Some of my fondest memories as a kid were formed when I was conquering dungeons in video games with my dad. There was something about trying to figure out how a huge puzzle worked and how you had to use your wits to overcome different obstacles. Here in the real world, however, this reality of trekking through an hour-long dungeon to figure out the solution to a small contraption is sorely lacking. So instead we have to settle for making small individual brain teasers such as puzzle boxes.
The design that you see for the one above was actually taken from a super cheap puzzle box that we purchased off of Amazon. We basically copied this one so that we can learn how to make our own unique puzzle boxes in the future. Learning how to make these simple ones is like learning the basics of math, you can't move on to calculus unless you learn that 1+1=2 first.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Step 1: Materials/Tools
-1" Wide Wood (You need about 12 4" inch pieces)
-1/4" or 1/8" Dowel
Belt Sander: https://amzn.to/2SQUdNH
Chop Saw: https://amzn.to/2Ca5xNE
Combination Square: https://amzn.to/2VFLgbJ
Table Saw: https://amzn.to/2SLSLfc
Natural Wood Stain: https://amzn.to/2SLe3tD
1 Foot Quick Grip Clamps: https://amzn.to/2VO2W54
Wood Glue: https://amzn.to/2SJXzSj
Woodburning Kit: https://amzn.to/2LYCJfm
Dato Blades: https://amzn.to/2shfJzg
Step 2: Building the Main Box
Before you can move on to making any of the other drawers in this box, you have to build the main framework first. There are six sides to the main box and two of them have some weird openings. The one on the longest side will be for your drawer with the dowel in it. This one can just be a regular opening made to the exact size of your future drawer front. The one on the short end, however, will need two corners chopped out of your top and bottom pieces. These will be on opposite diagonal sides.
One thing to note is that it is very helpful to put some grooves in your top and bottom pieces to hide the small cracks that will be leftover from the corners that you cut off. Also, hang on to those corner pieces as you will need to attach them to your drawer later on.
Step 3: Drawer 1 Construction
For your side drawer, you will want to make the front of the drawer a little bit longer on the side that is nearest to the second drawer. The reason for this is so that you can insert the small dowel into the back of the face. This dowel will eventually be inserted into a hole on the second drawer.
Step 4: Drawer 2 Construction
For your second drawer, you'll have to reattach the two corners that you chopped off of your top and bottom pieces. These will act as your handles for when you want to pull it out of its socket.
Step 5: Drilling Your Holes
The hole for your peg will need to be right along the edge of your elongated drawer. Make sure that when you start, both drawers are in place so that the dowel will fit perfectly. This hole will eventually be covered by the trim pieces that we'll be attaching in the next step.
Step 6: Trim
The trim pieces that you cut don't have to be cut exactly to the edges of your box. We cut ours to ruffly the size we needed, placed them over the seams of our drawers, and then rounded them all off on our belt sander. Make sure that you go all the way around the box so that your trim does not look suspicious.
Step 7: Woodburning and Finishing
For secret compartments, adding shadows to the edges of your project is the best way to conceal any seams that aren't covered by trim. We do this a lot in our builds and it really works well when we want to fool our friends!
To seal our box, we added a layer of natural wood stain to give it a nice red color.