Using a dollar store photo frame, some scrap wood and a few rollers, I was able to build this gorgeous DIY watch box to showcase 9 of Hubby’s favourite watches.

I was playing with scrap wood in the garage the other day and wanted to see if I could make a watch box to display all of Hubby’s watches.

I had a small pane of glass that came from an 8×10 dollar store picture frame that had sat in my garage for eons – I knew I wanted to make something with it, but until this idea, I didn’t know what.

I made so many mistakes with this project – but in the end it came out nicely, so I’m going to share the to-do and leave out the not-to-do bits.

The size of your DIY watch box will depend on the size of the pane of glass you’re using – these plans will work for the glass from a typical 8×10 photo frame.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

Make the top first – this will determine the size of your base, so it’s easiest to start here.  I used ¾” thick wood and cut 2 pieces to 12 ½” (long side) and then 2 pieces at 9 ¼” (long side).  I went with a 45° mitre on the ends of each board to give a nicer finished look.

Tip: cut two attaching sides and then double-check your measurements before cutting the other two sides.  I find the last piece is always 1/16th” out, so cutting it last saves me from a mistake or extra wood filler.

Lay out your pieces and place your pane of glass centered over top.  I was surprised to find that my pane of glass wasn’t perfectly square – by tracing it out onto your wood, you’ll know exactly how deep you need your channel to be.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

I raised the blade on my table saw to ~½” (I lined up the tip of the blade with the line I’d traced on the wood) and then ran the short sides of the frame pieces over the blade to create a channel to hold the glass.  You might have to adjust your blade left or right for a second pass if your glass is a bit thicker than the saw blade.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

Use glue and finishing nails to attach three of the four DIY watch box frame pieces.

Before inserting your glass and attaching the last piece of the frame, you’ll want to pain/stain the channel and inner edges of the frame.

Once dry, slide your pane of glass into place then use wood glue and finishing nails to attach the last piece.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

Now you’re ready for your DIY watch box – box.

DIY Watch box

Not much to the build from here – use a speed square to check for square – then glue and use finishing nails to hold the sides together.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

Attach the bottom ply/backer board using finishing nails.

Once the bottom is attached, measure out your trim pieces so that they are flush with the DIY watch box AND the table surface (so the trim will hide the base you just attached).

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

Attach with finishing nails.

Use wood filler to hide the nail holes (and any errors in your mitre cuts) then sand everything smooth with 120 grit to 220 grit.

Stain and varnish, or prime and paint your DIY watch box as you choose.

I went with a two-tone look because the stain took very differently to the quarter round than it did to the pine sides.  As luck would have it, I think I prefer the two-tone look anyways… it’s striking isn’t it?

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

I added a couple of L-brackets as decorative hardware on the sides and ½” hinges to hold the top to the bottom.

Tip: if you want your lid flush to the watch box, cut a small notch in the box and the frame so that the hinge tucks into it and sits flush.  I didn’t do this (stupidly) and the box isn’t as pretty as it could be if I’d done it properly.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

As it turns out, I’ve bought Hubby a couple of watch boxes over the years and had forgotten, so this one is going to my brother – who doesn’t collect watches.


if he did, I would have cut small inserts to section off the box and I would have given these rollers a coat of black spray paint to disguise that they are just small paint rollers.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

Adding the sections will keep the rollers from jostling around and will keep your watch faces up – they tend to be heavier than the rest of the watch so gravity wants to roll them over otherwise.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

This DIY watch box easily holds 9 watches – I’d guesstimate that a box built with a 5×7″ piece of glass would hold 6.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

I’ve seen interior designers use boxes like these on coffee table vignettes, so don’t feel you are limited to a watch box.  This could hold jewelery, trinkets, silverware – your chocolate bar stash – whatever you want.

Actually, I received something similar in size to this when Miss Madison was a baby – painted in bright colours and bold flower caricatures – I tucked her hospital bracelet, baby hat and other newborn goodies into it and still have it tucked away in my closet – so this would also make a nice shower gift.

DIY watchbox, scrap wood watchbox, watchbox

I made this entirely from scrap wood – and if you live in London I have about 16′ more of the oak quarter round you are welcome to – so the only expense to make one would be for the dollar store picture frame (to steal the glass from), 2 small hinges and 2 L-brackets for decoration.

So, and like all my projects, I really should make about 3 more to get the process perfected – but for a first time effort I’d say this DIY watch box is pretty good.

Have a great one!


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2 Responses

  1. Son, with that many watches you should be on time for appointments. Shelly you did an amazing job.