Make a Crankie Box

This is Louis Leger. Special thanks to Louis and to Dejah Leger for sharing the crankie diagrams and photos.


These crankie box directions come from Louis Leger, better known around Seattle as Lulu because that is what his young granddaughters call him, so it stuck!

Louis performs crankies with his daughter-in-law Dejah Leger.  You will see Dejah's papercut crankies throughout the "Watch a Crankie" section of this website.  They both perform in their family band La Famille Leger.

This basic design and dimensions were taken from the crankie box used by Anna and Elizabeth   Thank you to Anna Roberts Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle  for sharing their information and helping us get started - we are passing it forward!

These are not step-by-step instructions, but this should give you a basic idea of how to make the box.


  • Two pieces of wood 26" X 10" (this is for the top and bottom)
  • Two pieces of wood 22" X 10" (this is for the sides)
  • One piece of wood 3 1/2" X 26" (this goes across the front of the box to brace/strengthen the structure)
  • Two 1/2" diameter dowel rods 22" long (these are leader dowels or tension rods and they keep the scroll near the front window)
  • Two 1" diameter dowel rods 2' long (these are for the spindle part of the cranks)
  • Two 2" X 4"  pieces of wood  (which connect the spindle and the crank knob)
  • Two crank knobs (you can purchase at the hardware store or make your own, see examples below)
  • One suitcase or drawer handle (optional)
This is a view from the top.
This is a view from the back. Drill a 1/2" holes in the top and bottom boards, insert the leader dowels through the holes.
To attach the crank handle to the spindle . . . don't glue the handle (half moon shaped hole) onto the dowel.
Another close up of the locking mechanism.
Here is the box loaded with the scroll. Louis also added a light fixture to illuminate the box. Or you can use a clamp light, available at any hardware store.
Another view from the front. You can see the stationary "leader dowel" in front the the 1" cranking dowel behind.
This is details of Katherine Fahey's crankie box. You can see that she used a ceramic knob in the crank handle.

Unusual Crankie Boxes

This gorgeous crankie box was made by Katherine Fahey.

Feeling adventurous?  Check out the Gallery of Unusual Boxes.

This page created in 2012 - updated 2019. Sue Truman❤