How to Build a Treasure Chest Out of Wood


Whether you want to make a toy box for your children, an accessory for a costume, a candy box for Halloween Trick-or-treating, or a decorative prop for a scavenger hunt or live action role playing, a pirate's chest is an easy and fun project to construct. All you need are common woodworking tools and some scrap lumber. If you can make a simple box from wood, you can make a pirate's treasure chest.

Step 1

Cut your wood into two side pieces, two end pieces, a bottom, two lid sides and lid strips. Use a circular saw to cut out all parts except the lid. For the lid, use a jig saw. For a chest that is 2 feet wide and 14 inches tall, make the front and back pieces 10 inches tall by 21 and ¾ inches wide. Your side pieces will measure 10 inches tall by 12 ½ inches wide. Your base piece will be 15 ½ inches wide by 25 inches long. Your two lid sides will be cut in half-circle arches that are 15 ½ inches wide. Bring the sides straight up for 1 ½ inches. Then trace the curved edge of the lid's side with a half-gallon paint can before cutting. Finally, cut approximately 15 slats into 3/4 inch wide pieces that measure 25 inches long.

Step 2

Use your wood bevel to mark the fingers of dovetail joints in the ends of the side and back pieces of the wood. Cut the dovetail joints out using the tendon saw. Then glue the ends and clamp them together. Nail the box to the bottom, and glue all seams.

Step 3

Bevel one edge of your lid slats using the wood bevel. This will make each slat in the lid fit together seamlessly. Lay each slat against the two ends and glue them to one another and the ends. Hold each slat in place until the glue dries. Allow each slat to dry completely before gluing the next one. Once your lid is assembled, reinforce the joints by nailing the slats into the lid sides. Cut the ends of the slats so that they are flush with the sides using the jig saw.

Step 4

Sand the box completely, inside and out. Then stain the box for a finished look.

Step 5

Attach the lid to the box with the two hinges. Attach one end of the chain to the lid and the other end to the box to prevent the chest lid from falling against the back of the box. Attach drawer pulls to the side of the box to create carry handles. Attach the hasp to the front of the treasure chest.

Tips and Warnings

  • When working with wood, it is a good idea to wear safety equipment such as gloves, safety goggles and protective clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • ¼-inch thick wood (pine, oak, cherry or cedar)
  • Jig saw
  • Circular saw
  • Hasp
  • 1 gallon paint can
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Block plane
  • Wood bevel
  • Tendon saw
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Hammer
  • Wood nails
  • Carpenter's wood glue
  • Two drawer pulls
  • Two hinges
  • Length of chain


  • Rod's Woodworking Shop - Free Toy Box Treasure Chest Plans
  • Use Box Joints
  • Free Pirate Treasure Chest Plans

Who Can Help

  • Pirate's Treasure Chest
Keywords: wood working, treasure chest, pirate's chest

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Build a Treasure Chest Out of Wood