Submitted by Linda7 on Fri, 05/29/2015 - 13:39

I built this trunk for my grandson’s high school graduation, and filled it with a lot of things he might need as he begins his life in the U.S. Air Force. Here are a few hints:
• Build the top after you place the moulding around the top of the box so you can measure exactly how long and wide the top needs to be.
• Don’t forget to measure the width of the 1” x 6” boards; if they are not exactly 5 ½”, adjust the length of the vertical boards on the trunk top or it could be slightly too small.
• Because of the extra width the moulding creates around the perimeter of the box, use narrow utility hinges, piano hinges, or Beverly of bzhays used black decorative strap hinges from
• I used black handles from Reliable Hardware Company RH-0540BK-2-A Set of 2 Chest Handle, Black
• For a more finished top on the inside, I filled the holes with wood putty and sanded it smooth, then stained and polyed like the outside of the trunk. The kreg holes are still visible, but not too much.
• Before screwing the box together, I recommend finishing the inside surfaces first; cover the edges that will meet with painter’s tape so the glue will have bonding surfaces.

I love the rustic look most have used in their finishes, but since I used a traditional stained finish, I used the ideas from Justin of jeverette1 who covered the exposed plywood edges with scrap. Since I didn’t have that, I used corner moulding for the corners, and lattice strips to cover the top edges of the box. This gives the trunk a more finished look if you are not going for the rustic/distressed look. I notated below a week-long project - I spend a lot of time in the finishing and do so over several days. Others could certainly finish in a weekend.

I’d like to thank Ana for the wonderful plans, and Whitney of Shanty 2 Chic for the great step-by-steps. Also, a big thank you to Beverly of bzhays and Justin of jeverette1 for responding to me with my questions; you were both so helpful.

Built from Plan(s)
Estimated Cost
$150.00 - I used better pine and stain-grade burch plywood to avoid hours of sanding.
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Finish Used
Stain: Rusteoleum “classic cherry”; one coat and it took every drop of the small can. Finish: Minwax wipe-on poly, one can is enough for several coats. The pictures were taken at night with a flash, so it appears much shinier than it really is, plus the color is off too - not as "orange-ish" as it appears. I also had to paint the sash lock black (couldn't find any in black) and the piano hinge. The decorative tacks were found at Lowe's in the hardware section among the nails and they come in several finishes.
Recommended Skill Level