Building a Homemade Music Box (Christmas Gift)



Hi friends! In this tutorial video, I explain how I built my homemade music box, improving my design from last year’s prototype model. The entire process cost me about 50 dollars and took about 5 days to build. I hope this video inspires you to make your own music box for that “special someone” this holiday season!


1. Buy the “DIY Music Box Kit” from amazon, here:
(this is an affiliate link)

2. Plan the structure you’d like your music box to be. I’m working with these designs:
The extra space is for extra storage (in my case, hiding a book)

3. Now that you have a drawing, you need to do some calculations to figure out the dimensions of each piece of wood. Length x width x height. Draw a schematic (a blueprint like you saw in the first few images of the link in #2.) You might want to visit a local hardware store and find out the dimensions of the wood they have available before you do this step.

4. Now work on notating your music onto the paper strip with the hole puncher. Generally shorter songs work best–the longer the song, the more paper you’ll have to have rolled up into your final box, so be wary of that. I also found that if you’re working on transcribing a pop song, the chorus works best for this kind of project. Be warned: the music box only plays in the diatonic key of C (no sharps/flats!), so you’ll have to transpose your piece to that key in order to write them onto the paper strip! The first thing you should do when you have a solid idea of how to write the piece (given the key signature and 2 octave limitation of this particular paper strip) is to begin your notation on the paper strip **with pencil**. When that’s finished, you should check for errors in timing and pitch. Then, hole-punch your pencil markings. If you notice a mistake in your transcription after you’ve finished, don’t worry! The DIY product comes with 4 or 5 paper strips that you can use to try again. Alternatively, you can plug any incorrect hole(s) with a bit of tape on both sides of the paper.

5. Alrighty, the hard part is over! Go to a local hardware store and buy the wood; they’ll cut it in-store if you ask. Note: avoid the nonholistic wood–it splinters too easily. Then buy all the accessories (wood glue, paint/wood stain, hinges, and wood screws for the hinges. The box-cover handle and sandpaper are optional). After cutting the wood pieces to size, use sandpaper to sand down wood’s edges a little and clean them to encourage an even coat when you go to color the wood with paint or stain.

6. Assemble! Use wood glue to hold pieces together. Let dry overnight. It took me about 2 days because Lowes’ cutting isn’t precise, and I needed to make a few minor adjustments with my sandpaper during assembly to get all the walls to fit together nicely. In addition, I needed to carve out the hole for the music box’s hand-crank. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of last year’s assembly, but the first step is to attach the metal part of the box to the wood base itself–for this, you may want to use some wood screws you can get at a local hardware store. The ones provided have a flat tip rather than the pointed tip you need to secure a firm hold. You’ve gotta make sure that everything’s going to fit before you then permanently screw and glue all the pieces together.

7. If not already done, insert your music strip paper with the completed song, cut and carefully taped in a loop so that it plays continuously.


Final Product:

Here’s a recording of the song on soundcloud:

Link to last year’s music box:

Link to my original piano composition of this song:

…and it’s Revisitation:


Thanks for watching, friends! If you have any further questions, feel free to write me a comment below the video or on any of my social networks! I just came home for Christmas break yesterday, so I’m going to try to have a whole bunch of new piano videos for you before Christmas day. I hope to record two or three of them this weekend, so look forward to that!


Stay in touch!