strips cut from my ply. These are 2.4 m long and I can cut them to any length I like. Inside the box is a sleeve which is 50mm wide so I had a 50mm wide strip of ply cut. The top and bottom of the box are both 120mm wide so I had two strips cut. All these strips are the length of the ply wood which is 2.4m.

Step 2

Measure and cut the strips for the box proper (not the lid or the sleeve). Glue, fold and tape the box together. The sides of the box sit on top of the bottom sheet. Let the glue dry.

Step 3

Measure, cut and insert the sleeve into the inside of the box. Let the glue dry.

Step 4

Measure and cut the lid section. Tape and glue the lid sections into place on the box. Don't worry about overlaps as these can be sanded later. Once the lid is formed, remove it from the box and allow it to dry separately.

Step 5

Sand the edges and sleeve of the box so the lid slides on and off easily.

Step 6

Paint or decorate.

- NZ Herald

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