How To Build a Toy Box or Toy Chest for Kids
Build a Toy Box or Toy Chest for Kids
This simple to build DIY Toy Box is constructed from one 4’x8′ sheet of MDF (Medium-density fibreboard). The toy box could also be constructed by one 4’x8′ sheet of plywood. The material thickness can vary for personal preference, but the plans and cut list attached use 1/2″ thick MDF. The finished Toy Box measures 33 1/2 inches wide with a 35 inch wide top, 20 1/2 inches tall and 19 inches deep. The Toy Box has two outside hinges for the lid and 2 soft close safety hinges on the inside to avoid smashing fingers.
Click here to download the PDF Cut List: Toy Box Cut List
Affiliate links to some of the of tools I used in this video are below.
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Table Saw https://amzn.to/3kNNyky
Compound Miter Saw https://amzn.to/3mP149D
Palm Router https://amzn.to/3kM65hu
Nail Gun with Air Compressor https://amzn.to/2GbgELJ
Pocket Hole Jig https://amzn.to/3hU5x7i
GluBot glue bottle https://amzn.to/33YDWNc
Irwin Squeeze Clamps https://amzn.to/330heoU
Breaking Down the Sheet of Lumber
*Be sure to label these pieces as you cut them.
To get started I cut the 4’x8′ sheet almost in half the short way with my circular saw to make handling easier. I measured from one of the short sides to 55 inches and drew a straight line across the sheet. I then cut the sheet into two pieces. The shorter of the 2 pieces should measure about 41″x48″ while the larger of the two pieces should measure 55″x48″. The larger piece is going to be used for the Toy Box Bottom, Front, Back and Legs. The smaller piece will be used for the two Short Sides and the Top of the Toy Box.
Cutting the Top and Short Side Panels
To cut the two Short Side panels, measure from the 48″ side 18 inches in, draw a straight line and cut using a table saw or circular saw. Next, cut this piece into two square 18″x18″ pieces. These two pieces will be for the Small Side panels, or ends, of the Toy Box. Finally, cut the remainder of this part of the 4’x8′ sheet into one 21.5″x35″ piece for the Toy Box Top or lid.
Cutting the Bottom, Front and Back
Next move on to the large remaining part of the sheet to cut out the Front, Back, Bottom and Legs. First cut the sheet the long way at 33″. This step is important to do first because the smaller of these two pieces will be used for the legs. Next cut the piece that measures 33″x55″ into three 18″ wide pieces. You should now have 3 pieces that measure 33″x18″. Finally, take one of the 33″x18″ pieces and cut one inch off of one end so that the piece measures 32″x18″. This piece will be the Bottom of the toy box. The other 2 pieces that are 33″x18″ will be the Front and Back.
Assembling the Toy Box
Attaching the small sides to the Bottom
Now that we have all the pieces cut, it’s time to build a box. Start by adding pocket holes every six inches to the perimeter of the Bottom panel. These pocket holes will be on the floor side of the Bottom panel and not visible. The pocket holes will attach the Front, Back and Side panels to the Bottom panel.
Next add a bead of wood glue to either the short edge of the Bottom panel or along the edge of the Side panel.
Use a brad nail gun or hammer and finish nails to attach the Sides and Bottom while screwing in the pocket hole screws.
A long clamp holding the 2 pieces together could also be used instead of nails. After both Side panels are glued and held in place, add the 1 inch pocket screws through the holes in the Bottom panel.
Attaching the Front and Back to the Bottom and small Sides
The Front and Back panels are the same dimension, 33″x18″. I added horizontal lines to the Front panel using a Router with a “V” groove bit. I won’t go into all the detail in this post, but check out the YouTube video if you would like to learn more about the technique I used.
The top of the Front panel has a strip removed. The removal of this material serves two purposes, 1) it allows for fingers to slide under the Top to lift the lid and 2) it provides some safety for little fingers if the Top or lid were to close while fingers and hands were reaching in. To remove this strip measure out the desired distance for width and height and cut the material with a Jig Saw.
To attach the Front and Back panels of the Toy Box, run a bead of glue along the edges of the Bottom and Small Side panels, set the Front or Back panel in place and use brad nails to hold the pieces together. The Front and Back panels will have to be attached one at a time and then the pocket hole screws can be screwed in from the Bottom panel into the Front and Back panels.
To add extra strength to the corners of the Toy Box, I used a counter sink drill bit to drill holes about every 6-8 inches through the Front and Back panels and into the Small Side panels and then screwed 1 inch screws through these holes. These screws will be covered up by the Legs.
Before moving on to the Top panel and the legs I created the same shiplap style horizontal panels on the Small Side panels of the box with the router and “V” groove router bit. This is an optional step and might be easier to do before attaching all of the Toy Box panels together.
Before moving on to building and attaching Legs, give everything a light sanding with 120 grit sand paper. In my case I had to do some extra work to the side pieces since they had former life as desk top for one of my kids. I made a mistake while cutting my pieces and had to hunt for some extra material (the story is in the video).
Cutting and attaching the Legs
Using the left over material that was set aside from the 55″x48″ panel, measure and cut the Leg pieces. There are 6 leg pieces that are 3 inches wide and 20 inches long and 2 leg pieces that are 2.5 inches wide and 20 inches long.
Four of the 3 inch wide leg pieces will need a 45 degree miter. These pieces will be for the Front Legs. The miter edge provides a seamless appearance to the front legs. The other two 3 inch wide pieces and the two 2.5 inch wide pieces will be for the back legs.
The remaining 4 leg pieces will be used for the back Legs. The 2 1/2 inch wide pieces will attach to the Back of the Toy Box and the 3 inch pieces will attach to the Sides of the Toy Box. The 3 inch pieces will cover up the 2 inch pieces so that the seam will be on the back side of the box and not visible from the front or sides.
The Legs are attached with glue and brad nails. I made a 2 inch stand from some of the left over scrap wood to raise the Toy Box 2 inches while attaching the legs. This step is not critical, but it was helpful to ensure that all of the legs would have the same height.
Attaching the Toy Box Lid
I used my router with a round-over bit to soften the edges of the 35″x21.5″ Toy Box Top or Lid.
I then took this Top to the table saw to cut 2 inches off of one of the long sides. This 2 inch piece will attach directly to the box and act as an anchor for the hinges that allow the Lid to open.
I used a wood filler to fill in all of the brad nails holes and sanded them smooth when dry.
After The Toy Box and Lid were sanded and dust was cleaned away, I painted the box white and the top black. It was now time to add the hinges to the Toy Box lid.
As an added safety feature I installed these stay open hinges. They prevent the lid from closing on little fingers, hands or other body parts.
As an added decorative touch I added these cabinet handles to the sides
Thanks for reading, good luck with your project! If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below.