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How to make a wooden dome top for a chest

Updated February 21, 2017

The word "chest" often refers to any wooden box used for storage, usually with a top-mounted and hinged lid. A lot of them have rounded or semi-circular dome tops. If you have built the bottom of one of these for a toy chest or for bedding storage, you may want to give it that rustic-looking top. There's a simple way to build it.

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  1. Cut the wooden strips to match the length of your wooden chest. Cut enough of these slats to cover the top of your chest and extra slats to cover about one-quarter of the top.

  2. Place all of the slats side-by-side, parallel to each other. Tape the pieces together using packing tape. Place loops of tape a few centimetres from the left and right ends of the slats. You should have a unit you can bend and pick up.

  3. Cut the first and last slat on the panel to a 45-degree angle.

  4. Hold the panel made of slats over the top of your chest. Bend the slat panel so it forms a dome on top of your chest. If your top is too high or too low, add or remove some extra slats. Put a piece of tape across the bottom of this dome to hold it in place. The tape across the bottom should just attach to the first and last slat.

  5. Measure the width of your chest. Mark that width on the bottom-left of your 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) wood. Measure and mark 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) up the left side. Extend these marks to form a rectangle 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) by the width of your chest.

  6. Hold the curved slat panel so it touches the upper corners on your rectangle. Trace the inside if the slat panel onto your piece of wood. Rotate the wood 180-degrees and repeat this and the previous step to make a second side panel.

  7. Cut out the pieces of wood that make up the side panels.

  8. Measure the length of the chest again, and subtract 2.5 cm (1 inch) from that number. Measure and mark the minus 2.5 cm (1 inch) length onto the bottom-left of a piece of the 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) piece of wood. Measure 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inch) from the bottom-left corner. Extend the lines again to make another rectangle. Repeat to make a second piece.

  9. Cut out the side pieces. These become the front and back of the chest lid.

  10. Glue and screw the two side pieces and the front and back pieces together to form a rectangle. This should fit over the top of the chest with a flat bottom. Leave the piece to dry overnight.

  11. Spread glue along the top of the curved pieces on the lid.

  12. Remove the tape from the slat panel, and place all of the slats on the lid. Start with the 45-degree cut pieces. Place the slats over the lid and glue them down. Place tape over the lid to keep the slats in place.

  13. Sand the lid smooth.

  14. Tip

    Finish or paint the lid to match the chest at the bottom and give it a completed look. If you are painting it for a child's bedroom, giving it a pirate theme matches well with the style of chest.

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Things You'll Need

  • 3.25 by 20 mm (1/8 by 3/4 inch) wood strips
  • Packing tape
  • Jigsaw
  • 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) wood panel
  • Marker
  • Screws and drill
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or finish

About the Author

Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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