BUILD A BOX
It’s easy to create all kinds of projects—like our stacked-box bookcase, opposite— after you master building a box. You can build a box at any height, width, and depth, with a back or without, using this basic skill. Here’s how:
• 3/4-inch-thick Baltic birch (or other) plywood
• Birch (or other) edge banding
• Metal roller
• Kreg pocket-hole jig kit
• Kreg corner clamps
• Wood glue
• Kreg screws
• Kreg wood plugs
• Wood filler
Step 1 Cut your building materials to desired sizes. Apply edge banding to all paint-grade wood edges that will not abut or be covered by another piece of wood. To apply edge band, cut the banding a little longer than the wood piece’s edge. Preheat an iron; position the banding and iron it to the edge (A). Use a metal roller to press the banding onto the wood (B). Apply heat again to any banding that didn’t adhere. Hold a file nearly perpendicular to the banding and file away any excess material overhanging the board’s edge (C).
Step 2 Use a Kreg pocket-hole jig to drill holes in the top and bottom pieces in the direction of the edges where they will be attached to the sides (D). Assemble the box using Kreg corner clamps to hold the four pieces in place (E). Note: When assembling the boxes, the sides will always overlap the top and bottom and holes will always be drilled into the top and bottom, not the sides. Glue and screw each box. Use a thin bead of wood glue wherever you attach two pieces of wood. Add backs to boxes (F), as desired, by drilling pocket holes into the back piece in the direction of top, bottom, and sides.
Step 3 To fill holes, put a dab of wood glue inside the pocket holes and insert a wood plug (G). Once glue has dried, sand off any of the plug to be flush with surface. Fill space around the plug with wood filler (H), let dry, and sand smooth.
Step 4 Use a sander to sand all of the plywood ends until they are smooth. Lightly sand any rough spots on the paint-grade boxes. Prime and paint or stain and seal the boxes, as desired.
ECLECTIC MIX Our stacked-box bookcase, this photo, uses stained boxes, sealed boxes, and painted-white boxes with backs in them to create a mosaic storage piece that is easily reconfigured to fit almost any space or purpose. We also built a platform base to give our bookcase the feel of a finished piece of furniture. To do so, we cut a plywood platform a few inches deeper and wider than the bottom row of boxes. We then added three feet and four
aprons to the underside of the platform and used a Kreg jig to assemble the base. Once our finished configuration was set, we
screwed all the boxes together and to the base for safety.
BOXED IN A variety of sizes and finishes along with offset placement give our bookcase components, below, the air of a curated collection rather than a new build. The stained and sealed boxes are made of Baltic birch with no edge banding, and the painted boxes use paint-grade birch plywood with edge banding on the exposed top, bottom, and front edges. See “Build a Box,” page 32, and refer to the charts, left and bottom, for finished box sizes, a cut list, and placement of each box in our unit.
STACK BOXES IN A CONFIGURATION THAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR SPACE. LEAVE THEM UNATTACHED FOR EASY RECONFIGURING, BUT IF YOU HAVE PETS OR CHILDREN, SCREW THEM TOGETHER AND TO THE BASE FOR SAFETY. *FOR THESE BOXES, WE USED PAINT-GRADE BIRCH PLYWOOD SO WE COULD PAINT THE FINISHED BOX.