Introduction: Cardboard Props: How to Make a Pirate Treasure Chest

About: I'm an un-repentant mess creator... I'll turn my hand to anything and providing i get my fingers back... I'm happy.

So, this year saw me making another Treasure Chest for the Gangshow... And this is a how to for it...

I have made a few of these over the years, and if i had the space and utensils, I would make it out of wood, as the construction would be the same.... for the curved top I would probably use some flexi ply or similar...

Anyway for your viewing delight, a cardboard treasure chest.... and an amusing picture of me as a pirate just because its fun and semi-relevant! ( I also made that costume and hat too!)

Step 1: Ahoy Thar Ingredients Off the Starboard Cap'in

So what am I going to need?
  • Cardboard
  • Glue gun
  • Ruler
  • Knife or Scissors
  • PVA Glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Pen/ Pencil
  • Paint brushes
  • Duct tape
  • Paint
  • Perseverance
  • Patience... I don't have very much of this... so i made sure I completed it quickly ;)

Step 2: I Don't Like the Cut of 'is Jib! Measure Him Up!

Right I have tried to draw  the box sections to a sort of scale... you can see what measurements need to correspond with their partner pieces... so for example... the red edges need to be the same length as each other etc...

So you should end up with 7 pieces 5 of which should be rectangles, and two should be half cut circles....

For the lid covering, you will need to make sure that the card that wraps around your lid sections is as wide as your front and back sections, I just had no way of drawing this.

to make the lid sections, I drew around a rounded object to get a uniform curvature

when you are satisfied with your measurements, it's time to cut out your pieces.

Step 3: Lift the Hatches Boys!

I discussed in the ingredients step that I used a very thin roll of cardboard to get the rounded lid... Now, you could use ordinary card, but you would have to pre bend it first so that it can be glued to the edges to your lid sides.

I found that it was best to glue the rounded sections before i cut the roof covering to size, as you will need a few inches to form a hinge between the two sections (the lid and the box base)

Start with one edge of the cardboard roll, and match it to one corner of your lid edge. Glue along the interior  seam of the two edges. when you have glued along the length of the curved edge leave 2inches or so to use as a hinge

When you have glued one side, start on the other... you *SHOULD* by now have a domed roof shape

Step 4: Supports

I added some supports to the roof, and to the sides, just because I know my box will during the show inevitably get battered about a bit.

Step 5: Hull

You need to first create the box shaped rectangle that forms the bottom of the treasure chest... you must glue the sides to the bottom... It's not hard... I'm not going to tell you how to make a box... I'm sure you can work it out

Step 6: Tar N' Feather That Beauty!

More glue needed here... right, now I find that before you attach the lid to the base, you need to think about your rough edges... I applied a little tissue paper to the visible edges so that when I painted the chest you couldn't see the corrugated wibbly line

It is also now time to glue your lid to your base... you can see what I have done in the pictures below... but using that 2" flap that you left on your lid you can now attach it to the base, if like me and you decide to attach it to the interior, you will need to trim the flap down slightly so that it fits inside... Hold your glued lid in place with some duct tape and leave over night if possible to dry.

Step 7: Batton Down the Hatches !

I decided to add some banding to my box, if only to give it a bit of stability... I used the same corrugated card as that, that I made the lid out of. I cut one edge to look like a V shape to which I glued over the roof section.... I then via a little giggery pokery made a latch which I glued to the front part of the base...

The banding goes around the top part of the lid, down the back edge... then up the front (not on the base)

Step 8: Swab the Decks!

Once everything is dried, It is time to start painting ... I did two coats of poster paint, one of burnt sienna and then one of brown. Then I painted the banding black. Don't worry TOO much about the edges... we'll pretty them up in a moment

If you wish paint the inside, I would do it either brown or black... it's your choice.

Step 9: Bootify the Hull!

When the paint is dry I went round the edges of the banding with a black market pen just to neaten them up.

I also drew a seam where the lid would attach to the base along the back edge.

Using a wide ruler I drew the planking around the sides too... If I had more time or the artistic flair I would have added wood  grain

Step 10: Yar Thar Be a Pirate Treasure Chest Me Harties!

Well that's that, I have noticed that there are a lot of Cardboard projects at the moment... some good, some that need a little improvement ... I hope my props fall into the 'good' category..
But anyway that decision is up to you.

Cheerio Chaps


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