Many of our customers enquire about acrylic boxes so we thought we’d use this blog space to discuss how to make them.
Choosing Your Acrylic
The easiest way is to buy acrylic ready cut to the sizes you need for your box.
Cut to Size Acrylic is available in many colours and thicknesses. To make a box you will need to buy 5 pieces 1 x bottom piece, 2 x end pieces and 2 x side pieces. If your box needs to be water proof then you will need to buy acrylic that is at least 1/4-inch thick.
Choosing Your Adhesive
Acrylic can’t be glued together using adhesive. The best way to glue acrylic sheets together is with a chemical solvent called Acrylic Cement.
This process is known as solvent welding. It creates a very strong and secure bond because the acrylic sheets are not glued together, but are welded together instead (the Acrylic Cement actually softens the acrylic so the pieces reform and become one piece).
Because Acrylic Cement is a chemical solvent always take proper precautions and wear gloves and safety goggles when using it. Take care not to spill any of the solvent because it will mar your acrylic. If you do spillÂ it, let it evaporate. Don’t wipe it up.
How To Make The Joins
Check the edges of your acrylic are smooth. The edges need to be as smooth as possible so they can touch which enables the cement to work. If the edges are not smooth gently sand them with a fine grain sandpaper until they are as smooth as possible. Wipe away any dust with a soft cotton cleaning cloth. If you have any gaps between opposite edges, the cement is less effective making your finished structure weak.
Lay the bottom of the box on a flat surface and position one end perpendicular to it. Clamp or tape the acrylic pieces into the positions you would like to glue them into or have somebody hold them – allowing space to apply the Acrylic Cement.
Use a needle-nose applicator bottle to apply the Acrylic Cement to the acrylic pieces. Gently squeeze the Acrylic Cement onto the joint where the two meet being careful to keep the applicator in the joint and against the acrylic. Apply a thin bead along the joint. The Acrylic Cement will not simply adhere the two pieces, but it will actually melt them into one.Acrylic Cement is a self-wicking liquid, so once you run the bead along the seam, the cement will run between the pieces and begin to dissolve the acrylic, forming a strong bond immediately.
Hold the end in place for three to five minutes until the Acrylic Cement has begun to cure. Repeat this process with the other end and both sides. Turn the box on its side, and add a bead of Acrylic Cement to the joints where the sides and ends meet.
Let your acrylic box cure for 24-48 hours before removing the clamps / tape and before using it. If you make an acrylic box we’d love to see a photo – email us here, thanks !
Read more here about how to join acrylic.