If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to tame the clutter of stuffed animals, books, and playthings. This DIY toy box doubles as a bench, is safe for tiny fingers, and stores children's accessories with style.

By Lacey Howard and Jason Donnelly

To get stylized toy storage, build it yourself. This sleek furniture piece doubles as both an entryway bench and a children's toy box. With slow-shut hinges for safety and dividers for organization, it’s the kid-friendly solution to cut toy clutter in your home.

How to Build a Toy Box

A DIY toy box is the perfect solution for taming kid-room clutter. Follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to make a toy box.

Supplies Needed:

  • Birch plywood (see cut list, below)
  • Pine project boards (see cut list, below)
  • Birch edge banding
  • Iron
  • Metal roller
  • Wood file
  • Kreg pocket-hole jig kit
  • Drill
  • Wood glue
  • Kreg corner clamps
  • Kreg screws
  • Kreg wood plugs
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper, sander if desired
  • Primer, paint, stain, brushes
  • Template (provided at Step 8)
  • Jigsaw
  • Water-base sealer or polycrylic
  • Chisel
  • Butt hinges (2)
  • Toy box lid hinges (2)

Cut List:

Lid: 18 x 30-9/16 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (1)

Top: 18 x 15-9/16 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (1)

Bottom: 18 x 46-1/8 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (1)

Ends: 18 x 14-1/2 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (2)

Divider: 17-1/4 x 14-1/2 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (1)

Shelf: 17-1/4 x 14 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (1)

Back: 14-1/2 x 44-1/2 x 3/4-inch birch plywood (1)

Inside Cleat: 16-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 1-inch birch plywood (1)

Front Panel: 14-1/2 x 29-3/4 x 3/4-inch edge-glued pine (1)

Feet: 3-1/2 x 14 x 3/4-inch clear pine project boards (2)

Apron: 2-1/2 x 38-1/2 x 3/4-inch clear pine project boards (2)

Step 1: Apply Edge Banding

Apply edge banding to all wood edges that will not abut another piece of wood and will show. To apply edge band, cut the banding a little longer than the piece’s edge. Preheat an iron. Lay the banding centered on the edge and iron it to the wood. Use a metal roller to press the banding onto the wood. Apply heat again to any banding that didn’t adhere. Hold a file nearly perpendicular to the banding and file away any excess.

Step 2: Assemble Box

Begin to assemble the main box by attaching the ends and the divider to the bottom. Using a Kreg pocket-hole jig, drill three pocket holes along the bottom edges of the two ends and the divider. Drill three holes along the top edge of the divider and of the end that will go on the shelving side. Run a bead of wood glue along all of the edges that will be attached to other pieces. Use corner clamps to hold the end pieces to the bottom and screw them together.

Step 3: Attach Shelf

Use the pocket holes drilled in the top ends of the divider and end piece to attach the stationary top piece.

Drill pocket holes on the underside of the shelf along both long sides. Run a bead of wood glue along all of the wood edges that will be attached to other pieces. Screw shelf in place to the bottom 14 inches, making sure it is flush with the front of the bottom.

Editor’s Tip: When installing the shelf, we recommend using a corner clamp where the shelf meets the end. Place a scrap piece of wood below the shelf to hold it at your desired height.

Step 5: Install Back Panel

Drill two or three pocket holes in the back side of the back piece along both short ends. Run a bead of wood glue along all four edges and slide the back panel into the back of the box. Attach with screws along the pocket holes. Drill holes and drive screws into the back piece 14-3/8-inch in from the shelf end. These will attach to the divider.

Step 6: Fill Holes

Fill any holes that will show using wood plugs. Apply a little glue inside the hole and slide in a plug. Once the glue is dry, sand off any plug protruding beyond the board. Use wood filler to fill any spaces around the plug, let dry, and sand smooth.

Step 7: Attach Cleat and Paint

Screw the cleat inside the box along the divider, flush with the top edge, to give additional support to the lid. Be careful not to screw where screws attach the divider to the top piece. Lightly sand, prime, and paint the box build and large lift-up top piece; allow to dry.

Step 8: Cut Handle

Using the free template below and a jigsaw, cut the curved handle into the top edge of the front panel and sand. Drill two or three pocket holes along the short ends and bottom edge. Stain the front piece to your desired darkness and seal.

Download Free Handle Template

Step 9: Assemble Base

For the base, drill two pocket holes on each end of both apron pieces, and two or three along the top edges of the apron pieces. Inset each apron piece about 2-1/2 inches from the front and back ends of the boards that will become the feet, then glue and screw together.

Step 10: Attach Base and Front Panel

Sand, stain, and seal the assembled base. Center the base on the bottom of the box, and glue and screw it to the box using the pocket holes. Once the legs are attached, flip the build over and attach the front panel into the box build and screw it to the end, bottom, and divider.

Step 10: Install Lid

Create recessed spaces to inset the box lid’s butt hinges. Use a jigsaw and a chisel to cut two 2-inch-long sections, 1/4-inch deep, 2 inches from the ends on the top edge of the back panel. Screw one side of the hinges to the top edge of the recessed space and then screw the other side of each hinge to the lift-up lid.

Protect tiny fingers with a lid that doesn't slam shut. Purchase toy box hinges based on the weight of the lid. To install toy box hinges, follow the instructions and template included in hinge packaging.

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