memory box design

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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 456 days ago 1300 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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841 posts in 743 days

456 days ago

Hi all. I have some questions about a box I am going to make. I have never made a box…and I know it sounds simple but I know it’s not going to be as easy as it sounds. My best friend lost her 7month old daughter last week and I want to make a memory box and matching picture frame. My biggest question is I would like to put her name in it somehow, but other than inlay, I don’t know any other ways to do it. I know there are alot of great box makers on here. Does anyone have any ideas? I plan on using walnut with purple heart. I would really like to put some pink in it b/c that was her favorite color, but am not sure how I could do that either. Thanks for all your help!

18 replies so far

View 1yeldud1's profile


289 posts in 1668 days

#1 posted 456 days ago

I coached girls softball for over 12 years. They young ladies that played for me are having children now. For each of these young ladies newborn children, I am constructing a walnut or oak keepsake box. I am having a brass nameplate made to fit the inside of each lid. I am engraving the child’s initials and birth date on this brass plate. To date the young mothers LOVE this gift. I am also in the process of copying the stool designed and built by Lumberjock “Andreas” to give to the next generation of future softball and baseball players.

View shelly_b's profile


841 posts in 743 days

#2 posted 456 days ago

A brass plate is a great idea. Thank you. I have horrible handwritting and I can’t draw, so if I can have done by someone else that would be much better.

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Jim Finn

1653 posts in 1548 days

#3 posted 456 days ago

You can cut the letters out and glue them to the box. Much easier than inlay of letters is. Purple heart is very hard and tough to work with and I think it will not contrast well with walnut. I would use maple or basswood myself. I make LOTS of boxes… mostly with inlayed images on the lids.

-- In God We Trust

View huff's profile


2795 posts in 1911 days

#4 posted 456 days ago


Sorry for the loss of your friends daughter. Doing a memory box is so special.

I also like the idea of having a plate engraved. I like using black brass, which looks great on any wood, easy to read and it doesn’t tarnish later on.

Most of the furniture I’ve built over the years will have an engraved plate on the inside of one of the drawers showing where it was built and the date.

It’s beginning to surprise me how long ago I built some of my pieces.

I agree with Jim about the contrast with the purple heart and walnut. Curly Maple looks great with either of the darker woods.

-- John @

View gfadvm's profile


10721 posts in 1316 days

#5 posted 456 days ago

Shelly, My heart goes out to your friend.

You could use a trim router and template to route her name and then use pink paint in the routed area (like I did the Teddy Bear rocker I posted a while back). I used 1/4” hardboard for the template and scrolled the pattern I wanted with a 50 year old Craftsman scrollsaw. You could also route a heart or 2.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Monte Pittman

13737 posts in 964 days

#6 posted 456 days ago

A box can be as simple or complex as you want it. It’s always good to push your skill level on any projectI
Contrast is what you make it as well. Purpleheart and walnut may not be high contrast, but considering the meaning of the piece, subtle contrast might be more effective than high contrast. As far as having pink in it, an inlay of say pink beads could add a little more contrst without being overstated. Just a thought.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View shelly_b's profile


841 posts in 743 days

#7 posted 456 days ago

Thanks everyone.. I actually have some smaller pieces of really pretty curly maple I have been saving for a special project. I know they make colored stains, though I’ve never seen pink, I’m sure they make it. I wonder how it would look on the curly maple? I still don’t have a scroll saw so don’t think I could make my own template for letters, and my sign maker letters are huge, so I think the router is out. I also thought about using my dremel to carve out(very shallow) her name, then but pink paint in it. I saw Stevin Marin do this with a rose and it looked really good, and isn’t meant to look perfect, as in the lines being defined. Pink beads would also look great. Thanks everyone! You have been a huge help!

View 1yeldud1's profile


289 posts in 1668 days

#8 posted 456 days ago

I have a local trophy shop build my plates for me – usually a plate about 2 inches by 2 inches with the childs initials and birth date. These plates usually cost me between 3 to 5 dollars each

View The Box Whisperer's profile (online now)

The Box Whisperer

553 posts in 696 days

#9 posted 456 days ago

Shelly, sounds like youre making this for all the right reasons.

Ideas come to mind, someone mentioned brass name tags, Lee valley sells copper ones Ive used, also they sell hardwood letters that are pretty nice, or you could get a letter template kit from there as well

Pink wood, aromatic cedar, makes a wonderfull pink insert tray and if you leave it unfinished it smells great too.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Pdub's profile


891 posts in 1806 days

#10 posted 455 days ago

Shelly, you could have the inside of the lid laser engraved if you don’t want to use a metal plate. Just take it to get engraved before you put it all together. They have many options for letters. I have made several projects with laser engraving and it looks really nice. Good luck!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View hoss12992's profile


2570 posts in 519 days

#11 posted 455 days ago

You might want to think about going to a craft shop and check out rub on lettering. They have all kinds of sizing and styles. I use rub on lettering alot and like the looks of it too. My heart goes out to you and your friend and here family

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View shelly_b's profile


841 posts in 743 days

#12 posted 455 days ago

Thanks everyone:) This is by far the most meaningful thing I’ve made, so I want it to be perfect. I’ve never heard of pink wood, but I will look into it. I was planning on trying to have it done by this weekend, but I think I would be better off taking my time. I will check into rub on letters too, thanks hoss:) I bet they sell the paper for it on amazon, I have bought tatoo paper and paper to iron images onto shirts from them…they sell everything. Now to come up with a design…

View kdc68's profile


1956 posts in 903 days

#13 posted 455 days ago


Another idea (maybe) would be to flock the inside a pink color or use a pink colored felt to line the inside. Either idea would resemble what the inside of a jewelry box would look like.

Your a great friend to want to make such a memorial box and frame
Good luck with your choices…you got a lot of great suggestions

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Roger's profile


14318 posts in 1430 days

#14 posted 451 days ago

Sorry to hear of that sad news. I haven’t made that many boxes to really give you any help. There are a lot of good ones up above me here tho. I’m sure whatever you decide, it’s gonna be very special.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View MrRon's profile


2788 posts in 1869 days

#15 posted 450 days ago

Check out this web site. They are funeral urns, but you can get some design ideas.

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