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Making Tabletop Game Storage Boxes

I’ve started playing the tabletop game Star Wars X-Wing and I really love it. There are a lot of small ships and pieces that need proper storage. Let me show you how I used some scrap wood and cheap foam core to make some really nice tabletop game storage boxes.

  1. Mill Up Some Lumber
  2. Custom Foam Core Inserts
  3. Make Decorative Inlays
  4. Attach Box Lids

1. Mill Up Some Lumber

These storage boxes are going to be made out of some scrap hardwood I have available. You don’t have to make them out of hardwood, you could use pine from the box stores and stain them to your favorite color, or you could even use MDF and paint them. Because I have this lumber available, I have to mill it to the right sizes first. Milling is the process of flattening each face and squaring each edge. We did a Bits video all about it if you are interested.

I used the material to dictate the sizes of each box because I couldn’t go out right now and buy more materials. The X-Wing ships are quite small, so this wasn’t an issue. If you are making a box for something specific, make sure you have enough material (plus some extra) to fit the intended item. I decided to use my Incra box joint jig to add some finger joints to each piece of prepared lumber. I glued up enough pieces to make two walnut boxes and one maple box. To add a bottom panel, I used the palm router with a rabbeting bit set to the thickness of the thin material. We will cover making some decorative lids later on.

2. Custom Foam Core Inserts

If you’ve never worked with foam core, do it. Foam core is cheap and works super well for a lot of applications. I decided that the box’s dividers should be simple enough that I could change the interior space to accommodate more ships. By making the organizing trays out of glued wood, I couldn’t easily change the layout. I cut the foam tray pieces using a sharp box cutter and glued them together with hot glue.

3. Make Decorative Lids

For the lids, I decided to make something awesome. You could totally glue a wooden frame to a sheet of thin material and be done, but I wanted to add a little Star Wars flare to these storage bins. In the tabletop game X-Wing, there are different factions of ships. I have the Mandalorians, the Empire, and the Rebel Alliance. Using my Glowforge laser cutter, I first etched these logos into a thin wooden panel. Then using some of their adhesive-backed veneers, I cut the inlay to fit inside that etched area. I used contrasting woods to highlight the logos and placed them inside of a dadoed wooden frame.

4. Attach the Box Lids

Now that the boxes are done, the foam core trays are made, and the lids are finished I have to find a way to assemble them all together. The trays fit perfectly inside the boxes because they were cut to size earlier. The lids; however, aren’t firmly attached. There are many ways to do this; hinges, friction fit lips, or sliding rails. I decided to simply use rare earth magnets placed in the box and the lids to snap them in place. These small magnets are surprisingly strong and can be attached by drilling a shallow hole and securing with CA glue.

Storage Boxes That Add to the Game Play

I am really happy with how these boxes turned out. Like I mentioned at the beginning, Star Wars X-Wing has a lot of pieces and now that we have dedicated tabletop game storage boxes it adds to the excitement of playing the game. Each faction has a home and we are now more excited to get them out and play the game as a family. I already want to get more ships to place in the boxes and because I used foam core, we can easily adjust the interior space to fit more. I hope this encouraged you to use materials like foam core for your organizing projects and to make some nice looking boxes for your favorite games!