I did I did. About two weeks ago, my little brother asked me to build a toy box to dump all the toys that my niece and nephew like to leave all over the house.
As he described what he wanted I knew just where to go for the building plans. I headed right over to Ana White and found a plan that best matched the description of what he wanted.
It was Pottery Barn Kids Turner Toy Chest retailing for $199.00 before shipping & handling.
Now my brother isn’t nearly as frugal as my husband but who wants to spend that much money on a wooden box to hold your toys? If you raised your hand then be sure to read the rest of this post.
I needed to figure out a way to build this and not blow the budget. My brother wanted the toy box to be 42″ wide by 20″ tall. Ana’s plans were for a smaller box more the size of Pottery Barns. I whipped out my graph paper and began drawing my cut list. Since I was painting it, I thought I would build it out of 3/4″ MDF to save money but considering the size of it, the weight would really add up fast and this thing would surely weigh in at about 75 lbs. Next I turned my attention to plywood. A sheet of 4′ x 8′ plywood is about $45 at my local Home Depot. I could get all of my cuts out of a 1/2 sheet and still have a 1/2 sheet of scrap wood left over.
Because I wasn’t ready to bite the bullet on the full sheet I procrastinated and didn’t buy anything for a week.
If you follow me on Instagram then you would know that last week while heading home from an appointment on the other side of town, I stumbled upon a lumber yard.
The nice gentleman told me that he had never seen such nice shoes in a lumber yard. This was the first time I’d gone to a lumber yard that actually wanted to sell me wood. Whenever I go, the men seem to be quite uninterested in answering my questions and they almost seem to try to avoid me. This lumber yard was different. They not only gave me a quick tour but they explained to me how the whole process of buying wood works at their yard. I just so happened to have my cut list in my car so I took it to a desk where another man typed my dimensions into the computer and quickly spit out a sheet of paper and a total. I took that piece of paper to the register and paid for it then another man took me back to the lumber area and perfectly cut my wood on a fancy table saw. The entire process took about 15 minutes, not counting my tour of the lumber yard and it only cost me $29 and some change.
Now that I had my wood, there was no reason for anymore procrastination.
All of my necessary pieces were cut at the lumber yard except the bottom piece. Since I already had a half sheet of leftover plywood I used that. First I needed to cut it to the correct length and width. I don’t have a table saw so I had to use my battery operated circular saw with a rip fence to rip down the plywood (note to self, buy a corded circular saw in the very near future because this thing cuts like crap).
Next I pre planned my pocket holes on paper so that I wouldn’t accidentally place holes on the wrong side of the boards.
I marked all of my holes on the wood and started Kreg Jigging (I know that isn’t a real word but I’m going to use it frequently)
These holes will be either on the inside or bottom of the box.
Once all of my holes were drilled, I started gluing and assembling.I used my speed square to make sure that I had a true 90° angle where the boards met.And because I was working alone, I built a temporary jig on my tabletop to hold the box securely while I zipped in the screws on the sides.Worked like a charm and my box was completely square. I filled all of the holes inside the box with wood filler and let it dry overnight.
Because it is an absolute sin to use a power sander inside of your house, I had the hubs haul the carcass into the garage and sand down all the wood filler. It was about 10° out that day so that simple gesture shows me how much he really loves me. Can you guess my Love Language???He even broke out the sandpaper and hand sanded the really rough spots. I despise the cold and if it were my decision alone, I would have moved to San Diego. I hate Michigan winters.
Getting back on subject here, the hubs then carried the box back into the house so that I could wipe it down with the tack cloth and start adding the trim and molding.
The molding is what really gives this toy chest character. The 1″ x 4″ ‘s will be the base molding and the 1″ x 2″ ‘s will be the top trim. Not shown is the quarter round molding that will trim the underside of the top lip.
The easiest way to trim out a box would be to butt the pieces up perpendicularly. Did I loose you with that big geometry word. Well here is a photo of what I’m talking about.
The photo on the left butt up against the other creating a right angle. The photo on the right shows two 45° angles that are mitered together. The photo on the right is the more professional look I prefer and whenever my joints are going to be visible, I choose to do it this way. I use glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails to secure the trim pieces to the box.I continued to trim out the top the same way only making the trim flush with the inside of the box.This created an 1/4″ lip around the outside of the box. Finally I added the quarter round to the top to soften it up a bit.
I filled all my tiny nail holes and mitered corners with wood filler and gave the whole thing a good sanding.I dusted everything off and wiped it down with a tack cloth.I primed the box with Zinsser water based 1-2-3 Primer Plus. One gallon goes a long way. I bought it almost a year ago and I still have a 1/4 of a can left. I always use this short-handled angle brush to cut in and then I roll with a high density foam roller in the direction of the wood grain. Once it was dry, I lightly sanded with a 220 grit sanding block to knock back down the wood grain that became raised from the water in the primer. Then I started the whole process all over again with my first and second coat of paint.
I chose Sherwin Williams Eider White SW7014 because it was neutral and I still had about a quart of it left over from my end tables. I painted the letters white to stand out and glued them to the front of the toy box. I used one of the hubs weights to hold them down while I tapped 1 1/4″ brads in from inside the box.
I decided not to put a coat of polyurethane on the project because I painted it with a very durable satin finish paint. I left the inside raw because when the kids grow up, they may want to use it as a hope chest and sanding the paint off the inside of the box would be a real pain in the ass.
And now for the finished product………
Once again I have to apologize for the night photos. The window for daylight here in Michigan is about 45 minutes after I leave my 9-5 so I’m always stuck trying to photograph using my flash.
The hubs and I delivered it to my brother’s house. The kids loved it and their first instinct was to climb inside of it. My 3-year-old niece was very amazed by the alphabets. My sister-in-law said it reminded her of a vintage toy box you would buy at F.A.O. Schwartz. That made me feel really good.
4-Pieces Pre-cut Plywood: $29.34
2-Quarter Round @ 11/16” @ 8’: $11.36
3-1 x 4 Select Pine Boards @4’: $13.74
3-1 x 2 Select Pine Boards @4’: $7.44
4- Wood Alphabets from Michaels: $8.97 (w/25% off coupon)
Grand Total: $70.85
I did not factor in the cost of screws, sandpaper, glue, and paint because I purchase these in bulk and the cost per use is so minimal.
I’m done building for these little kiddies for a while. I need to focus on my long list of home improvement goals and start getting things done. That reminds me we made a trip to Ikea this weekend so I can assure you a hack is underway.
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