DIY Paint Stick Puzzle Box

DIY Paint Stick Puzzle Box


Hey, what’s up guys welcome back to the workshop for this video We’re doing a very cool step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own mystery puzzle box like this one You could use in a mystery escape room. This project was inspired by Lowes who flew me out to Ohio, Locked me in a room for 60 minutes and gave me some power tools to create mechanisms to get my way out. I put a link in the description where you can go see the video of how that went down. But for this video I’m going to be taking you through the Measurements, the mechanics, and step-by-step build on how to create one of these puzzle boxes for yourself. It’s made of very simple materials, and you don’t need a lot of tools to do it Let’s jump right in. The material I used to prototype this project are two packs of paint sticks, You can get these ten paint sticks per pack, I’m using some hot glue, a toothpick, and a small dowel. Now aside from that a few of the accessories We’re gonna be using are two small magnets, and then a nail and a small screw that you can pull out of your spare parts bin. And to give our box a nice finished look we’re gonna keep it really simple by using some red chestnut wood stain and some polycrylic protective finish. Now to jump right into making our puzzle box, We’re gonna start off by chopping up these paint sticks in a very strategic manner to optimize the amount of wood we get out. Now honestly it is a bit overkill to use a 12-inch miter saw to cut paint sticks, But I’m using this because Lowes sent it to me as a gift, and it would be rude not to. Then that’s it. At this point all of our wood pieces are cut and should be ready for assembly. That’s where the hot glue comes in. Now while our hot glue is warming up, I just want to mention that if you have a belt sander It’s gonna make this project a lot easier for you. It’s not required, You could just get away with sandpaper, but a belt sander is gonna make things work a lot faster and make your project look awesome, So thanks again the Lowes for sending me one of these. And since we’ve got a couple of minutes, We can use that time to build one of these locking pins for the secret compartments. We’re using a dowel, a toothpick, and a nail from the spare parts Bin. The first thing we want to do is take our nail and a sledgehammer and on a really hard to surface you’re gonna Pound that until it’s flat, and you can see if we use the belt sander we can actually grind that, almost into an improvised Flat head screwdriver, which is really cool. If we use a hacksaw we can cut that off the sides, I’m thinking probably about half an inch should be sufficient. And now if we grab a drill bit That’s a comparable size to the nail itself We can drill straight down into the center of our dowel, about half an inch as well, we don’t want to go too deep, and then we can use a little bit of hot glue, or Superglue if you’ve got that, to secure our screwdriver head into the dowel itself. And this is where the toothpick comes in. We’re gonna take our drill bit, about the same size as our toothpick, Drill through the end of the dowel, And then we need some superglue to secure the toothpick into that hole and then just very gently break off the ends and use some Sandpaper or a belt sander just to smooth those over. And that right There is the essence of our locking pin that you’ll see come into play in just a couple of seconds. So we got our little screwdriver mechanism and finished now We can jump into actually assembling the box itself and to do that We’re gonna be using four of our eight and a half inch paint sticks And we’re also gonna be using the seven and a half with one-inch pieces as well now if your paint sticks have any markings on Them like these ones do you want to set them down on the table with the markings facing upward and we’re gonna stack them so we have two of our regular sticks on the right side we’re gonna take the shorter stick and Set it on the left side so that leaves a gap on the lower left area One important thing to keep in mind with the shorter piece is make sure that the slits line up so that the grains look normal if you put it in the wrong way or put the paint stick the wrong way around it’s gonna look really awkward so double-check your Stick is facing the right way before you glue it together now We’re going to do is simply glue these together using our hot glue gun we’re going to take one of the paint sticks We’re gonna lay a bead glued down the side We’re going to take another one of the sticks, and we’re gonna press it into it firmly and hold it for about 10 seconds They’re gonna set it down on a piece of paper so that it can set as flat as we can get it and we’re gonna Leave that for at least a couple minutes If you’ve got too much glue seeping up through the cracks use a scrap piece of wood just to scrape that off with a glue still hot After a couple of minutes the glue should be hardened So go ahead and peel it off the paper if you have any bits of paper stuck on the back Don’t worry about it because we’re gonna sand these off All right, we got these things glued together sanded they’re looking great now We’re going to do is flip them over so the smooth side is facing up mark free and we’re gonna get these eight Pieces that we cut to three and three quarters of an inch Basically these are going to be our strappings for the box, and we’re gonna glue them into place right now We can actually use the paint sticks themselves as spacers to make them look very tightly spaced So we just got our wooden straps assembled, and they’re looking really good They’re spaced very evenly if we set them down the table and push them side-by-side You can see they line up Absolutely perfectly which is great so now choose your least favorite one the one that you want to go on bottom And we’re going to set that down with the wooden straps facing down now. This is where things start getting fun We’re using the last eight and a half inch piece as the side