How To Make a Shot Glass Display Case: A Guide For Building a Cheap and Effective Display

How To Make a Shot Glass Display Case: A Guide For Building a Cheap and Effective Display

Anybody with the most basic knowledge of and experience with spirits knows about the Shot Glass. A shot glass is distinctly small and is used to measure spirits and either poured into a cocktail shaker, or drank straight from the glass in one swift motion.

The shot glass first showed in the scene in the late 1700s and was known as whiskey tumblers (or whiskey tasters). As time passed by, various types of shot glasses were developed and some even passed down between family generations.

If you have a shot glass collection that you are proud of, what better way to show your collection and/or family heritage to visitors or guests than by displaying them in a display case?

Buying a ready-made shot glass display case is pricey, to say the least. A better option is to make your very own shot glass display case.

If interested, use the following steps to build your own.

(Suggestion: Schedule one full Saturday to building this display case as the process will need short periods of stops to wait for glue and paint or stain used to dry).


 Step 1: Preparations for the Display Case

The supplies needed for this project are as follows:

  1. Some wood – Oak or similar quality wood, but Hardwood is preferable.
  2. A ¼ of an inch Birch Plywood Sheet – Make sure that is measures 20 inches by 30 inches
  3. A polycarbonate or acrylic sheet.
  4. Hinges measuring 1 inch by 1 inch
  5. Magnets – Small and round
  6. Super-glue and Wood glue.

The tools required for shot-glass display case glory are:

  1. Clamps – To hold the wood down
  2. Table saw – To help you resize and shape some pieces of wood
  3. Sander – This will help ensure that splinters and scratches from the display case will not be a problem
  4. Forstner Bit (for the Magnets)
  5. Drill


Step 2: Begin Building the Display Case

Begin building the case by cutting and milling the frame pieces as shown in the drawing below:

  1. Two Sides: 1¼ inches by 28 inches by ½ an inch thick
  2. Top and Bottom: 1¼ inches by 18½ inches by ½ an inch thick
  3. Eight Shelves: 1 inch by 16¼ inches by 1/8th of an inch thick


03 In the top and bottom pieces cut a ½ an inch wide dado ¼ an inch deep and ¾ an inch from the edge. In the side-pieces cut eight 1/8th of an inch by 1/8th of an inch dadoes for the shelves, 3 inches apart. Cut a ¼ an inch rabbet on the insides of top, bottom, and side-pieces. This will help you glue in the plywood back panel.








04After this, assemble the case and make sure that the fit is perfect. When satisfied with the fit, glue the top, bottom and side-pieces together. Allow the glued edges to dry fully before continuing on to the next step.





05Then, cut the plywood to size and fit it into the rear rabbet of the case. Make sure it fits. Glue it in place. Let this piece to also dry.









Insert the shelves into each of the eight grooves. To ensure that the shelves permanently attach to the plywood back panel, make sure you apply glue to the rear edges of each shelf.



You can then sand the front edge of the completed display case to a consistently smooth finish.


Step 3: Time to Build the Door

Begin by preparing the ½ an inch by ¾ an inch wood boards to be used for the door.

Cut a 1/8th of an inch groove on the inside edges of each of the four pieces (two stiles and two rails). A single pass over the table saw blade should be sufficient to make the groove wide enough for the polycarbonate (or acrylic) panel. Be very careful and use a push stick when you do that, as the pieces are quite narrow.


Make half lap joints (as shown in the image below) at each of the corners of the door. Check to see if the acrylic and wood frame fit.


If satisfied with the fit, wooden frame and acrylic panel together to complete the door.

Insider’s Secret: Use a dab of E6000 glue in the grooves for the acrylic or polycarbonate panel and a dab of wood glue in the half lap joints.

Confirm that everything is square, place in a clamp, and let the door dry.


Step 4: The Assembly and Finishing


On the inside of the case, install the hinges. Pre-drill the holes for the hinge screws. Follow this step by lining up, marking, and attaching the door side of the hinge to the actual door (In case you use hinge screws that are longer than the frame’s thickness, you can glue on small wood blocks over the points sticking out on the front to cover them).

Use a matching wood block to serve as a door handle.

Use a Forstner bit to drill shallow holes into the side of the case (the stile) and also into the door frame. These shallow holes will be used as mounts for the small round magnets.



The purpose of the magnets is to ensure that the door remains closed at all times. The magnets should be glued into the shallow holes. Use super-glue for this step.

To give your shot display case a professional and classic look and feel, finish by sanding it then painting or staining the exposed wood to give it a beautiful natural look.


shot glass case

At the end, we should have a nice wooden case to store our shot glasses. The original creator made this shelf to hold lego figurines, but luckily for us, they are about the safe size as shot glasses!

Drink responsibly!

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