How to Build a Toy Chest
How to make handy storage for games and gizmos, with instructions for parents and kids
Age Range: 7 and up
Open up a toy chest and a child's imagination takes flight, especially if the chest itself is part of the fun. This toy chest looks like a barn, designed to make even a city dweller feel a little bit country. A bonus: With wheels on the bottom and special toy box lid supports, it's easier than ever for kids to round up their toys when playtime is over.
You can make this chest in an afternoon with tools on hand and materials available at the home center. Kids can handle most of the work that includes measuring, nailing, sanding, and painting, while adults should do the sawing and clamping. Once the toy chest is put together, kids will be scrambling to fill it with their prized possessions.
The toy chest is made from birch veneer plywood, with four sides that fit around a rectangular bottom. The roof fits over the two triangular gables at the ends. It's easiest to build the roof by first clamping the gables to the box, then attaching the front and back roof pieces in place. That way you're sure to end up with a lid that fits the box perfectly, with a pleasing overhang on the front edge that makes it easy to flip open.
For sturdiness, the roof is attached to the bottom box with a long continuous hinge all the way across one edge. To accommodate the hinge, the back of the box and the roof are both slightly shorter than the corresponding front pieces, and the back ends of the gables are clipped off slightly. For safety, there are also two toy box spring lid supports, which hold the weight of the roof and close softly with a gentle push of your child's hands. These keep the box from slamming on little fingers. Casters attached to the bottom of the chest make it easier to move around for play and cleanup.