The Door Box

Scavenging, crafting, re-purposing – these are all prime skills in the wastelander’s repertoire, and this particular craft will hone each of them. I got this idea years ago when my roommate at the time suffered from a debilitating handicap – she would lose her keys nearly every day.  Sometimes they’d be in the fridge or in the trash can, other times they’d be behind the TV or under the couch.  Finally, I went to my workshop with a mission – design a simple and practical solution with on-hand materials. I used a wooden liquor box and some scrap balsa wood and made her a wall mounted box with two shelves, a pen holder, and some hooks for keys and sunglasses.  We mounted it right next to the front door so that every time she arrived, she would offload her cargo, and it would be waiting there for her each time she left. She loved it so much, and it so effectively solved her problem, that I ended up making one for myself.  As others would see them and inquire about them, I would inevitably end up making boxes for them as well.  Eventually, I started seeking out empty liquor boxes specifically for this purpose.  I don’t have any pictures of those original boxes, as they’ve all either left or been given away.  Here are some more recent examples:

This one was made from a Midleton Irish whiskey box. There's a scavenged brass cabinet knob on the front for opening it, or for hanging a hat.


Inside, I used the included bottle spacers to make shelves. There is a place for hanging sunglasses, a lighter holder, hooks for more keys, a hook for my CRKT M16-14Z, and two Oklahoma depression era half cent peices for mounting-screw reinforcement.


On the side is a hook to hang my favorite wristwatch.

This one is also made from a Midleton box, though I removed the label. This time I used a scavenged porcelain knob and placed it on the side. The two hooks on the side are for hanging sunglasses.

This time the bottle spacers were already gone, so I cut shelves out of the cover of a hardback reference book I wasn't too fond of and hot glued them into place.

A better view - plent of hooks for spare keys.


Yet another Midleton Irish whiskey box (it's a family favorite). This time I used a couple different drawer pulls and got pretty creative. Only one hook for keys this time.

More shelves cut from the cover of the same reference book. The glue isn't nearly as visible as it appears to be in the light of my camera flash.

another view

This is the box from a very expensive bottle of Jameson. I built this one for my brother's birthday gift, so I wanted it to look classy. (salt sold separately)

I used all brass fixtures this time - nothing salvaged. I actually spent some money on this one. Places to hang two pairs of sunglasses, and two eye screws for mounting.

This box came with felt lined spacers, so I pulled them out and cut them into shelves, and then used brass mini-shelving brackets to mount them.

Here it is in use, though not yet mounted on the wall.

I stuck an ink pen in the sunglasses holder - versatility FTW!

At this point, I ran out of liquor boxes.  Luckily, after seeing some of my work, a bartender from a local cigar bar (The Cigar Box, Broken Arrow, OK) donated a metric shit-ton of empty cigar boxes to me in exchange for his own personalized door box.  I’d never made one out of a cigar box, which is considerably smaller than a liquor box, but I was certainly up for the challenge.


three key hooks, a sunglasses holder, and another scavenged brass knob

Cigar boxes come with removable balsa wood spacers and side panels which can easily be turned into shelves. I lined this one in some black felt I found in my dad's garage..

Magna cigars are made in Honduras, so I decorated the inside of the lid with some Honduran coins from my childhood coin collection.

the complete Magna box

I was a bit worried about this box of Cubans because it was very shallow

It had no closure or latch, so I broke some fridge magnets and made a magnetic closure. Again, the shelves are made from the existing cigar spacers. I used some more brass mini shelving brackets to create some cool rounded corners. Because this one is so shallow, the options for its contents are limited to things like keys, lighters, chapstick, etc.

I used the cooling stand from my soldering iron to make this matchbox holder.

this box had no lid, but it actually turned out to be one of my favorites.


It would make a great shot glass, bottle opener, cork screw holder for above a home bar


this box had a very interesting way of opening. I used a small wooden drawer pull on the top half, and an antique brass pull for the bottom half.

the hooks are primarily on the sides since the front of this one opens down. The hooks on the front are actually to stop the front from opening further than 90 degrees from the box - proving a horizontal shelf when open.

yes, the slanted shelves are intentional - I thought it added quirky character.

This is another unique one. I had an unfinished wooden craft box that I used to keep gun cleaning supplies in, but after putting those into another container, I had no use for the craft box. So, I mounted a small cigar box on top of it. The mirror actually used to sit beneath a candle, and the knob is another salvaged porcelain knob.

when you open only the cigar box on top, you have hooks for spare keys.

The larger craft box has its own knob. The drawer handle has no function, but it was already on the craft box, and it looked nice, so I left it.

when its mounted on the wall, this door opens quite easily, since the weight of the lid mounted cigar box and its keys is moving horizontally

more key hooks inside this lid - this box is clearly for someone with a key fetish.

Again, I used the last of the reference book cover for these shelves. If you're curious, the book was over the architecture of Rome.

This box of "Acid" cigars already had character, so I had to come up with something extremely cool for it.

I had to add a latch to this one to keep the door shut when it was mounted on the wall. The weight of the brass knob kept causing the door to swing open.

This is what I came up with - I lined the entire inside - shelves, walls, and all - in white rabbit fur. Luxurious.


Thanks to The Cigar Box in Broken Arrow, I still have quite a few cigar boxes to work with, so I’ll be posting another gallery of projects eventually.  I’d love to see what you wastelanders can come up with.  Build a door box, improve on my designs, get creative, and send me pictures – as always, bonus points for using scavenged, salvaged, and repurposed materials.

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  1. Pingback: Revenge of the Door Boxes | The Post Apoc

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