How to Build Your Own Wood Banks

money box image by diter from

Things You'll Need

  • 5-by-6-by-1/2-inch poplar, 2 pieces
  • Combination square
  • Variable speed drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 7-inch straightedge
  • Scroll saw
  • 1 1/4-inch paddle bit
  • 3-by-5-by-1/2-inch poplar, 4 pieces
  • Wood glue
  • 4 large C-clamps
  • Damp cloth
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • 1 1/4-inch rubber grommet

Making a bank from wood is a project for do-it-yourselfers who might like to share the experience with their children. A scroll saw is the best tool to use with these types of projects because it can make intricate cuts that band saws or jigsaws cannot. Choose a wood that is easy to work with such as poplar, which is soft and easy to sand. The flexibility makes it handy to correct mistakes, and poplar paints well and looks good with stain and varnish. As for design, it is good to start with a simple plan such as a rectangular wood bank.

Place one of the pieces of 5-by-6-by-1/2-inch poplar flat on a work table. This is the top of the bank. Measure from the beginning of one 6-inch side and make a mark at 2 1/2-inches. Place the combination square on the mark, and draw a faint line across the wood from one 5-inch side to the other. This will be where you will cut the coin slot.

Drill holes that mark the length of the coin slot. To do that, measure from a 5-inch side and make marks on the previously drawn line at 1 3/4 and 3 1/4-inches. Drill a hole on the marks and center it on the line with the 1/4-inch drill bit.

Put a straightedge on the edges of the holes and draw lines connecting the two holes. The space between the lines should be 1/4-inch. Slip the scroll saw blade through one of the holes and cut out the coin slot.

Place the other 5-by-6-by-1/2-inch poplar flat on the work table. Lay the straightedge diagonally from corner to corner and draw a faint line. Repeat this with the other corners. Where the lines intersect marks the center of the wood.

Drill a 1 1/4-inch hole in the intersection with the paddle bit. This is the hole for emptying the bank.

Apply glue to both ends of two of the 3-by-5-by-1/2-inch poplar. Place them on either end of the other 3-by-5-by-1/2-poplar to form a 5-by-6-inch box. Clamp the pieces together with two large C-clamps. Clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.

Secure the top and bottom to the sides. Remove the clamps once the glue is dried. Run a bead of glue on the top and bottom edges of the box. Place the top and bottom pieces on the box. Clamp them together using one clamp per side. Remove the clamps once the glue is dried.

Sand the bank with 100-grit sandpaper. Insert the 1 1/4-inch rubber grommet into the hole in the bottom of the bank.


  • Stencil a child’s name or artwork on the bank before applying a finish.


  • Do not leave the scroll saw unattended in the presence of children.