How to: Hack an Old Cigar Box Into a Vintage-Inspired DIY Charging Station

DIY charging station

I got this idea soon after some friends visited and forgot their charger cords for their phones. Since I had my own to use overnight, we had to fish around for other solutions. One day, in my shop I was reflecting on this dilemma when I remembered there were these new USB wall sockets that would be perfect to turn into a portable DIY charging station whenever I need it. I wasn't going to rewire up my house, but I thought it'd be awesome to have a portable gadget charger that I could bust out when needed. And it sure looks a whole lot better than a surge protector and a rat's nest of cables going every which way. 

Here's what you'll need to make a DIY Charging Station

  • A USB wall outlet with matching face plate

  • Old Cigar box that's deep enough to hold a gang box
  • 1 Gang blue electrical box
  • 4-6 feet of cloth-covered cord
  • Male plug adapter
  • box cutter
  • electrical tape
  • Wire strippers or pliers
  • 4 – #40 1/2″ bolt and nuts
  • 5/8″ spade or Forstner bit and drill

Start by marking out the hole you'll need to cut for the outlet. I laid down the faceplate and traced the inside.

tracing a hole on a cigar box for a DIY charging station

Next, cut the hole open. Because the box was thin enough wood I was able to score and cut it with a box cutter.

DIY charging station

Once you'd cut the hole to fit the outlet snuggly, we can wire up the outlet into the gang box. I purchased several feet of vintage-style cloth-wrapped wire. Websites like Sundialwire.com sell it by the foot.

 

DIY charging station

Run the wire through the back of the box. Then, strip back the outer cloth layer as well as the tri-color wires with wire strippers.

DIY charging station

Hack and old cigar box into a vintage charging station

Now you can match up the white, black and green wires as indicated on the outlet or in the instructions inside the outlet packaging. Once you've wired it all up, screw the outlet into the gang box.

DIY charging station

Set the box and outlet into the hole on the inside of the box. Using a drill bit of sharp point, mark the 4 mounting holes on the blue box, drill holes through so it will accept mounting nuts and bolts.

Hack and old cigar box into a vintage charging station

DIY charging station

Hack and old cigar box into a vintage charging station

Next, drill a hole on the side of the DIY charging station box and fish through your wiring. The hole needs to be rather large to allow you to stuff the wiring back into the box when you're not using it.

Hack and old cigar box into a vintage charging station

DIY charging station

Once you've done that, attach the plug on the end of the wire. Follow the same directions on the package, matching the wires to the proper terminals. When you cut the rayon wrapping, you'll need to tape it off with electrical tape to keep it from unraveling. 

Hack and old cigar box into a vintage charging station

Finally, we'll put the faceplate over the outlet on the lid of the DIY charging station. If you like the look of the bolts on the lid, you certainly don't have to cover them with the faceplate.

Set the faceplate over the outlet, mark, drill and fasten the mounting screws into place.  

DIY charging station

There you have it! No more fussing about not having an extra charger for your phone or computer or both at the same time! And a DIY charging station makes a great addition to your guest room. 

There you have it! No more fussing about not having an extra charger for your phone or computer or both at the same time!