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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

How to make a DIY Mitre Box with offcuts of wood

Updated: Jun 10

Get those perfect mitre cuts without spending... well anything actually

Black plastic mitre box with white wooden skirting board placed in it

Mitre saws are great for making angled cuts of wood for your DIY projects but they are often prohibitively expensive for the occasional DIYer, making mitre boxes or blocks a favoured go-to. The problem with some of the inexpensive plastic mitre boxes sold by hardware stores is that they are flimsy and can be shredded by a stray saw blade. They are also quite short, meaning that aren't good for cutting taller pieces of wood ie skirting boards.

Don't panic though, it's a quick and easy job to make your own and the best bit is you can use leftovers and save yourself some money in the process.

You will need

- Offcuts of wood.

- Saw

- Screws

- Wood glue (optional but handy if you have some)

- Pencil

- Clamps or workbench (ideal but not essential)

1. Find the perfect offcuts for a DIY mitre box

an offcut of plywood

The pieces of wood that you choose for your DIY mitre box will depend on the type of work you need a mitre box to do. I have a penchant for tall skirting boards so need a mitre box to be at least 17cm high to allow for the lip at the base of the box (more on that in a minute), but 12cm might be sufficient if you only ever cut shorter pieces.

2. Cut to size

two offcuts of wood side by side

Once you've found your perfect offcuts (Hardwoods are best but the idea is to use whatever you have available.) cut the length down to size, 30cm is about right, but go with whatever you think. You need at least two offcuts to create a functional mitre box, one for a side and one for the base, but you can add a second side to the box with a third offcut if you have one.

3. Join the offcuts

two offcuts of wood joined together

I used screws to join my offcuts for my DIY mitre box, but you could cut and glue or even use nails if they are all you have available. Top Tip: On one side, leave a lip at the base of the mitre box if you have a vice clamp or workbench as this will allow you to secure the mitre box when in use. If you don't have a way to clamp the base of the mitre box when it's finished, don't worry as you can screw it down to another longer offcut instead.

4. Mark and measure the cuts

a metal set square positioned over a piece of wood

a metal set square positioned on a piece of wood clamped in a workbench

To mark the cuts for the DIY mitre box, use a utility knife (if you have one if not just use a pencil) and a set square. Mark the two 45-degree angles and the 90-degree angle along the top of the side piece of wood. You can use a spirit level to draw a straight guide down from the initial cut.

5. Cut the marks for the DIY mitre box

Using a saw, cut down the side of the mitre box following the guides you made with the utility knife or pencil. Take care not to apply overly firm pressure as this can result in a wonky cut! Top Tip: Using a steel-backed saw will make your life easier and the cut more accurate. Although

my steel-backed saw is quite short and the steel part at the top is quite wide, so I had to finish the lower part of the cut with a different saw that would fit in the gap!

A saw cutting through a piece of wood

5. Add screw holes

a tenon saw resting on a DIY mitre box with a tall piece of skirting in it

If you don't have a vice or clamps, then you could drill two holes in the base of the DIY mitre box to be able to screw it down when in use. This obviously only applies if you have a workbench or large piece of wood that you don't mind screw holes in!

6. Test your DIY mitre box

A clamp holding a piece of skirting in a DIY wooden mitre box with a saw cutting through it

Don't forget to test that it actually works! I'd recommend doing an internal and external corner as a trial as this will check that the 45-degree cuts line up.

Read my must-have DIY tools post to find out all the other toolbox essentials I recommend.

Where next?

Here are some woodworking-related posts you might enjoy…

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling, and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page). Why not check out some of my other posts...


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