How to Make a Wooden Recipe Box

A long time favorite beginner’s wood working project, the wooden recipe box makes a great gift for any occasion. With so many decorative woods available, each box will be as unique as the wood you choose. Using a jigsaw to cut decorative designs in the lid or the front piece is a great way to personalize the box. Depending on the wood you choose, you may decide to only polyurethane the finished project. Consider using a mixture of interesting woods. If using a less expensive wood, you could even paint the box to give it an artistic flair. A great way to express yourself and provide a thoughtful gift, this is wooden recipe box project that is easy to produce en masse for craft fairs.

Tools and Miscellaneous Materials

  • 3/8 by 5 7/8 by 6 1/2 inches wood (back)
  • 2 - 3/8 by 5 7/8 by 4 inches wood (front & lid)
  • 1 - 3/8 by 3 by 5 inches wood (sides)
  • 1/8 by 3 by 5 1/2 inches wood (bottom)
  • 2 hinges (3/4 by 5/8 inches)
  • Band saw
  • Table saw
  • Belt sander
  • Sandpaper (100-grit and 400-grit)
  • Polyurethane
  • Paint brush
  • Stain (paint)
  • Rags
  • Safety goggles
  • Respirator
  • Glue
  • Screws (for hinges)
  • Drill and bit (for pilot holes for hinge screws)

Step 1 - Cut Stock Wood

Take the stock lumber and re-saw to the specified 3/8 inches and 1/8 inches thickness for the wooden recipe box. Sand each piece smooth with belt sander. Rip (cut along the grain) lengths as shown in bill of materials listed above.

Step 2 - Finish Cuts for Sides

On your table saw, with the miter gauge set to 20 degree, cut the 2 side pieces such that the finished top will fall flush with the front (4 inches) and angle up toward the back and sit 1 1/2 inches below the back height of 6 1/2 inches (side height = 5 inches). With saw blade set to 3/16 inches depth, cut a kerf (groove) on the inside of each sidepiece 1/2 inches from bottom. This 1/8 inches -wide cut will hold the bottom piece of the wooden recipe box.

Step 3 - Finish Cuts for Back and Lid

With table saw set to 20 degree, cut the bevels in the front and back edges of the wooden recipe box lid (along the 5 7/8 inches edges). To cut the card-holding slot into the lid, set the blade depth at 3/16 inches, and cut a groove in the top front of lid (keeping blade at a 20 degree angle). Drill a 1/4 inches hole in top of back piece for hanging.

Step 4 - Assemble Box

Glue sides, back front and bottom together. Clamp and allow glue to dry. With a small chisel, notch the backside of the lid to receive hinges. Drill pilot holes in edge of lid, using hinges as a template. When glue is completely dry, apply finish of your choice (stain, polyurethane, etc.). After finish is completely dry, using a screwdriver, attach hinges to lid. Hold lid on box and attach other side of each hinge to back of box. Tip: With a small drill make pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood when attaching the hinges to the wooden recipe box.