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How to make a large cardboard treasure chest

Updated April 17, 2017

Treasure chests often conjure up images of priceless coins or stolen bounty taken by some dreaded pirate. You can re-create this feeling of adventure by making your own treasure chest filled with your own treasures. Make one of these large treasure chests to use for a pirate-themed party. Fill it with gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins, beaded necklaces and stuffed parrots for the ultimate prize after a treasure hunt. You can also construct a large treasure chest for your child to use as her personal treasure trove.

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  1. Remove the lid of a 36-by-36-by-24-inch heavy-duty cardboard box. Place a 36-by-42-inch sheet of single-ply cardboard over the top of the lid; the cardboard sheet will overlap the box lid on two parallel sides.

  2. Take the two sides of the top sheet of cardboard that are overhanging. Position one of the sides flush with the corresponding side of the box lid. Tape the sheet of cardboard to the box lid using a 12-inch-long strip of masking tape so that the sheet of cardboard is standing upright and perpendicular to the box lid.

  3. Bend the sheet of cardboard over so that the opposite side to the taped side is flush against the opposite side of the box lid to create an arching shape over the top of the lid. Use a 12-inch-long piece of masking tape to attach the cardboard sheet to the box lid.

  4. Squish 12 plastic shopping bags into balls. Stuff the balls underneath the arched cardboard sheet by inserting them in one of the open ends to give the top of the treasure chest lid support.

  5. Cut the front and back panels out of an empty cereal box. Place one of the panels against one of the open sides of the arch. Trace the half-circle shape of the opening onto the cereal box panel. Cut out the half-circle.

  6. Trace the cardboard half-circle on the other cereal box panel as well as on a sheet of wood-grain contact paper; cut out each of the shapes. Cover one side of each of the cardboard shapes with the cut-out contact paper.

  7. Position the half-circles so that the wood grain is showing. Tape these to the lid using masking tape to secure the plastic bags from falling out.

  8. Spray paint the inside of the box and the underneath of the box lid with brown or black spray paint. Let the paint dry.

  9. Place the lid onto the top of the box. Tape the backside of the lid to the box using 4-inch strips of masking tape placed vertically all the way across the seam between the lid and box.

  10. Cut two 36-inch square sheets and three 24-by-36-inch sheets of wood-grain contact paper. Unpeel the backing from the contact paper. Affix each sheet to the corresponding outside panel of the cardboard box; place one of the smaller sheets on the bottom of the box.

  11. Cut a 36-by-42-inch sheet of wood-grain contact paper. Press this evenly over the top of the lid.

  12. Cut a 2-inch circle out of the remaining cardboard from the cereal box. Place the circle in the centre of a 5-inch circle of gold foil. Fold the foil over the cardboard so that it covers one side seamlessly and is gathered on the back of the cardboard.

  13. Draw a 1/2-inch dot in the centre of the smooth side of the gold circle using a black permanent marker. Position the gold circle with the black dot facing out in the centre of the side of the lid that opens for the padlock. Hot glue the circle to the lid.

  14. Cut out two 2-by-42-inch strips from the gold foil. Place these over the top of the treasure chest lid so that each strip is parallel to the right and left sides of the trunk and 2 inches away from the sides. Affix the gold strips in place with hot glue.

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Things You'll Need

  • 36-by-36-by-24-inch heavy-duty cardboard box with removable lid
  • 36-by-42-inch sheet single-ply cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • 12 plastic shopping bags
  • Empty cereal box
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint, brown or black
  • Roll wood grain contact paper
  • Gold foil
  • Black permanent marker
  • Hot glue gun

About the Author

Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.

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