Do you have a hard time putting your kids to bed? Do they ask for 5 more minutes before they put their toys away for the night? Now imagine this for a minute, it’s not yet bedtime and your kids are begging to go to bed. Why? Because they have a Glowing Night Light Treasure Chest in their room! They can lay in bed and come up with all sorts of imaginary stories while they look at the treasure chest and slip into the dreamland. You can build it yourself using a small piece of ¼” plywood. This treasure box looks charming considering that the outside is all made out of plywood only. Have fun building!
You also might be interested in kids growth ruler that I’ve previously built.
Tools for this Project
- 12″x28″ — 1/4″ Plywood (x1)
- 9″x3″ — 3/4″ Plywood (x1)
- Wood Glue
- 3/8″ Dowel Rod
- LED Light Bulb
- Cable With On/Off Switch
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Cut Plywood for Front and Back Side
Take ¼” plywood and using a table saw cut three pieces to 8”x1 ½”, two pieces to 6 ½”x3/4” and two pieces to 4 ½” x 1”. These boards are for the front side of the chest box. The backside is exactly the same, so cut the same boards twice. Note: all the boards for this project are from ¼” plywood, except for the light bulb support inside the box.
Step 2 – Sand and Glue Boards Together
Next, take the 8″x1 1/2″ boards and sand the edges using random orbital sander so that they are slightly rounded. Then place them on the flat surface in one column and mark the center of the upper and lower boards. Also, mark the center of 6 1/2″ x 3/4″ boards. Glue one board on top of the panel and one on the bottom making sure the centers align.
Step 3 – Complete Front and Back Panels
Now take 4 1/2″ x 1″ boards and glue them perpendicular to 8”x1 ½” on both sides of the panel. These boards will be sticking out 1/4″ for interlocking the panels and for more glue surface. Since the back panel is exactly the same as the front panel, follow steps 2 and 3 again.
Step 4 – Cut and Assemble the Side Panels
Side panels are very similar to front and back panels, just shorter. Take ¼” plywood and cut three pieces to 4”x1 ½”, two pieces to 4 ½” x3/4” and two pieces to 3”x3/4”. Then assemble the boards similar to the front and back panel following steps 2 and 3.
Step 5 – Attach Four Sides to the Bottom Piece
Next cut the bottom piece to 7 1/2″ x 4″. Then glue all the pieces together using wood glue. Clamp the pieces and let the glue dry for a few hours. Since this is a small box there is no need to have screws or nails, wood glue is strong enough to hold the pieces together.
Step 6 – Cut Side Boards for the Lid
The lid of this box will have an arched top and a flat bottom. So first start by drawing a 4 ½” line for the bottom of the lid. Then draw a ¾” line at 90 degrees on the left and right side of the bottom line. In the center of this board, measure 2 ¼” from the bottom to the top of the arch. Then draw an arch as shown in the picture. Once you’re happy with an arch, cut out the piece using a jig saw. Place this piece on the plywood and trace it to cut a second piece. Using a random orbital sander, sand the corners and to make the arch smooth.
Step 7 – Finish the Chest Lid by Covering the Arch
The two arch side pieces will be connected with 8 ½” long boards. First cut nine 8 1/2″ x 3/4″ boards. Then glue the two 90 degree sideboards with wood glue. Now glue the top piece at the center of the arch. Then glue the remaining boards filling in the arch completely. If the last board is too wide, then trim it with a table saw. Let the wood glue dry for a few hours before attaching it to the chest.
Step 8 – Make Rounded Dowel Tips
The rounded dowel tips are just for décor, you could skip this step if you have a different idea. Take 3/8″ wooden dowel rod and round the tip of the rod using a random orbital sander. Then cut off the tip about ¼” using a dovetail saw. Repeat the process by rounding the tips and cutting ¼” off until you get 24 pieces.
Step 9 – Glue Décor Tips to the Treasure Chest
Apply a small amount of glue on the flat surface of the tip and glue it on the chest. You’ll have 6 of these tips on each side of the treasure chest.
Step 10 – Make a Light Support
The chest will have a night light installed inside. This light needs to be attached to a support block. Take 3/4″ plywood and cut support base piece to 7″x3 1/2″ and two pieces to 2 1/2″x1″ using a miter saw. Attach the two smaller pieces together and then screw both of them to the base using 1 5/8″ wood screws. See picture. Now using a plumbers strap cut a small piece and strap and attach the light socket to the support block with screws.
Step 11 – Drill a Hole for a Light Wire
On the backside of the chest drill a hole large enough to feed the light socket thru. Place the light support inside the chest and feed the wire through the hole. Make sure the light socket is secured with a plumber strap.
Step 12 – Lightly Burn the Chest Using a Torch
Before attaching the lid to the box, use a propane torch to lightly burn the chest and the lid to make the plywood look darker. Keep the torch flame about 6” away from wood. If you have the flame too close it will burn the wood black.
Then place the lid on top of the chest and screw in the hinges. Take one 8 1/2″ x 3/4″ board and place it under the lid to keep the lid slightly open. You could adjust the board depending on how far you want to lid to be open. You’re done with night light treasure chest.
3 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Night Light Treasure Chest”
I really like this idea. Thanks for sharing. I am going to make this.
Thank you so much for this project plan. I made two of these as my first ever woodworking project. Great instructions! I already made significant improvement in my skills from the first to the second one I built.