How to Make a Music Box

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Listening to soothing melodies wafting from a treasured music box is one of life’s simple pleasures. Artisans first produced music boxes in the 18th century, and through the years, their popularity has increased. Today, you can find music boxes in a variety of styles and forms including standard wooden boxes, ceramic figurines, stuffed animals and even greeting cards. Following the steps in this article, you can make your very own music box to give as a gift or to enjoy yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Small paper mache box
  • Musical movement
  • Pencil
  • Decorating supplies
  • Glue gun

Place the musical movement, which is the musical mechanism of a music box, with the winding key facing an interior side of the paper mache box. Mark the spot on the box where it meets the winding key with a pencil. Press the pencil into the box to create an indentation in the box.

From the outside of the box, press the pencil inward at the indentation spot to create a hole for the winding key. Pushing from the outside directs any unsightly edges surrounding the hole to the inside of the box.

Placing the musical movement aside and decorate the box. You can choose from a wide variety of methods to decorate your music box. Paint it and use stencils to add designs; decoupage your box with cutouts from magazines or copies of photographs; or embellish your box with a variety of stickers, stamps, buttons and beads.

Referring to the manufacturer’s instructions, unscrew the winding key from the musical movement if the two are attached. Coat the winding-key side of the musical movement with glue using a hot-glue gun.

Press the musical movement against the interior of the box, lining up the hole for the winding screw with the hole in the box. Refer to the glue manufacturer’s instructions to determine the glue’s drying time. You may need to hold the two items together briefly.

Screw the winding key into the musical movement though the hole in the box. Gently turn the winding key to enjoy music from the music box you have created.

Tips & Warnings

  • When gluing the musical movement to the box, poke a pencil through the hole in the box from the outside, and use the pencil as a guide to help you match the hole in the box to the winding key hole in the musical movement. You can purchase musical movements on the Internet. Prices start as low as $5. Available at most craft stores, paper mache boxes come in a variety of sizes and shapes including ovals, squares, hearts and stars. Instead of a paper mache box, you can choose a hinged wooden box. If you choose a wooden box, use a drill to create a hole for the winding key.
  • When preparing to glue the musical movement to the inside of the box, do not get glue near the hole where the winding key screws into the musical movement. Since glue spreads with pressure, keep plenty of space between the hole and the glue. Failure to keep glue from seeping inside the musical movement will render the movement useless. Do not place embellishments such as beads or fabric near the top of the bottom part of your box, as this will prevent the box lid from fitting onto your box. After decorating your box, wait until the glue and paint are completely dry before proceeding to the next step. Failing to do so may result in your paints being smudged and your embellishments falling off.

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