How to Build a Trunk

How to Build a Trunk. A trunk or chest provides an optimal long-term or short-term storage option whether you build one for yourself or for someone special. A well built trunk lasts for many generations and these steps put you on the path to creating a simple trunk or chest that can easily be customized. Read on to learn how to build a trunk.

Sand, stain or paint your wood prior to putting the trunk together. Use a primer and indoor latex paint if you choose to paint the trunk instead of staining it.

Start by creating a base for the trunk using four pieces of 2-by-2 lumber to create a rectangular frame. Use wood screws to connect the pieces together. Measure more lumber to be the bottom of the trunk and use more wood screws to affix the base to the rectangular frame.

Determine the height of your trunk and measure out the side and front pieces. Then cut or trim the pieces to the appropriate height. Cut out a design or half circle about two inches from the bottom of one or all of the sides.

Mark a line across the width of the inside of the side and front pieces using a straight-edge at the top of your design. This serves as the guideline for where you need to attach the sides of the trunk to the base of the trunk.

Glue the base to the sides at the guidelines. Use clamps to hold the sides of the chest to the base while the glue dries. Attach each side one at a time allowing the glue to dry before attaching the next side or front piece.

Measure and cut a top for the trunk. Attach the lid to the chest by attaching brass hinges to the inside of the lid and the inside of the back side of the trunk. Then line the trunk with cedar lining boards followed by covering the interior with felt.

Add embellishments such as a small key lock on the outside, handles or rolling castors on the bottom at the four corners.


Home improvement stores can cut the wood for you for a fee. If you already know the measurements of each board this is a time saver.

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