Tri-Leaf Trinket Box!

The Tri-Leaf Trinket Box makes an outstanding gift or an item to keep for yourself!

It’s a convenient receptacle for small collectibles, your most treasured “memory box” trinkets, or for use as a personal jewelry box or for vanity accessories such as clippers, eyelash curlers, hair bands, tweezers and the like!

The carved box lid has a gracefully wrapped leaf design with a decorative “whirl” center. The box interior features three separate sections of different depths (you can edit the MPC file to alter the depths, if you wish).

The project uses just the 1/16″ Carving Bit and the 1/8″ Cutting Bit. No other bits are required.

Overall dimensions are about: 8″ round x 3″ tall

Main items you will need:

1) The Project Files (included):
• Bottom_and_Top.mpc
• Divider_Sections.mpc

2) Boards with the following dimensions:
• Bottom and Top: 0.75 ” x 9 ” x 24 “
• Divider Sections: 0.75 ” x 9 ” x 24 “

NOTE: Do not use boards that are smaller than specified above unless using an appropriate jig.

3) Knob of your choice, 0.25″ diameter dowel, self-stick silicon or cork pads for the box underside. OPTIONAL: Self-stick felt for the bottom of the interior sections.

4) Sandpaper, drill, wood 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.

STEP 1- Upload Project File(s)

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 “Normal” or “Best” for the File Quality carve setting. (I used “BEST”.)

Click “OK” and upload the mpc project file(s) to your memory card. Insert the card into your machine and load a board that measures the appropriate dimension specified for the particular mpc (see page 1 for board dimensions). Turn on your machine and proceed with the project setup in Step 2…

STEP 2 – Running the MPC File(s)

You will see “Project Menu” on your LCD display. Press “1” and scroll to Bottom_and_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) NO
    • 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″ Carving – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
  • Load Bit: 1/8″ Cutting -Insert your 1/8″ cutting bit, then press the green ENTER button. (homes, etc.)
  • Select Drill Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Just press ENTER (the bit is already installed).
  • Select Cutting Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Just press ENTER (the bit is already installed).
  • 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, drills, and cutouts.

Remove the board and proceed to run the Divider_Sections.mpc using same procedure as above. No Carving Bit will be requested for this mpc – the prompts will simply ask for the “1/8 Cutting Bit” for the drill and cutout procedures.

Project Carving

STEP 3 – Separate Parts from Material

Separate all the parts from the boards. Sand off tabs and fuzzies that could interfere with glue-up. Mark section order and orientation, if desired. (fig. 3a, 3b)

fig. 3a Sand flat areas to remove fuzzies that could interfere with glue-up. (Final edge sanding will be done after glue-up.)
fig. 3b Optional: Mark the box section order and orientation with a pencil after arranging a grain pattern you like.

STEP 4 – Assembly and Sanding

Glue the two box divider sections together. Clamp or weigh down until dry. (fig. 4a, 4b)

fig. 4a Glue the two box divider sections together. Use a scrap dowel to help align the parts (but don’t glue it in!)
fig. 4b Clamp or weigh down until dry

After glue is dry, sand the interior of the divider assembly to remove tabs and blend the two sections. Use a rotary tool and/or a spindle sander with a 0.5 dia. sanding drum to speed up the job. Keep in mind the dividers will need to match-up to the base section, so don’t sand off too much material. (fig. 4c, 4d)

fig. 4c
fig. 4d

After sanding, glue the divider assembly to the box base. Weigh down or clamp until dry. (fig. 4e, 4f)

fig. 4e
fig. 4f

When dry, sand the box exterior and interior to smooth and blend the sections overall. (fig. 4g, 4h)

fig. 4g Hand sand the interior of the box exterior to blend the divider sections to the base.
fig. 4h A small belt sander makes the exterior sanding go quickly

Sand the lid carving and outer edge. (fig. 4i)

fig. 4i Sand the lid overall

Round and taper one end of a 0.25 ” diameter dowel to form the “lid pin”. I used a pencil sharpener and hand sanding. (fig. 4j)

fig. 4j Make the lid pin from a wooden dowel

Cut out the dowel to a 1.25 ” length. Glue the dowel into the lid hole flush with the top and the tapered end protruding through the lid’s underside. (fig. 4k)

fig. 4k Glue dowel pin into lid

When dry, use an awl and/or small drill bit to create a pilot hole for a screw-in type knob like I used. Otherwise, if using say, a wooden knob, just glue the knob to the top. (fig. 4l)

fig. 4l

STEP 5 – Apply Finish

  • Apply the finish of your choice. Here’s what I used on the sample Tri-Leaf Trinket Box made from Select Pine: (fig. 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d)
  • Applied one coat thinned Bulls Eye SealCoat overall. (50/50 denatured alcohol and SealCoat). Sanded when dry.
  • Applied Rust-Oleum Wheat Stain to exterior surfaces
  • Applied several light coats Krylon Clear spray (Gloss to build finish, then Satin as final coats)
  • Installed Knob when finish was dry
fig. 5a Applied thinned SealCoat. Sanded when dry.
fig. 5b Applied stain to exterior surfaces, leaving interior natural
fig. 5c Applied several light coats of Krylon clear GLOSS then applied SATIN as final coat.
fig. 5d Installed the screw-in brass knob


Apply self-stick bumper pads or cork to the underside of the box to protect surfaces. I included a pattern (page 6) for cutting out self-stick felt to line the interior of the box section bottoms, if desired (I left mine natural wood).

Materials Source Reference

If you wish to felt line the inside of the box, a pattern is included in the instructions. (fig.6a)

fig. 6a

3M Radial Bristle Discs

3M Sanding 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™)
  • Wood Stain
  • Krylon Clear Spray
  • 0.5 ” x 5.5 ” x 24 ” Clear Pine craft boards

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

  • Self-stick felt (optional)
  • Small Brass Knob (I used a Brainerd model #904XC)
An alternate choice for a knob, is to use a wooden ball with a flat surface on one end (often called dollheads)/

I hope you enjoyed making your Tr-Leaf Trinket Box!
Happy Carving!

Michael Tyler of!

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