How to Make a Vintage Jukebox…

… from paper, cardboard and a bit of foamboard, acetate and copper mesh.

I made this small vintage inspired jukebox for one of my latest projects. I had tremendous fun making it and thought you may want to create your very own.

So get out your scalpel, dust off your circle cutter and sharpen your pencil. The fun is about to begin.

1. Cut out your shapes

Above you can see my 2 side pieces, 1 back board, 1 middle piece (which the record player will sit on) and 1 front piece with the middle cut out (which the speaker will sit behind). I cut all pieces from mountboard, you can also use foamboard or wood, whatever works best for you.

2. Cover all pieces with paper and glue together

Sides: Glue a small piece of clear acetate for the ‘windows’ on the outside of your side pieces. Now cover both side pieces with light blue paper on the outside and light brown paper on the inside. Use a thin strip of brown paper to cover both window frames.

Front: Cover with light blue paper. Use a thin strip of paper to cover the sides of the cut-out area (which the speaker will sit behind).

Middle Piece: Cover the top in light brown paper (no other area will be visible afterwards).

Glue all pieces together. I used PVA which bonds well, but you need to make sure it doesn’t smudge out.

3. Create the speaker

Now it’s time to put the ‘speaker’ in place. I used some copper mesh (bought from my local model shop). I glued it on top of a light brown sheet of paper. If you don’t have copper mesh to hand you could just draw some lines on the paper to indicate the speaker. Glue the ‘speaker’ in place.

4. Make the records

For the records: Cut out a larger circle of dark brown paper and 2 smaller ones from light paper. This is best done with a circle cutter. Glue the smaller circles on both sides of the larger circle. Make sure they are nicely glued in the middle. Use a hole punch to cut out the middle. Add a few lines of text and your record is finished. Now make a few more, to create enough records to fill your holder plus one for the record player. (I needed 9 records altogether.)

5. Create the record holder

It took me 2 attempts to work this out. I thought it may be interesting to share the details with you, so that you too can learn from my mistakes.

Shown above is the first record holder which I created. For this I cut a slit for each record into a piece of foamboard (covered with paper). I used the whole record and slid them into the foamboard. However, I wasn’t really happy with the way they were standing – it just wasn’t neat enough. As they are such a vital part of the machine I decided to find a different way to create this part.

So all you need to do is:

Cut a strip of foamboard and a piece of mountboard in light brown paper. From the mountboard you cut off thin stripes, roughly 1.5mm wide and as long as your piece of foamboard is wide. These will be placed in between each record. To ensure accuracy make sure they all have exactly the same width. Cut the records you created earlier in half and glue between the strips of mountboard.

Stand back and admire your work!… Continue until your record holder is completely filled with records.

6. Make the record player

This is really super simple. All you need is a square piece of mountboard covered with cream paper. Glue a record in the middle of your square with a little space holder underneath – you could use a thick piece of paper for this. Stick a small circle of light brown paper in the middle of the record, where the opening is. For the tone arm (the piece where the needle sits) you just cut a light blue piece of paper and glue it in place (putting a little space holder underneath).

7. Design the title strip holder

Well done, you are more then half way there! The next bit is quite straightforward, it is easiest, if you use a computer drawing program, such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand or Coral Draw.

Depending on the size of your jukebox, it may be best to keep things very simple. I started by using chart hits from the era jukeboxes were mainly built, however, I soon realised that this was too detailed.

If you work on a small scale I suggest to just use ‘big’ numbers in a plain font and indicate the text with a few lines. Print off your design and arrange as indicated in the picture above.

Glue your print onto a piece of mountboard, cut out and neatly glue onto a sheet of pale blue paper.

8. Glue items in place

The record holder gets glued onto the back of your machine. The title strip is glued at an angle underneath and the record player is placed in the space underneath.

9. Cover the front and top of your jukebox

Nearly there! Just cover the front and top of your jukebox with some mountboard and cover with pale blue paper. For the front of the machine I used 2 strips of mountboard. One to glue onto the front of the machine (where the little oval logo sits) and one above this (where the buttons will be). See also picture below.

