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How to Build Wooden Stage Boxes

Updated February 21, 2017

When putting on a play, it is important to give your actors different levels to act on. Not only does this provide a different playing levels for your audience to look at, it will give your actors new areas to use creatively. The problem many theatres have with adding new stand pieces is where to store them. Luckily, you can build collapsible boxes which you can place almost anywhere and then put together when the production begins.

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  1. Place a piece of 1-foot-by-2-foot 3/4-inch plywood on a building surface so it is lying flat. Measure 3 inches toward the centre on one of the 2-foot sides and make a mark. Measure 2 inches down from that mark and make a second mark. Connect this mark by drawing a "U" shape which goes from one toward the centre of the board 3 inches and then loops back to the second mark. Repeat this for all four pieces of 1-foot-by-2-foot plywood.

  2. Cut out the "U" shapes you drew with the jigsaw. These will be the handles for the boxes.

  3. Place the pieces of 2-foot-by-2-foot plywood on the building surface. Measure 2 inches along opposite edges from the top and the bottom and make a mark. Place hinges at these locations (there will be four) and screw them to the board using 1/2 inch wood screws. The hinges should swing toward the centre of the board. Repeat this for the other 2-foot-by-2-foot board.

  4. Attach one piece of the 1-foot-by-2-foot plywood to the hinges on both sides of the 2-foot-by-2-foot boards so the "U" cut out is on the opposite side of the hinges. The two pieces of 1-foot-by-2-foot plywood should collapse toward the centre of the 2-foot-by-2-foot board. Attach all four pieces of the 1-foot-by-2-foot plywood to the 2-foot-by-2-foot boards. These pieces are the four sides to the box.

  5. Make a mark just above the "U" shape and 1 inch from the bottom on two of the 1-by-2-foot boards attached to one of the 2-by-2-foot boards. Place hinges at these locations and attach them with the 1/2 inch wood screws. The hinges should swing toward the centre of the 1-by-2-foot boards.

  6. Attach the other pieces of 1-by-2-foot plywood to the hinges to connect the sides of the box together. You will now have four sides which, when fully extended, make a 2-by-2-foot box. The hinged sides will collapse for easy storage.

  7. Place the remaining piece of 3/4-inch plywood on the building surface. Measure in 3/4 inch from opposite sides and make a mark. Place the pieces of 1-by-1 at these marks centred on the board. The 1-by-1s should be parallel. Attach them to the piece of plywood by driving 1-inch wood screws through the plywood into the sides of the 1-by-1. This is the box top. Place the top on the box sides.

  8. Tip

    Sand down the edges and paint the boxes to match your stage scenery. You can continually paint the boxes so they will always match what you are doing.


    Don't forget to add the bracing to the box tops. This keeps the boxes from folding in on themselves if someone is standing on them.

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Things You'll Need

  • Three pieces of 3/4-inch plywood, 2 foot by 2 foot
  • Four pieces of 3/4-inch plywood, 2 foot by 1 foot
  • Two pieces of 1-by-1-inch board, 22 1/2 inches
  • Jigsaw
  • 12 butterfly hinges
  • 1/2-inch wood screws
  • 1-inch wood screws
  • Drill with screwdriver bit

About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.

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