How to Build a Wooden Box

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Things You'll Need

  • Table saw

  • Fir plywood, 3/4-by-48-by-96 inches

  • Wood glue

  • Clamps

  • Drill/driver

  • 1/8-inch drill bit

  • 3/8-inch countersink drill bit

  • 2-inch screws

  • Two-by-four stud, 48 inches

  • Miter saw

  • 2 1/4-inch screws

  • 3/4-by-3/4-inch piano hinge

  • 1/2-inch screws


The example uses a single sheet of plywood to build a box measuring no more than 24-by-24-by-24 inches. For bigger boxes, use additional plywood. Add hardware as needed for the lid and on both sides that allows you to pick up the box if desired. For boxes exposed to moisture, use exterior-grade plywood. For a more exclusive box, use hardwood plywood. Use laminated hardwood panels to build boxes for hope chests or other high-end furniture-type boxes.


Wear eye protection when working with tools or woodworking equipment.

Dry-fit parts before adding glue.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

You don't need complex joints to build a wooden box. Simple box construction consists of uncomplicated design and materials such as plywood. Plywood works best for larger boxes that are perfect for storage, toys, shipping or work-related duties. Utility boxes made from plywood are sturdy, affordable and accommodate movement and weight without significant weakening. Add corner bracing, and the box becomes even more durable. Build a heavy-duty plywood box in about an hour using ordinary tools.

Step 1

Set the fence on a table saw to the desired height of the box. Cut the 3/4-by-48-by-96-inch sheet of plywood twice, perpendicular to the grain, to produce two identical pieces. Set the fence to the desired length of the box. Cut one of the pieces twice -- parallel with the grain -- to produce the front and back of the box.

Step 2

Set the fence 1 1/2 inches shorter than the desired width of the box. Rip the remaining piece of plywood parallel with the grain twice to produce the sides of the box.

Step 3

Apply glue to the sides of the two smaller pieces. Assemble the four pieces standing up with the shorter pieces sandwiched between the larger pieces, flush on the outside.

Step 4

Place clamps across the box and apply pressure. Drill pilot holes 4 inches apart vertically, through all four corners using a drill/driver and 1/8-inch drill bit. Drill the holes 3/8-inch from the edge to penetrate only through the first piece of plywood. Countersink the holes with a 3/8-inch countersink drill bit.

Step 5

Insert 2-inch screws in the holes. Drive the screws in using a drill/driver. Remove the clamps after one hour.

Step 6

Measure the length and width of the box on the outside. Cut a bottom for the box from the remaining piece of plywood. Apply glue along the outside perimeter of the box. Place the bottom on the box, flushing it on all four sides. Drill pilot holes, countersink and screw the bottom on the box using 2-inch screws. Turn the box upright.

Step 7

Rip a 48-inch-long, two-by-four stud in half lengthwise using the table saw. Measure the depth of the box. Cut four pieces to the measurement using a miter saw using the half-studs. Apply glue to two sides of the four pieces. Place one piece in each corner. Drill pilot holes through the pieces spaced 4 inches apart vertically. Screw them to all four corners on both sides using 2 1/4-inch screws.

Step 8

Measure the top of the box. Cut a lid to the measurement from the remaining plywood. Screw the lid to the box using 3/4-by-3/4-inch piano hinge and 1/2-inch screws.

references & resources

Wade Shaddy

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.