How To Make Your Own Music Box From A Kit

With some planning and patience, the average crafter can create a music box from a kit. By using some craft tips and following the kit's instructions, the assembly of a music box can be a successful project.

Building a music box can be easier and less complex than it may sound. A music box kit makes it possible for the average crafter to build their own box. By preparing for this project and following the kit's instructions, you can create a unique keepsake with a personal touch.

When choosing a music box kit, ask yourself what level of complexity and intricacy you are comfortable with. Most kits are made for adults, but there are kits designed for children as young as 7 years. More intricate kits consist of the musical movement, a slow-spinning figurine, customizable jewelry compartments, drawers, feet, inlays, onlays, and bandings. Some kits are designed to only display the sound device, called the musical movement mechanism. Many of the fine music box kits require the musical movement to be ordered separately. This can give the crafter more opportunity for customization. The musical movement, being the heart of the music box, is wound with a key called the ratchet lever. Suppliers sell classic melodies that play anywhere from 3 to ten minutes at a time. Musical movements come in 18, 30, 50 and 72 notes. The more notes there are, the more complex and deep the melody will sound.

Make sure to check the kit's requirements list for items that may not be included in the kit, such as screwdrivers, hand drills, clamping devices, and wood glue. It is also a good idea to have a tape measure, pliers, and wire cutters on hand. Once you are ready to start assembling your music box, choose a flat, clean, work space with good lighting. Lay out your parts, tools, supplies, and instructions, with everything inside your reach. You will be working with small parts, like screws and hinges. They can be easily lost, so you may wish to keep them in a small craft container. Most kits include instructions that are both written and illustrated. Examine these to get a general idea of how the box and its contents should be assembled. When you assemble your music box, it is important to follow the step-by-step instructions from beginning to end, in this order. As you work, it is also important to protect the musical mechanism, keeping all dust, hair, clothing and wood fibers away from it. The smallest particle can stop the mechanism from playing. Keep the mechanism wrapped in plastic or in a box, and vacuum your work space before installing it.



Walnut, rosewood, maple, and cedar are popular woods used to build a music box. The inside of the box commonly stores jewelry or small treasures. The interior can be lined with soft fabrics like velvet or satin. When attaching the fabric to the music box compartments, use the glue sparingly. Apply it in even amounts, using a precise applicator. Smooth out any wrinkles or bumps that you see. If you want the mechanism to be visible inside the box, a transparent panel made of acrylic, glass, or plexiglass can be installed. Make sure to clean this panel before attaching it, leaving it free of fingerprints and particles. Make sure to remove debris from inside the movement's case before you secure the panel that covers the mechanism.

There are many ways to decorate the outside of your music box, giving it a more personal touch. If you want to decorate your box in a more elaborate way, here are several ideas:

- The most common way to finish a music box is to apply wood stain, varnish, or paint to it's exterior. To protect your health, do this in a well-ventilated area, as chemicals in wood stains, varnishes, and paints can be caustic. When using very strong chemicals for extended periods of time, you may wish to wear an air-purifying respirator. Ask for these at paint stores and craft supply stores.

- Designs can be created by applying paint with stencils. They can be found at art supply stores, or you can create your own. Trace a stencil from a design that you like, or draw one freehand. Use card stock, bristol board or a thick paper to create your stencil. This way, it will be sturdy and reusable.

- If you like the look of decorative papers, a unique effect can be created by gluing assorted strips onto the surface of your box. This is called 'decoupage'. Papers of different textures and designs are added in a thin layer. Next, this layer is sealed with varnish and sanded. This process is repeated until the surface resembles inlay work or a painting.

With some planning and attention to detail, you can build a music box from a kit. Creating this classic keepsake can be an easy and successful craft project!

© High Speed Ventures 2011