NASA Tool Chest




For a while now, I have wanted to build my own tool chest, but I wasn't happy with just a plain old box. I decided that I would make my tool chest in the style of a NASA tool kit, adding stickers, labels and weathering to make it look more rugged and realistic.


Step 1: The Parts

The entire chest has inner dimensions of 300mm x 400mm x 100mm. I marked the required sizes out on various pieces of 18mm plywood that I had lying around my shop. This project turned out to be a great way to use up scraps!

I cut all of the pieces out using my jigsaw, and sanded to achieve a nice finish.

Step 2: Assembly

I wanted this box to be able to take some abuse (I'd like it to be usable in space!) As such, I used glue and screws to secure the entire body together. The holes were countersunk so that the head of the screws would sit below the surface of the wood and not scratch up any tables, flooring etc.

Step 3: Hiding the Seams

To make the paint application a little smoother, I used wood filler on all of the joints to make the transition between sides a little less harsh.

Step 4: Lidded Box and Sanding

I wanted to make sure that everything would line up correctly once it was all assembled. To achieve this, I attached the lid using two zinc plated hinges. With this attached, I could sand the filler smooth, in preparation for painting.

Step 5: Paint!

I masked off the hinges of the box and then used two coats of white matte paint to cover the entire box. I did not paint the inside as I wanted to paint it red in a later step.

Step 6: Divide and Conquer!

I wanted to separate my sanding block and sandpaper from the rest of my tools, so I attached a small spacer piece using CA glue. I intend to make other tool holders in the future, as that mess just won't do! With the shelf installed, I painted the inside of the box neon red.

Step 7: Stickers and Weathering

With the box now usable, it was time to add some character. I printed out a number of NASA themed stickers, and attached them to the box. I also cut out a small stencil of the word "maintenance" and sprayed it on with black spray paint. It didn't turn out perfect, but that just makes it feel more "real" to me.

Using some paints, I mixed up the colours required to make the box look dirty and aged. I applied this paint with a dry brush and then wiped it off as best I could. This really brought the box to life and I intend to have another instructable on weathering very soon!

Step 8: Done! (Well, Nearly)

With that the box is done! All I have left to do is to add some latches, which are currently on their way from China!

I am so happy with how this turned out, it is even better than I imagined it would be! I hope you enjoyed!


Space Contest 2016

Participated in the
Space Contest 2016



    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest
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      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest

    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Nice! I have a similar build in the space contest; The NASA Utility cart! Good luck to you!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks Dustin! I really enjoyed your cart video, as well as all your project videos! Best of luck to you as well!


    2 years ago

    very nice work.
    I saw an episode of tested where Adam Savage made a similar box to house a microscope. He has some really good distressing techniques in that video if you want to check it out.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! That was a huge inspiration to me, and he actually retweeted my tweet about it!