wall for the right side of the box We’re gonna glue that down a straight line then we’re gonna grab one of the 3-inch pieces But before we glue it down we want to measure This is going to be the inside back of the box when you lay it up next to that side wall you want to be Able to see a gap at least the same width as a paint stick on the other side if it’s a little bit longer just Use your belt sander or some sandpaper to sand it down so you have the right width It’s also a good idea to use another paint stick as a square You can set that in and use it to help level the wall Removing excess glue is good because we want to leave a nice clean finish when we glue this piece We want to glue it like a number seven so we’re hitting the right side as well as the bottom So quick update guys we got the long sidewall on We’ve got the back piece on as well, and we’ve made sure that there’s enough of a gap there Then when a paint stick lies down beside it it fills it in perfectly Now all the time we get to build our first secret compartment And we’re gonna start with a small one right down here at the back Alright guys, here’s the deal I just went ahead and made our first small Compartment this uses the two and a half inch pieces with the 1 and 3/8 inch piece You can see we just put three of them together Gluing them to the outside of one of the paint sticks And now this is basically designed to fit perfectly at the bottom of our base plate here. You’ll notice There’s a little bit of a gap here at the back and that’s ok because we’re gonna be filling that gap When it comes time to use our magnets which actually brings up really good point because we want to make sure our magnets will fit So before we go any further Let’s put the compartment down in place and take our magnets and just make sure there’s enough of a gap for them We want the gap at the back to be slightly larger than both magnets stuck together And you’ll see why in a bit You can see that when I extend the gap from my magnets my compartments actually a little bit too long So let’s go ahead and mark the part. That’s hanging over. Then use our belt sander to grind it down Now while I was at the belt sander you can see I actually just ground down the sides and the bottoms as well so that everything is nice and flush and smooth and That way when we put it into the puzzle box It’s going to slide very very nicely, and if we line it up now You can see these edges are absolutely perfect so we take our other three-inch piece of wood and line that up to match you can see where it’s going to connect to that little hidden compartment and Double checking that there’s enough space in the back for the magnets, and it looks like we’re good So our mini compartment is complete when we tuck that into the bottom the next step is going to be to build the largest compartment That goes on top the larger compartment uses these six and a half inch Sidewalls a three inch front and back and then underneath for support using two and a half inch pieces So our large mystery compartment is now complete You can see how I put the side walls on the inside of the front in the back And that’s so there’s enough space that when it slides down to the box It will move freely in and out I also reinforced using the two-and-a-half inch pieces on the inside That gives it a little bit more stability and now for a floor We’re just gonna find some cardboard from something like a cereal box cut that out and lay it down as a bottom and now you Can see our small compartment slides in really nicely We can take our five and a half inch piece and lay that down to complete the side wall At this point we’re just about ready to put the top on There’s just a couple things we need to do first first of all take your drawers and slide them all in and out you want To make sure that they’re extremely smooth. There are no rough edges There’s no hot glue. That’s gonna bind it down We need these things to just glide on top of the wood and secondly It’s time to add our magnets to the back of the smaller drawer by using two opposing magnets It’s going to give this drawer an effect like a spring so it pops out when the catch is released Now when you glue in your magnets if you find out you’re a little overzealous with how wide you made this gap at the back You can easily solve that challenge just by adding one more magnet to the back That’s some good force there, so we’ve got both of our secret compartments complete We’ve got our magnets added and everything’s looking good so at this point we can go ahead and add the lid the thing that’s important To keep in mind is there is a notch missing out of the top so when you go to hot glue around the edges glue Everything except where that notch is gonna go or you are gonna make a sticky mess Now once you put the lid on there’s gonna be some dynamics that change the lid may have an arch in it also some hot Glue may seep so it’s important to take your large drawer fit it back in there to see if there’s any parts we’re tight and in this case there are so we’re just gonna use the belt sander once again to Grind this down until it slides back and forth seamlessly Alright so our box is just about done There’s just a few holes that we need to fill in in the front and the back so we’re gonna do that next Then we’re gonna move on to filling in these side strappings except for two of them two of them We’re gonna be very strategically placed and require a little bit of special attention I do want to mention that when you add these pieces to the top and the bottom it is helpful to cut a 45-degree angle off of the inside that way when they slide into the box, there’s less tendency for them to hang up on the edges So the time is coming to finish our box that means we’re gonna add the Mechanisms that allow the mystery compartments to open and the first one starts with a small screw Start by taking the small drawer and pressing it all the way in making sure that it’s balanced when you feel like it’s locked in Place we’re gonna drill a very small