I’ve probably made close to 100 door boxes in my life for family, friends, and for sale. If you know me personally, and you DON’T have one, you’re probably in the minority. People always seem to dig these, but they don’t realize how truly easy they are to make. You can sit down in front of the TV and make two or three in an evening.
HERE are some examples of door boxes I’ve built in the past, so named because they’re boxes that you mount near a door (or THE door) and in/on which you store your keys and pocket luggage.
Here are some things I’ve learned over time, if you choose to make your own:
1. Wood is good – Always choose a wooden box (cigar boxes and liquor boxes work great) because cardboard simply isn’t sturdy enough.
2. Infringe on the default hinge – ALWAYS replace the hinges (small, strong hinges or piano hinge can be found at any hardware store). The initial hinges are intended to be disposable, and are often pinned in. They won’t support the vertical weight of the door. When attaching the hinges, glue them in place, pre-drill, then screw. Which brings me to…
3. Glue AND screw – when attaching hardware, glue AND screw. Glue alone will fracture, or pull off the top layer of the wood. Screws will loosen over time. Use both. Also, get some good compound diagonal cutters so you can trip the portions of the screws that punch into the interior of the box – and they will.
4. Don’t drag down the door – I used to attach all kinds of decor and hooks to the door, only to discover that the weight, over time, weakens and warps the hinges, and causes the door not to meet flush with the box. Keep the weight load on the door minimal.
5. Silicon over super – I’ve used every possible type of glue when gluing in the shelves or attaching hardware. Flexible, silicon-based glues, like E6000, seem to work best. They dry slower, and they’re easier to work with, giving you a margin of error. They clean up easy, and they dry strong with just enough flex to avoid fracture.
6. Magnets are a must – I’ve experimented with numerous types of closures, but the most user friendly are magnets. You can get good, strong magnets at the hardware store. Glue one to the inside of the door and one inside the box’s interior, such that they meet with the door is closed. Presto, magnetic closure.
7. Shirk the shallow shelves – when selecting a box, avoid the shallower boxes (I made this mistake a lot in the early days). Shallow boxes make for shallow shelves, and shallow shelves are worthless save for pens, lighters, and your thimble collection.
8. Feelin’ the Felt – put felt furniture pads on the back of the box, such that they keep the box from touching the wall when mounted. Otherwise, the box can damage the paint on your wall.
9. Always Anchor – don’t mount your door box with nails or screws directly in drywall. Take an extra 5 minutes and mount it into drywall anchors. It’ll stay put until the day you’re ready for it not to. I’ve used 3M strips a couple times when anchors simply weren’t an option, and they work, but make sure you use more than you think you need to.
10. You really can make these. It’s a lot easier than it looks.
Go make stuff, wastelanders.