How to Build a Military Plywood Footlocker

Military footlockers are issued to every soldier for packing and locking their belongings, which can then be shipped to wherever the soldier is needed. Although the designs have changed over the years, the dimensions have remained the same, allowing for them to be stacked and packed, utilizing available space most efficiently. Building your own footlocker out of plywood is easy, since they are not meant to be sanded smooth or finished decoratively.

... Building your own military footlocker is easy.

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Things You\’ll Need

  • Circular Saw

  • Screws And Screwdriver

  • 3 Hinges

  • Measuring Tape

  • 1 Lock Clasp

  • Plywood Sheet (5/8 Inch Thick)

Step 1

Cut your plywood sheet into all the segments you will need to build your footlocker. These should include the front and back panels (two 12-by-33), the top and bottom panels (two 16-by-33), the end panels (two 14 3/4-by-12). All measurements listed are in inches.

Step 2

Screw through the flat sides of your bottom panel, 5/16ths of an inch from the edge of the panel into the long 5/8-inch thick edge of your front panel, then do the same with the back panel and the two end panels.

Step 3

Screw through the flat side of your front panel, into the two 5/8-inch thick end panel edges, 5/16ths of an inch from the edges of the front panel. Place a screw about every 4 inches for strength. Do the same to the back panel, creating a very strong five-sided box.

Step 4

Place the lid on top of the box, followed by three hinges placed over the lid and back panel. Screw them into place with the first centered along the long edge of the top and back panel, with the other two installed 4 inches from either end.

Step 5

Add a lock clasp to the front edge of the top panel, with the corresponding loop to the lock clasp screwed into the front panel of your footlocker.


Adding reinforcement strips of scrap plywood on the ends of your bottom and end panels will make the box easier to pick up when placed on flat ground.

Drill two horizontal holes, spaced 4 inches apart, on either end piece. Feed a rope through to the inside and tie off either end on the inside to create two carrying handles on either end. Increase or decrease the dimensions of the footlocker to suit your needs.


Always wear appropriate eye protection when working with power tools.