hole in the back and center of the box itself Very small pilot hole to accommodate one of these small screws Now go ahead and put in your screw and use something like a small precision Screwdriver to tighten that all the way what that’s gonna do is go inside and grab the side wall that compartments that it doesn’t push out and now it is locked in place and Now it might start to make sense Why we made that little screwdriver originally see where this is going We’re also gonna be bringing back our small dowel because we’re gonna be cutting off and using two small sections of it as well We want to be able to drill a couple holes the same diameter as our dowel And I found a 3/16 inch bit seems to be about the perfect fit our first hole needs to be drilled very strategically into the smallest compartment it’s gonna go right on the edge near that seam line and Needs to happen so that when we put this flap on it’s covered up And there’s no evidence whatsoever and it’s gonna be most accurate if we drill a hole right now while everything’s locked up nice and tight And now pushing the dowel in it’s a very snug fit it’s perfect and we’re actually gonna leave that in there now and flip over to the other side and with a small mystery compartment in the Back you can see if we rotate the box the panel that I have missing is the second one from the left and it is Important to put this panel piece into place Before we drill the hole once you got a position correctly go ahead and drill a hole straight through it you should penetrate three layers Which is exactly what we want so next up. We’re gonna take a little piece of this dowel We’re gonna push it through this hole and we’re gonna glue it in place and make sure that it never comes apart now the hole for the panel and the mystery compartment need to be as tight to the Dowel as they can be because we’re gonna glue these together and the two will become one The holes going into the box though They can be opened up a little bit wider because we don’t necessarily need those to be extremely tight it actually helps a little bit Better if there little bit loose, so let’s use our drill bit and get back inside there and open them up just a touch We want the Dowel to go through the whole freely we don’t want it to be very tight that’s perfect So with the small compartment I added some hot glue and I push the dowel through so that it leaves about a little Under half an inch on the inside the purpose of that is that when that drawer fits into place That dowel will go into the pull and prevent the large drawer from pulling out until this one’s remove first Now obviously we have a quite a bit of overhang here, but that’s easy to chop off and use the belt sander to grind flat With our dowel sanded flat and everything put back in place we can go ahead and glue the panel on we want to make sure we Glue it to the side of the mystery compartment itself that way when we undo the screw to the whole compartment can fly out We’re gonna do something similar with this secret side panel The only problem is we don’t want it to be obvious that there’s a dowel in the center So we’re gonna put the dowel in then we’re gonna grind this piece till it’s half the thickness that it was originally we’re gonna take Another piece glue it to the top and grind that down halfway As well that way it almost creates a veneer effect on top So you don’t know that there’s anything hidden inside the panel at all so here We have a guy’s the last puzzle piece is now in place so the only thing left to do to finish this box is Sand everything so it’s nice and smooth and even then give it a paint job with some stain to finish it off Now this is the part where we bring back our mini screwdriver We made earlier you want to drill a 3/8 inch hole on the same side as your mini compartment but it’s gonna be on the right-hand side in the first gap there drill the hole down just so your dowel fits snuggly and Now as your person is tinkering with the box They’ll have something to fidget with find the screwdriver which should tip them off to undo the screw at the back So I got these pieces fully stained and finished with varnish, so it’s got a protective coating And I think it’s looking really really good. These are all the different pieces that make up our mystery box It’s almost time to put it back together, but first I’m gonna burn some clues into the wood using a soldering iron Because etching the clues into the wood with heat is gonna last even longer than if we use ink alone I am proud to present our finished puzzle box guys. I hope this is one that you make as well It’s now got all the clues inserted into it and it’s completely ready for use these things are so much fun My kids love to use them every one that I’ve handed it to That’s tinkered with it has loved to use it as well and the coolest thing that is just made of very simple materials cost about three dollars of materials paint sticks hot glue and Some miscellaneous parts this was inspired by the spirit of DIY that came to me from Lowe’s Home Improvement Center They flew me out to Ohio Locked me in the DIY escape room with some power tools and gave me 60 minutes to create mechanisms To escape if you want to see the video of how that went down click the link at the top of the description Because it was a real adventure And it wasn’t just me Bob from I like to make stuff was there as well So go check us out link at the top of the description or click the end card at the end of this video Hey, thanks for joining me for this project guys. I’ll be looking for you. The next one talk to you then Next things next I’m going to show you how to build the box hot glue and sandpaper don’t seem to work very well Hey guys before you go click right here to go see Bob And I take on the Lowe’s Black Friday DIY escape room it was an amazing experience we had no idea what to expect once we got locked inside So did we make it out in time you can go see for yourself by clicking right here

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