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Acrylic Cowboy Box

Tara Williams designs a cowboy box with colorful acrylic sheets.

Tara Williams loves her job as an executive at a midtown Manhattan hotel. But after a long day of number crunching, she is ready to focus on her creative side and craft up a storm in her Brooklyn apartment.

Materials and Tools:

1/8" acrylic sheets: sheet of blue, purple and yellow
12" metal ruler
small files
220-grit sandpaper
acrylic glue with syringe applicator
plastic edger
plastic cutter
C-frame handsaw
size 0 saw blades - 1 dozen
hand drill with small drill bit
dish soap
rubber cement
window cleaner
soft cloth
2 plastic hinges
clear acrylic square rod
clip art photocopies:
- 2 different cowboys
- a steer head
- stars - 1 large star and 12 small stars
oven and oven mitts
baking sheet covered with aluminum foil
white office correction fluid

1. Measure and mark the blue and purple acrylic sheets as follows:

  • Four blue 6" x 6" sides
  • One blue 6-1/4" x 7" top
  • One blue 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" bottom piece
  • Two purple 5" x 5-1/2" interior pieces

2. To cut out the pieces use a plastic cutter and a metal ruler. Clamp the acrylic sheet to the table and place the metal ruler along the marked line. Score the plastic about 10 times with the cutter. Support the sheet on the edge of a desk or table and snap it along the scored line. Repeat the process for each line until all pieces have been cut out.

3. Write the names and sizes of the box pieces on the protective paper of the acrylic sheets.

4. Each corner should be a right angle. If not, use the plastic edger to shave each side to a 90-degree angle. Clamp the acrylic piece in a vise to hold it while using the edger.

5. Roughly cut out the paper patterns of the cowboys, steer head and stars with scissors. Cover any unwanted portions of the design with white opaque office correction fluid.

6. Adhere each paper design using rubber cement to the appropriate acrylic color: cowboys to two blue sides and the steer head to the purple piece. Adhere the stars to a yellow acrylic sheet. Let dry.

7. Drill a pilot hole through the acrylic in the cowboy designs to insert the saw blade. Note: It may be necessary to change blades frequently. Clamp the acrylic piece to the table. Place the saw blade through the drilled hole and cut out each design using a C-framed handsaw. Apply dish soap to the blade for lubrication. Peel off the protective paper from the sheets. File and sand any rough edges.

8. Cut out the other designs, the steer head and all the stars. Peel off the protective paper with the glued designs. File and sand the edges.

9. To assemble the box, hold one side perpendicular to the base (at a 90-degree angle) and apply acrylic glue with a syringe squeeze bottle applicator to the joint.

10. The glue will dry in about 30 seconds. Repeat with all four sides around the base.

11. Glue the two purple interior pieces behind each cowboy side and add the four support braces to each corner.

12. Line up the lid on top of the acrylic cowboy box and place guide points on the edges to assist in bending. Remove the protective film from the sheet and heat the lid in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes.

13. Using oven mitts remove the lid and align it atop the acrylic box. Slowly and evenly bend the edge over the box, holding the shape until cooled.

14. Adhere the lid to the box base using two acrylic hinges and the acrylic glue.

15. Attach the remaining steer head and stars to the cowboy box sides and lid.

16. Spray the acrylic cowboy box with window cleaner and wipe with a soft cloth.

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