Cupid Heart Box Project

This Cupid Heart Box is the perfect gift for a loved one! The unique lid configuration features an integrated “Cupid Arrow” which fits into matching recessed slots in the heart box body when closed.

The decorative carved pattern in the lid matches a previous project and makes a great companion piece!

The project uses just the 1/16 ” Carving Bit and the 1/8 ” Cutting Bit. No other bits are required. Overall dimensions (including arrow) are about : 5.375″ x 7.5 ” x 3.5 “

Main items you will need:

  1. The Project Files (included):
    • Heart_Box_Top.mpc • Heart_Sections.mpc
  2. Boards with the following dimensions:
    • Heart Box Top: 0.75 ” x 7 ” x 21 “
    • Heart Sections: 0.75″x 7″ x 24″
    • NOTE: Do not use boards that are smaller than specified above unless using an appropriate jig.
  3. Self-stick silicon or cork pads for box bottom
  4. Sandpaper, glue, stain and/or paint and clear finish
  5. A Dremel-type rotary tool with assorted abrasive attachments to aid the sanding process. A spindle sander and small belt sander can help speed up sanding/surface prep.


Start Designer and open the .mpc file(s). (fig. 1a)

All you need to do at this point is upload the project files to your memory card. (File/Upload). When you upload, you may or may not get a pop-up window with an “Auto-Jig” warning message (fig. 1b)

fig. 1b

If you do see the message, you may safely click on “Ignore” because our actual boards will be large enough that it won’t cause any problems at all. After each project is compiled, select “Best” or “Optimal” for the File Quality carve setting. (fig. 1a)

Click “OK” and upload each mpc project file to your memory card. Insert the card into your machine and load a board.

STEP 2 – Running the MPC File(s)

You will see “Project Menu” on your LCD display. Press “1” and scroll to Heart_Box_Top.mpc project, and press the green ENTER button to select it. Then follow the additional LED prompts as follows…

  • Stay Under Rollers – press 1) YES
    • DID YOU KNOW? If you’re using the specified board sizes, it doesn’t matter if you select YES or NO because those board sizes have the extra 7 inches of length that will keep the project under rollers either way. See 7 inch rule for further explanation)
  • DO NOT RESIZE or SCALE the projects! If prompted, always keep the original size. No scaling!
  • How To Place – press 1) Center
  • Cut Board to Size? – press 2) NO
  • Select Vector Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
  • Load Bit:1/8″ Cutting -Insert your 1/8” carving bit, then press the green ENTER button. (homes, etc.)
  • Select Cutting Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Just press ENTER (bit is already loaded).
  • Select Carving Bit: 1/16″ Carving – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
  • Load Bit: 1/16″ Carving – Remove the 1/8″ cutting bit, and insert your 1/16″ carving bit, then press the green ENTER button. After homing and finding surface, the carving process is performed.
  • After it is done carving, you will be prompted to load your 1/8″ cutting bit. Remove the 1/16″ carving bit and insert your 1/8″ cutting bit. Press the green ENTER button. The machine will perform the vector cuts and cutouts.

Remove the board and proceed to run the Heart_Sections.mpc (this mpc only uses the 1/8″ cutting bit).

Your boards will look something like this…


STEP 3 – Separate Parts and Sand

Separate all the parts from the boards with a utility knife or hobby saw. Sand off tabs, but wait to final sand section edges until after glue-up. Rub the flat surfaces over a sheet of sandpaper laid on a flat surface to remove any fuzzies that could interfere with glue-up. (fig. 3a, 3b)

fig. 3a Separate the parts from the boards
fig. 3b Sand flat areas to remove fuzzies that could interfere with glue-up. (Final edge sanding will be done after glue-up.)

Arrange the box section order, paying attention to the grain pattern that will show on the outside of the box. Once you decide on a pleasing grain appearance, mark the parts lightly with a pencil to maintain the order during glue-up.

Go ahead and sand the heart/arrow lid completely.

STEP 4 – Assembly

Glue the 3 box sections together (NOT the box bottom). Weigh down or clamp until dry. (fig. 4a, 4b)

fig. 4a Glue the 3 box sections together
fig. 4b Weigh or clamp until dry

After glue is dry, sand the interior of the box smooth to blend the sections. Use a spindle sander to speed up the job. (fig. 4c)

fig. 4c Sand the interior of the box to blend sections

Glue the section assembly to the bottom of the box. Weigh or clamp until dry. (fig. 4d)

fig. 4d Glue the section assembly to the box bottom and allow to dry

Sand the exterior of the box to blend the bottom and section assembly together. Use a small belt sander to speed up the job. (fig. 4e)

fig. 4e Sand the box exterior by hand and/or with a belt sander

STEP 5 – Apply Finish

After final sanding, apply the finish of your choice. Here’s what I used on the sample Cupid Heart Box made from Select Pine: (fig. 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d)

  • Applied one coat thinned Bulls Eye SealCoat
    (50/50 SealCoat and denatured alcohol). Sanded when dry.
  • Applied Rust-Oleum Traditional Cherry stain to the box lid
  • Applied several light coats Krylon Clear Gloss
  • Applied several light coats Krylon Clear Satin overall
  • Sanded arrow and fins very, very lightly with 400-grit sandpaper and painted the fins and arrowhead heart point with a Gold Paint Pen
fig. 5a Applied thinned SealCoat. Sanded when dry.
fig. 5b Applied stain to lid
fig. 5c Applied Krylon clear Gloss, then Satin on all parts
fig. 5d Painted the fins and arrowhead a metallic gold using a Gold Paint Pen

In Conclusion

Apply self-stick bumper pads or cork to the underside to protect surfaces. You may also apply self-stick felt to the bottom of the box, as a finishing touch.

Materials Source Reference

3M Sanding Discs

3M Radial Bristle Discs

  • (stack 3 discs at a time on your rotary tool mandrel)
  • 80-grit (yellow) is what I use exclusively, but other grits are available NOTE: grits finer than 220 are not recommended for wood
  • Purchase from:

Items Purchased at Home Depot™ or Lowes™

  • Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat (same as 100% de-waxed shellac)
  • Denatured Alcohol (Home Depot™ or Lowes™)
  • Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain – Traditional Cherry (Home Depot™ or Lowes™)
  • Self-stick pads or cork sheeting (Home Depot™ or Lowes™)

Items Purchased at Hobby Lobby™ or Michael’s Arts & Crafts™

  • Krylon 18K Gold Paint Pen

I hope you enjoyed making your Cupid Heart Box!
Happy Carving!

Michael Tyler of!

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