Box it Like it’s Hot

This project is a shameless West Elm knock off.  The Contrast boxes are fun and useful in nearly any room.

But, only the tray is available right now.  Hence the knock off.  I found the perfect wood while picking up some other supplies at Home Depot.  In the aisle with pre-cut sheets (varying thickness MDF, peg board, and plywood), I saw these 1/2 inch thick solid oak boards.  Only $2.50 per 1/2 inch by 5.5 inch by 2 foot board.


I grabbed three and started building when I got back home.  Using the width of the plank as my top and base, I cut two rectangles at 8 inches.  To create the sides, I cut mitered corners to fit around the base.  Not on top, as I did with my recent tray project.  So the inside of my long pieces were 8 inches, short sides at 5.5 inches.


This is where a pin nailer comes in very handy.  For each side, I’d brush wood glue on each corner or joint, hold it in place until square, and then shoot four or five 3/4 inch long nails in.


It leaves teeny holes, but holds everything together until the glue sets.  For my triangle lamps, I used this same method of nails and glue and they’ve held up perfectly.  Now, to deal with the recessed top.

West Elm’s version has a routered top, but I decided it would be quicker and just as effective to add little ‘posts’ to each corner.  After measuring the inside of the box, I subtracted a half-inch and glued them in.


My top is a 5.5 by 8 inch rectangle, allowing it to rest inside the frame, on atop the corner posts.  To accommodate the leather strap handle, I measured my leather.  At 3/16 thick, I cut a slightly larger slot by drilling holes in each end and connecting the pieces with a funky vibrating saw.


Before finishing, I sanded everything with fine paper.  Using stain and paint I already had, I finished the outside with stain, and the inside and top edge with paint.  Four coats of Polycrylic to protect everything and give a little shine.  For under eight dollars, I have a cute box to stash our junk on the coffee table.


It’s a nice wooden accent, but I’m worried it looks too tall.  Almost like a Kleenex box cover.  I might make a shorter one…


At any rate, it holds lotions, chapstick, nail clippers, and the boys’ toothbrushes.


The leather handle is a lot easier for the boys to open than the metal bin we had used.



I couldn’t think of a better way to attach the strap, so I stapled it to the underside of the cover.  I’m guessing West Elm attached their handle differently.  Haha.


A lower, longer box would be great to hold our remotes, too.  I could also use one in the bathroom for first aid supplies.

10 thoughts on “Box it Like it’s Hot

  1. I need to remember how even the little projects make such an impact! Your lamps, your boxes. I love them!

    P.S. I’m planning on contacting you about a potential giveaway. I just need to paint more first and get up the guts to send the email. 🙂

    1. Hi Adrienne!

      So glad you like the little projects, too. It’s easy to focus on the big projects, but sometimes little ones can make you smile. 🙂

      Send me an email when you’re ready. 🙂


    1. Hi Esther!

      Our main bathroom doesn’t have closed storage, and it grosses me out to think about the germs that would land on their toothbrushes. Also, we always brush their teeth in the living room so we can make sure they’re doing a good job. Kind of strange, but it’s easier for us. 🙂


  2. I love it! It looks so beautiful and well made; you always make woodworking look like an easy craft you can just go knockout. I agree though, it is a liiiiittle tall. But then you can make a second one and use this one else wheres (or send it to me).

    1. Hi Joyce!

      Well, I think you could totally make this. Even if you wanted to skip a few steps and buy a basic box frame to customize. 🙂 You’ll be the first person to know if I want to get rid of it.


  3. I think the size is perfect…but would look nice with a couple of others in different sizes. And yeah, you made that look a lot simpler than I ever could. The thought of using a miter saw freaks me out. 😉 Very nice job.

  4. May be a little tall but super cute! You could make one as a Kleenex box holder! I hide my Kleenex in baskets but think a box would be cute.

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