How To Make A Box With A Magnet Opening Mechanism

  • By: Monica Shulz

You can never have enough storage boxes. Whether you need to store jewelry, wines, tools, or even money, a box is always sure to come in handy.

In this article, we’ll show you how to build a unique box with a hidden locking mechanism. With the aid of magnet-controlled pins, you’ll be able to lock and unlock the box without needing a key.

This way, you don’t have to worry about losing the keys.  You can even show it to your friends and laugh as you watch them puzzle over it for hours!

So, let’s start building it.

What You’ll Need

To build a box with a magnet locking mechanism, you’re going to need a few items from the hardware store. These items include;

  • ¾” Thick Plywood
  • ¼” Stock Round Rod
  • Two Overlay Hinges
  • Three Screw-On Magnets
  • One Doorknob

Cut Out The Blanks For The Box

Place the ¾” thick plywood on the workbench. Mark out two sections measuring 10” x 9”. Cut them out using the table saw.

These sections will be the base and the door of the box.

From the wooden slab, mark and cut out two sections measuring 10” x 10”. These will be the first set of walls.

Next, mark and cut two sections measuring 10” x 10.5”. These are the second set of walls.

Sand all the blanks down to remove any burrs and smoothen the surface of the blanks.

Assemble The Box From The Blanks

Place one 9” x 10” section on the workbench. Place the 10” x 10” sections vertically next to the 10” edges of the 9” x 10” section.

Close off one side of the structure with a 10” x 10.5” blank. Make sure the 10” side lines up perfectly with the 10” walls.

Hold the structure in place with a clamp. Drill pilot holes in the frame and secure the blanks together using screws.

After you’ve connected everything, remove the clamps. Add the second 10” x 10.5” blank opposite the first one.

Make sure its edges line up perfectly with the rest of the structure and secure it in place with screws too.

Add The Hinges and Doorknob To The Door

Place the second 9” x 10” section on the workbench. Place the two overlay hinges at the top and bottom of one of the 9” edges.

Make sure the hinges are about half an inch from the top and bottom. Secure the hinges to the door using a drill and screws.

Mark a spot in the center of the opposite edge. Make sure the spot is about 2” away from the edge. Drill a pilot hole through the spot.

Install the doorknob on the spot and secure it in place using a screw.

Add The Door To The Box

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Fit the door to the box’s remaining hole and ensure all its edges line up with the hole. Position the door so its surface will be flush with the rest of the box when you close it.

Mark the spot where the door’s hinges are inside the box. Drill some pilot holes in that spot and secure the hinges to the box using some screws.

Note: If installing the door is difficult, you can remove the screws holding the box’s wall in place. Next, you can secure the door’s hinges to the wall and then re-attach the wall back to the box.

Add a Door Stopper

A door stopper prevents the box’s door from going all the way in when you close the door. This way, the door won’t get stuck and will always stop when it’s flush with the rest of the box.

From a ¼” thick piece of plywood, cut out a section 1” wide and 8.5” long. Next, turn the box upside down.

Attach the door stopper to the bottom corner of the box opposite the door’s hinges using wood glue.  Now, the door won’t close all the way in.

Cut The Pins For The Door

Clamp the ¼” round stock bar in your bench vise. Using an electric hacksaw, cut three ½” long sections from the bar.

Take one of the sections and clamp it tightly in a drill bit’s chuck. Gently grind the edges of the pin using a bench grinder until they achieve a circular shape.

Do the same for both ends of the pin. Repeat this process for the two remaining pins.

Mark Holes For The Locking Pins

Turn the box back up and place it on the workbench. Mark a spot on the middle of the box’s top edge. Make two marks about 4cm away on either side of the original mark.

Using a try square, extend those lines down past the top edge of the door.

Drill The Holes For The Pins

Using the drill, unscrew the top part of the box from the rest. Extend the lines you drew on the edge to the bottom of the blank using the try-square.

On these lines on the bottom, mark a point about 3/8” away from the edge on each line. Drill those points with a ¼” bit to about ½” deep.

After drilling the holes, screw the top part back into the box.

Drill The Holes For The Pins In The Door

Open the door wide. Extend the three lines you drew on the door to the top face of the door. Mark a point in the middle of the line (about 3/8” from the edge).

Using the same ¼” bit you used for the previous hole, drill a hole about ¼” deep into the door. Do the same for the remaining two lines.

Add The Pins To The Holes In The Door

Turn the box upside down so the holes you drilled in the top part are facing upwards. Place each pin inside a hole and make sure the pins are moving freely.

Next, close the door and turn it back to its proper position. The pins should lock in place, and the door should not be able to open.

Now, to open the door, you’ll have to install the magnets.

Cut Out The Magnet Holder Arm

The magnet holder arm is a piece of wood that will hold the magnets for opening the door. You will have to place the magnets over the door to open it.

Measure the length of the box and remove an inch from the dimension. Cut two 1” wide pieces from the ¾” thick plywood slab using that dimension. One of these will be the magnet holder.

Next, measure the width of the box. Cut a 1” wide piece from the ¾” inch thick slab with that dimension as the length.  

Attach The Holder to The Box

Drill a hole at the top right corner of the box for a dowel pin. Place a dowelling punch jig in the hole and place the magnet holder arm on the punch.

Lightly tap the arm on the jig to mark the hole for drilling. Drill the hole for the dowel joint at the point where you marked with the jig.

Insert a dowel into the hole on the arm and secure it with wood glue. Place the Dowel pin into the hole in the box without glue.

Drill The Holes For The Magnets

Rotate the magnet arm, so it is aligned with the top edge of the door. Extend the lines you drew on the top edge to the magnet arm’s face using a try square and a pencil.

Remove the top arm. Extend the lines you drew on its face to its bottom. On each line, mark a point about ½” away from the edge.

Measure the width and depth of the screw in magnets. Drill a hole wide and deep enough for the magnets at each location.

Add The Magnets to The Arm

Place a screw-on magnet in each hole you drilled into the magnet’s arm. Secure the magnets in place with a screw.

Return the arm to its position in the dowel hole, and you can now open the door by putting the magnets directly over it.

Attach The Remaining Blanks To The Box

Take the second magnet holder blank and glue it to the edge opposite the magnet holder arm. Place the last blank at the bottom of both blanks and glue them.

Note: Before you glue the last blank, ensure the magnet holder arm can move freely without interference.

Paint The Box

The box is finally done; all it needs is a coat of paint. So, apply a coat of wood varnish to the box using a brush.

Wipe off any excess varnish using a rag and wait for the box to dry before you use it.

Final Product

Your box is finally complete! Now, you have a lovely storage container straight out of a spy movie.

Do you like this DIY project? If you do, you can get more fun projects and ideas from the DIY projects channel on YouTube. You can also check them out on Yandex at Pro100_DIY.

Photo by DIY projects / CC BY 3.0