Looking for a handmade gift that you can whip out multiples of? This DIY scrap wood smartphone speaker is easy to make, can be painted to match any decor and TOTALLY WORKS!
Christmas is on a pretty tight budget for me this year. Heading back to school has limited the amount of time I can allot to the blog and so my income seems be be more on the outgo end of things. 😂
Fortunately I write a DIY blog, so DIY gifts are easy, inexpensive and a no-brainer when it comes to gifts made with love.
To that end, I wanted to make something I hadn’t made or given before and Chris came up with the awesome idea of smartphone speakers!
Essentially a small wood box with cut outs to hold your smartphone which amplifies the sound coming from your phone’s speakers.
We tried a few different versions:
¼” MDF (medium density fibreboard) to make a box with cut outs in the bottom and a place to put your iPhone in the top. I couldn’t help it, but when Chris said that the holes were too close together and they looked like some kind of testicle torture device, I had to paint this speaker box blue. 😂
I attempted to make a version of this, but one that lays flat instead of standing tall. I painted to to look (kinda, sorta?) like a boombox.
Then I came across a Youtube Video to make a version that looks something like this:
I loved the idea and the look of this version from Tool Metrix, but I didn’t want to do quite as many steps as he did – and I wanted to use scrap bits of wood – so I edited his instructions a bit to come up with my version of this amplifier.
I started with a 4×4″ by 11″ wood block I had been hanging on to in my scrap pile. I thought it looked similar in shape and size to the one in the Tool Metrix video – except that it wasn’t hollowed out.
I set my table saw to ½” and ripped the two sides off of the block and then the top and bottom.
I set the centre section aside and glued the bottom and two sides of the wood block back together.
I cut the top panel of wood in half and then glued it back into the top of the smartphone speaker box leaving a gap big enough for my phone to fit in between.
Ignore that the sides of that were cut already – we’re going to do that now;
Set your mitre saw to approximately 45° and cut the sides of your smartphone speaker box. I lined the blade up with the back corner of the box and cut. Change your 45° mitre to the opposite direction and repeat on the other side.
If you don’t have a scrap 4×4 lying around, you can build the same thing with scrap ½” or ¾” wood – ply or other.
These were scrap bits I had in my bin and you can see the measurements written on them.
I glued the sides to the bottom of the DIY scrap wood speaker box, then patched together a top with a gap for my phone.
This version has more seams than the last version, but after a coat of stain and varathane the differences in wood aren’t all that noticeable.
Again, line up your 45° mitres with the back corner of your box and cut.
Inside the cutout, place a small piece of wood for your iPhone/smartphone to stand on. This way the speakers won’t be blocked and you will get more sound travelling through your amplifier.
This was a prototype, so you will see some errors and rough spots, but you get the idea. The iPhone sits in the cradle (on a small block that you’ve glued in place) and the sound bounces off of the hard surfaces to amplify it.
It really works!
I tested it on a few people and had them close their eyes to see if they could tell when the phone was in or out of the scrap wood speaker box and they most definitely could! The sound is louder, but it’s also more robust – I think that’s the word I’m looking for.
For my gift-giving version I’ll use the same type of wood scraps and not the mix-and-match plywood, maple and spruce bits I quilted together here.
I was really tickled that these worked so well, so I’ll be keeping my not-as-pretty prototype for myself.
If you are looking for some scrap wood gift ideas, check out the Tool Metrix video above and try out his or my version of this DIY smartphone speaker box – it’s absolutely perfect for setting on a desk or workbench!
Have a great one!