I scaled this 1 foot long coffin from a full size version I saw online. I built two versions – see drawing links. The first one (documented here) is from purchased craft wood which was clean and straight. The second version was built from scrap pallets. I’ve also included a quick video of the build along with PDF versions of the plans.
Drawing File 1:
Drawing File 2 (Pallets):
Step 1: Tools/Materials
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw
- Wood Clamps
- Tape Measure
- Wood: 5 ½” x ½” x 3 foot long
- Wood: 2 ½” x ½” x 3 foot long
- Wood Filler (optional)
- Screws or Nails (optional)
- Paint or Stain (optional)
You will be building to these dimensions.
Cut the 5 ½” wide board to 1 foot in length. Repeat so you have two identical pieces. Measure and mark a vertical center line (2 ¾” from edge) on one of the pieces. Use this centerline to measure off the top and bottom cuts. Next, measure and mark a horizontal line (2 ¾” from top) for the intersection point. Connect points to outline the coffin top and bottom.
Since the top and bottom need to be identical, attach the boards together before cutting. I used nails on the portions that I planned to remove.
Cut the boards to match the outline. I used a miter saw with a laser site. However, these cuts could be made with a table, circular or handsaw. At this point, unless you are an expert woodworker (I’m not), you will notice that the length of the sides doesn’t match the drawing exactly. Don’t worry, this isn’t critical.
Cut strips of wood to 1 ¾” wide. You will need enough wood to match the perimeter of the coffin.
Start with the bottom side. I set the miter saw to an angle of 40.8 degrees (90 – 49.2). Cut one chamfer. Reverse the work piece and cut the same chamfer on the other side. I cut it long and then made a few extra cuts until I matched the bottom length.
Without touching the angle on the saw, cut two matching pieces for the long sides. Cut the 40.8 degree angle on one side – leave the work piece long since you will be cutting a different angle on the other end. Do a fit check at this point. The bottom side and long side should mate nicely when positioned on the bottom work piece.
Cut the top side using the same process as above. Angle should be 36.8 degrees. Again, match the side length to the bottom length
Without touching the angle on the saw, cut two matching pieces for the short sides. Cut the 36.8 degree angle on one side – leave the work piece long since you will be cutting a different angle on the other end. Again, do a fit check.
Set the saw to 12.5 degrees and cut the remaining angles for the long and short sides. For reference, I marked a number on the bottom and the matching side since each length could be slightly different.
Do a dry fit of the pieces to make sure everything will go together cleanly. If not, adjust as needed. Attach the sides to the bottom and to the other sides. I used glue and clamps. Wood filler could be used at this point. I just used the excess sawdust and pushed it into the glued cracks.
Sand wood as desired. As stated above, I made a nice version and a pallet version. I decided to stain the nice one and my daughter painted the pallet version with a “day of the dead” theme.