10. Add knobs and buttons

Just a bit more decorating fun and you are done!

First I created the buttons as shown above. However, I felt that too much detail in the button area was distracting from the title strips. And I thought my little machine could do with a bit more colour. So I recommend the following:

Sides and top: Cover some thick cardboard with cream paper and glue in place. Create the shapes as shown in the pictures above and below. Add a little triangle of pink paper to both sides. Cut out 1 circle in cream paper, 1 slightly smaller one in pale blue paper, 1 small hoop in pink paper and a little star in light brown paper. Glue together as shown below, cut off a bit if necessary, and glue in place.

Front: Cover with a sheet of clear acetate. Glue strips of pale blue paper on the top and both sides, hiding the white mountboard edges underneath.

Buttons: Cut 2 pieces of pink paper as shown in the picture and glue in place. With a hole puncher create 3 different sizes of buttons, you need 2 each. Glue in place.

Stand back and give yourself a big pat on the back! (I think I might even have had a celebratory slice of cake.)

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How Things Work

Here is something for the seriously curious and handmade enthusiasts. The splendid Those Who Make blog shows ‘A carefully curated collection of videos + interviews of Those Who Make’. And they make everything! You basically visit artists and mainly small companies at their place of work and watch them create things, without ever leaving your arm chair. It’s been my personal viewing pleasure for the last few evenings. My highlights so far are:

Hess Surfboards (I didn’t even know that those kind of boards exist, did you?)

The birth of a Book | Smith-Settle Printers (Obviously, just sooo beautiful.)

Porcelain by Sue Paraskeva (I also love the cinematography, it’s just wonderful to watch.)

I hope you enjoy them too! Please let me know if you find something I shouldn’t miss.

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1. You can buy the most amazing books.

Plain and Ornamental Lettering, 1921 by E.G. Fooks

If you too are quite fond of the tactile quality of a good old-fashioned book, Hay-on-Wye is your place to go. It’s a small market town and located on the English Welsh border. And it has not just the typical charm of a small British town (clock tower, cafes, wool shops, lovely old houses) but it also has around 1 million second hand book shops. … Ok. ok. that’s slightly exaggerated, it’s ‘only’ 28 in actual fact, but most of them are huge and have books of nearly every topic under the sun.

2. You can go to the Hay festival.

£3 for ‘100 Easy-To-Make Toys, Games and Models’

Paper Sculptures by Tadeusz Lipski, 1947

Every year there is a huge literature festival that is a must for everybody not just interested in books, but also politics and music. This year the hilarious Tim Minchin was performing (sadly we had to give it a miss, as baby J is still too small for evening outings), I attended a great Women in Business Forum and Mr P went to a talk by the former canceller Alistair Darling. In between plenty of reading, listening, strawberries and picnics on the green festival lawn.

3. You have something to read (or do) for the rest of the year.

Insight into the Home-Made Toys book

Yes, you can not just carry your books home by the ship load (last time we had 50 books between the 2 of us), but also enjoy them for the rest of the year (or as in our case years to come). Just get this cup of tea, hunt for the biscuit tin and cuddle up on the sofa.

4. You can get your books signed.

The new pride of my bookshelf…

… that also contains the stunning design of the new London bus.

So once you shooed the dog from the settee and made yourself comfortable, the signature in the front of the book will remind you for the splendid talk you attended. I had the great pleasure to hear designer Thomas Heatherwick speak about his work and even manged to get hold of a copy of his most sought after book ‘Making’, with which I happily joined the signing queue.

5. You will have a great holiday destination in years to come.

Pen & Brush Lettering And Practical Alphabets, 1944

Well, yes, it will be difficult not to get hooked on Hay. Once you’ve been there, you will most likely feel the strong urge to return to books, green hills, sheep and more books. Just remember to tie up your accommodation (in the best case) months in advance, if you like to go during the festival time. Otherwise camping may be the only (often slightly chilly) alternative.

I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing you there.

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