How to Make a CPO Hat Box

by Daniel Fry ; Updated September 28, 2017

The Chief Petty Officer's cap is a great source of tradition and pride

officer image by Snezana Skundric from

A Chief Petty Officer is the seventh enlisted rank for a sailor in the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard. The CPO acts as both technical expert and leader. Advancement into the Chief Officer ranks is the most significant promotion within the Navy, requiring time of service, superior evaluation scores and a review by the sailor’s peers. The CPO hat is the distinguishing symbol of a CPO officer. Since World War II, a sailor promoted to CPO changed his hat to reflect his new rank. The CPO hat box, traditionally made with other members the team, is therefore a source of great tradition and pride.

Obtain a pre-made wooden box with a hinged lid. Ensure the box is at least 8 inches wide and 8 inches long by 4 inches high to allow the hat to fit inside comfortably. Choose a box that includes a glass panel or a “peep hole” to display the hat inside if you wish. Allow at least two sides of plain wood to allow for later inscription, either at the front or the top of the box.

Write the individual's name, rank, and dates of service in pencil on one of the plain wooded sides. Ensure the letters are large enough to be read and easily traced with a woodburner. If the Chief Petty Officer is still enlisted, inscribe the date of enlistment followed by a dash, leaving space for the retirement date to be added at a later time.

Place the tracing paper over a piece of paper with insignia image on it and copy. Then, place the tracing paper on the wood and use a sharp lead pencil to re-trace the outline, when the tracing paper is removed the design is plainly outlined on the wood's surface.

Use a wood burner to burn the designs into the box, carefully tracing the designs outlined in pencil.

Allow the box to cool for thirty minutes once woodburning is complete. Display the hat inside.


  • Use a heavy glazed tile or plate to rest the wood burner tool on when not in use. Should black residue build up on the tip of the woodburner, lay sand paper on the tile and quickly wipe the tip across the paper.

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About the Author

Daniel Fry has been writing articles since 2004. In addition to becoming the youngest editor for "Men of Color Magazine," Fry has written for a variety of publications including "Mambo," "GT," "New Nation Newspaper" and "The Arts London News." He holds a Foundation Degree in journalism from London College of Communication.