cigar in a box

Nothing beats a good, fresh-tasting cigar, but if you like to keep a nice stockpile at home, then you need a way to store them in order to retain their freshness.

If you’re new to cigar smoking the first real issue you’ll come across is not having a place to store them. Learning how to make a cigar humidor of your own is a very simple fix and it’ll give you a great chance to test your woodworking skills. If you normally keep a small supply on hand, then using a simple humidor will ensure that your premium cigars remain fresh until you’re ready to smoke them.

Pre-made models such as the Mantello 25-50 Cigar Desktop Humidor can be pretty pricey if you’re on a tight budget. So if you have an old box lying around that you can repurpose or if you want to make one from scratch you can easily make a humidor of your own spending around $20 to $30.

How to make a cigar humidor of your own is pretty easy, even if you don’t have the best woodworking skills. If you’re not very handy in the garage, then take an old wood box and repurpose it. You’ll need to buy some Spanish cedar, American cedar, or Honduran mahogany to line the box with. These types of woods do a great job of allowing you to maintain a perfect humidity level in the humidor, which is essential for cigar freshness.

You’ll cut the cedar down to the right sizes and line the lid, bottom, and sides of the box, securing them in place using wood glue. Next, you’ll attach some hinges and a handle, and that’s it. Make sure you leave the box open and allow it to fully dry before you start storing your cigars. This can take approximately twenty-four hours.


Why Spanish Cedar?

If you’re on a tight budget, then you’ll need to shop around and find wood that’s affordable, to use to line the inside of the box.

Most models of humidifiers that you’ll find on the market are lined with Spanish cedar. This is because the wood possesses impressive aromatic properties and also has an excellent reputation for maintaining the right humidity level for cigars. However, there are other wood options that you can also consider.

Wood Options

The best cigar humidor must be able to maintain the right humidity level to prevent your cigars from becoming too moist or drying out. If the cigars are exposed to the wrong level of humidity, then this can result in an unevenly lit cigar and a poor smoking experience. If you smoke only the best cigars, then it makes sense to take your time and use the right materials to build a humidor that will keep your stockpile well protected from light, dust, dirt, debris, high temperatures, and too much moisture in the air.

While there are some models on the market that are made out of glass, acrylic, and a combination of the two, wood is always the best type of material to use when you make a humidor. It protects the cigars from the light and does a much better job of maintaining the right temperatures and humidity level. Unlike glass and acrylic, wood offers an excellent humidity absorption rate. Currently, there are a few different types of wood that you can choose from to line your humidor. This includes:

Spanish Cedar

As I mentioned Spanish cedar is a popular option because it offers an excellent humidity absorption rate. It’s also able to deter insects that can make their way inside your humidor, while also emitting a unique scent most people can appreciate, and one that’s not overwhelming.

American Cedar

If you’re on a tight budget, then American cedar is a more affordable alternative. However, keep in mind that it offers a more pungent odor. It does a great job of effectively maintaining humidity, while also preserving the cigar’s aroma and flavor. However, it doesn’t do quite as good of a job at warding off insects.

Honduran Mahogany

Honduran mahogany is another affordable choice and a good alternative to Spanish cedar if you’re on a tight budget. This type of wood offers a comparable ability to absorb humidity just like Spanish Cedar. However, it doesn’t do as good of a job at preserving cigar flavor and aroma.

Obviously, if you’re serious about keeping your cigars smelling and tasting fresh then you’ll want to invest in some Spanish Cedar. But, if you’re on a very tight budget then these other two types of wood are both great alternatives.

Repurposing a Premade Wood Box


As I mentioned earlier, you can use a prebuilt box such as a wine box made out of wood and build your own humidor. Another option is building a small box by hand. If you don’t have the best woodworking skills then you may want to stick with the first option. Those with some basic woodworking skills can easily create a small compact wooden box to securely store their cigars and keep them tasting and smelling fresh.

If you’re using a premade box you’ll still need to purchase some extra supplies such as a couple of hinges and a handle. You can purchase these at your local hardware store for a few bucks.

Other supplies that you’ll need includes:

  • Spanish cedar to line the box
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Handsaw
  • Hammer and nails

Basic Steps

  • Cutting Spanish Cedar by hand is pretty easy to do if you have a table saw. The largest piece you’ll cut will attach directly to the lid and sink into the box.
  • Next, you’ll take the remaining Cedar and cut them to fit the bottom and sides. You will need to sand them down by hand using 100-grain fine sandpaper.
  • Keep in mind that sanding something by hand can be pretty messy so you’ll want to do this part of the project outdoors. Once the wood has been prepared you can glue each piece to the sides and bottom of the box.
  • The next step is adding the hinges, which is fairly simple. For this step, you’ll use your hammer and nails.
  • Save the handle for last and attach it using a hammer nails or you can screw it in.
  • Give the cedar lining twenty-four hours to dry, leaving the lid open.

And that’s it, you’ve successfully made a humidor. We highly suggest you purchase a hygrometer and humidifier, which will help measure and maintain the proper interior humidity level.

Here are a few recommended accessories that you may want to purchase after you’ve finished building the humidor:

Humidor Starter Kit

Humidor Solution


Cigar Cutter

Cigar Punch          

Related Questions

Can You Make a Humidor Out of a Cigar Box?

Many DIYers will use an old cigar box and turn it into a humidor. However, if you want to do this, then you must ensure that the box you’ll be using is made out of all wood. Next, you’ll need to follow the same steps I’ve included in my guide and line the lid, bottom, and sides with cedar to help maintain the correct humidity level.

How Can You Tell if a Cigar Has Gone Bad?

Typically, a cigar that’s gone bad will be hard to light, which can indicate moisture has made its way inside. If the cigar has dried out, you’ll notice that you can smoke it much faster and that it has a strong, bitter taste to it. Drawing on the cigar and maintaining a burn will be challenging, in which case, you’re better off simply tossing the cigar out.

How Long Can Cigars Last in a Humidor?

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On average, a cigar can remain fresh for approximately four to five years, as long as they have been properly stored and the humidor has maintained the right level of humidity. After this point, you’ll notice that your cigars have started to lose some of their flavor and may begin to taste stale. At this point, you can deal with a lower quality smoke or toss them out and buy more. If a cigar is not stored in a humidor, it can begin drying out or rotting within a week.

How Do You Keep Cigars Fresh Without a Humidor?

If you’re not a big cigar smoker and you only like to keep a couple of cigars around at a time, then you can use a plastic Ziploc bag to store your cigars. Make sure you place a small damp piece of sponge inside the bag to help promote humidity and keep your cigars tasting fresh.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, learning how to make a cigar humidor of your own by repurposing an old box can save you quite a bit of cash, while allowing you to protect your cigars and ensure their freshness. Of course, you can add more features, such as an internal hygrometer, storage spaces to keep the best cigar cutter, or even include stash spots to store a portable ashtray. The options really are endless and will depend on your budget and your skills as a woodworker.


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