Playing Card Boxes

  • Advertise with us
Project by splintergroup posted 11-15-2016 04:34 PM 1180 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These boxes are the result of looking for ‘cheap’ items to make/sell for consignment at the local gift shop/gallery.

The dimensions are 4-7/8”h x 3-7/8”w x 1-1/2”d.

The interior is sized to just fit an unopened pack of standard playing cards (standard cards are 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”). The bottom is 1/4” lauan plywood, of which I seem to have a lifetime supply of. The tops are the copper etchings from my blog on making etched copper panels

Various woods were used, mainly to help clear out some of the smaller cutoffs in my scrap stash.
Cherry, white oak, lauan, tamarisk, apricot, and spalted maple, all cut to 1/2” thick. The mitered corners are reinforced with walnut splines (12 per box).

I built the boxes for a slip-fit of the top. This avoids the hassle and expense of hinges, but requires a bit of hand fitting.

It all begins with strips of wood planed to 1/2” thick. Next time I’ll probably go for 3/8”. The wood is cut to length with 45 degree miters, then cut to width.

I marked the pieces so I could restore the cut order and align the grain. This gives a bit better ‘flow’ around the box.

Next step is cutting the grooves for the top/bottom panels. I like the mitered corners when I use inset panels. The miters hide the grooves and no chisel cleanup required to square the corners.

The wide groove is cut with a FTG rip blade. The copper panels are 0.062” (1/16”) so an inexpensive circular saw blade cuts perfect width slots.

All ready for assembly!

The sides are placed onto a strip of tape, the stretchiness acts as an initial clamp and keeps things aligned.

I cut the panels for a nearly exact fit to help keep everything square. This has the benefit of allowing the lid to be installed in either direction.

A few clamps help squeeze close the miters without fear of loosing square.

I spline all the corners for strength then slit the box sides with the thin blade.

The height is set to not fully cut into the box interior, this keeps the box intact when making the final cuts. The lid is separated from the bottom by cutting the final depth with a box cutter. Some cleanup with a sheet of sandpaper attached to a granite slab gives me perfect surfaces for a tight seal.

Some 1/8” maple strips are fitted to the interior to act as a lip for the lid.

A few strokes with a sanding block and 240 grit allows me to get a smooth, yet secure fit for the lid. All edges are chamfered on the router table.

Definitely a project that you want to set up for mass production steps if you plan on more than one (lots of blade changes, miter angle changes, etc.).

Thanks for looking!

9 comments so far

View JimYoung's profile


305 posts in 1823 days

#1 posted 11-15-2016 05:10 PM

Neat little project, I hope they sell.

Thanks for sharing the process.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View Jerry's profile


2922 posts in 1884 days

#2 posted 11-15-2016 07:08 PM

These are really classy and well done.It just goes to prove that great things come in small sizes.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View ralbuck's profile


5530 posts in 2502 days

#3 posted 11-15-2016 08:03 PM

Great project; unique and well done too!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Mean_Dean's profile


6910 posts in 3383 days

#4 posted 11-15-2016 09:24 PM

It’s nice to see the etched copper in use!

These are great little boxes, and I’m sure they’ll sell well. And you’re right—they’re a great use of scraps just lying around the shop!

I like the idea of using the 1/16” Freud blade, but I don’t think it’ll work in my SawStop. I do have a 10”, 1/8” FTG Freud blade, and could adjust the dimensions a 1/16” to compensate, though.

I may just borrow this idea—thanks for posting!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View splintergroup's profile


2500 posts in 1458 days

#5 posted 11-15-2016 09:37 PM

Thanks guys!

I like the idea of using the 1/16” Freud blade, but I don t think it ll work in my SawStop. I do have a 10”, 1/8” FTG Freud blade, and could adjust the dimensions a 1/16” to compensate, though.

- Mean_Dean

Dean, typically for larger panels I’ll epoxy the copper board onto a piece of plywood or something else to make it stiffer. In these cases a wider blade is needed and the blade you mention is perfect (same one I used for the boxes plywood bottom)!

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3102 days

#6 posted 11-15-2016 10:04 PM

These are great card boxes. You should sell a lot of these.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View NormG's profile


6378 posts in 3240 days

#7 posted 11-16-2016 12:46 AM

Great idea for card boxes. I wounder if you could use glass etcher to do something similar

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View BB1's profile


1252 posts in 1084 days

#8 posted 11-16-2016 02:06 AM

Nice! And thank you for the great details on the process you used to cut and assemble.

View splintergroup's profile


2500 posts in 1458 days

#9 posted 11-16-2016 03:17 PM

Great idea for card boxes. I wounder if you could use glass etcher to do something similar

- NormG

I’m getting ready to try using the etchant mask techniques for some of my wife’s glass work. Currently she uses plastic templates to brush acid onto dichroic and iridescent glass. It works fine, but making the templates with any real detail is difficult. The same technique works for sand blasting as well. I intend to try spraying on a resist and developing under a mask as with these copper panels, what is unknown is how the glass coatings will react to the removal of the resist (lye). It may trash the dichroic layers, but if it works, that would open up new doors!

For plain (uncoated) glass that is reasonably flat/smooth, it should work fine.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics