1-Board Cedar Trinket Box

Submitted by JoanneS on Fri, 08/16/2013 - 15:02
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Build a 1-Board Cedar Trinket Box from 1 cedar fence picket - about $3 for wood.

Build a 1-Board Cedar Trinket Box from 1 cedar fence picket. Features 1 drawer and a lift-off top. Little imperfections from the fence picket were left in. The design gives you something that can be built with just your miter saw and nailgun (or hammer and nails, but I love my nailgun!), with no angle cuts or rips. Measuring as you build will help you get the best fit for your pieces, but if you substitute regular ½” craft boards instead (you would need 2 of those @ 36”) the #s in the plan should fit without much adjustment. The drawings are not to scale (it’s just lines & shapes from Powerpoint) but they are marked with the sizes to show what goes where. The full plan is in the attached .pdf file (located just below the General Instructions section).

The cedar board I used for this prototype was a bit cupped, so I improvised, picked up some 60-grit sandpaper and my palm sander, and smoothed down all the high spots and it looks just fine!

The plan is designed to use pulls made from the cedar boards. I found some particularly interesting knots in the picket I was using, so I cut around them and used them for pulls. You can substitute any pull/knob you like. I was considering some thin pieces of leather (like cutting up an old belt) would look pretty as pulls too, but didn’t have a belt I wanted to cut up, so I went with this. Actually, some rope knots would make nice rustic pulls too..

The build took about 2 1/2 hrs (lots & lots of sanding). Finishing time will depend on what products you use. I originally was going to leave this natural, but changed my mind after trying Ana's tutorial for the Walnut Minwax Express Color on Cedar. I'm loving the walnut stain!

6 1/2" tall, 6 1/2" wide, 5 1/2" deep


Shopping List

1 cedar fence picket (1/2” thick, 5 ½” wide, 6’ long) this is the one I’m using:

(to substitute craft boards for the cedar, you’d need 2 36” craft boards @ ½” x 5 ½”)

Handles or knobs for drawer and top (optional)

1” finish nails or brads

Wood glue

Finishing supplies for desired finish

Common Materials
Cut List

Cut list from ½” x 5 ½” cedar fence picket :

2 pc @ 6 ½” (top & bottom – cut to length measured in step 3a)
3 pc @ 5 ½” (sides & back)
1 pc @ 5” (shelf) (trim this to depth as measured in step 3c)
1 pc @ 2 ½” (false front – trim down if necessary)
1 pc @ 5 3/8”, then cut down to 4 3/8” wide (inside lid, trim to fit inside box)

2 pc @ 2 3/8”, then cut to 5 ¼” wide (drawer front & back,
should measure 2 3/8” x 5 ¼”)
2 pc @ 2 3/8” , then cut to 4” wide (cut these to measurement calculated in step 4)
1 pc @ 4”, then cut to 4 ¼” wide (this will get trimmed to fit , approximately 4” x 4 ¼”)

1 pc @ 1 ½”, then cut 1 pc to 1”, and 1 pc to 3” (or size desired, omit if using store bought pulls)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Since you are building with a cedar fence picket, there will be some rustic elements to this piece.

Sand the picket thoroughly on both sides till smooth, before cutting.

Board thickness for plan is ½” – Measure the thickness of your board, you’ll need it for
determining the length of the drawer sides. (board thickness: ______)

Board width for plan is 5 ½” – Measure the width of your board. This will affect the size of the top/bottom.

Fence Pickets may not be entirely flat. This will impact your build, so you should measure and cut as you go rather than cutting all the pieces up front.

Measure before each cut instead of marking them all at once. This is important because the blade takes about 1/8” for each cut, and there will be a lot of cuts on this board.

Hold off till the building stage before you make your top/bottom, drawer side, shelf, and drawer bottom cuts. Since fence pickets may vary in thickness and width, this will help you get a good fit for the pieces.

The drawer (width and height) is just slightly undersized on purpose, to give you some extra room to account for boards that may have a little bow or cup, so the drawer will still fit.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Project Type

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