Tuesday, September 17, 2013

DIY Simple Toy Box with Lid

diy simple toy box with lid

I teamed up with Ana White to build this perfectly simple yet functional toy box with a lid.

diy simple toy box with monogrammed lid

Ana drew up the plans and I built this toy box complete with a torsion hinged lid so
no little fingers get pinched!

The hinges operate exactly like your lap top, the lid stays in the position you leave it until you push it down to close:
diy simple toy box with lid in open position

The inspiration for this simple toy box with lid came from Land of Nod's I'm Just a Toy Box:

land of nod i'm not just a toy box

Using Ana's plans you'll be able to make this toy box for a fraction of the retail price AND you can personalize it to coordinate with your space.

The lumber for this project runs about $60 and the hinges are $50 (but worth every penny!).

simple toy box with lid

Some more detailed shots of the hinges, they are functional, easy on the eyes and most importantly provide a tiny gap between the lid and the box so no fingers get trapped:
rockler torsion hinges
Ana even included the cut out detail at front center, easy to do with your jig saw:

toy box cut out detail

How to build the simple toy box with lid:

1. Use Ana White's plans to cut your lumber and assemble.
The trick to getting the inset walls is to use 1/2" plywood.

2. Predrill all your pocket holes and attach the top and bottom trim flush to the back:

how to build a simple toy box

3. In order to attach the sides to the legs with an even 1/4" inset I simply placed a piece of 1/4" scrap under the sides and then screwed into the legs:

inset panels with spacer

4. Main box assembled:

toy box carcass

5. Add base cross supports:
(and spill your pocket hole plugs all over the ground :))

toy box bottom view

6. This toy box uses pocket hole assembly which is wonderful for ease and square but does leave a ton of pocket holes on the interior.  Personally I prefer to plug the holes for a smooth finish but it's not necessary.

If you do use plugs you'll definitely want this Ryobi Multi Tool which makes quick work of slicing off any protruding pocket hole plug:

ryobi multi tool slicing pocket hole plugs

A little wood putty and sanding and your pocket hole is now invisible:

filled pocket hole

simple toy box built

7.  Prime and paint the toy box and lid.

8. To attach the lid I choose to use Rockler lid stay torsion hinges:
(The alternative would be a piano hinge and slow close lid support hinge.)

rockler lid stay torsion hinges

9. Use the instructions included to mark the hinges, predrill then attach.

10. For the monogram I used Monogram KK font at 600 and 700 point.
Print out the letters.  I made a paper piece about the size of the monogram area, place the prints out behind the paper piece as desired (I overlapped the side letters onto the middle H a bit) and trace to get your layout:

how to make a monogram

11. Take your final layout and center on toy box lid.
Using a ballpoint pen trace around the edge of the letters with heavy pressure:

trace letters onto top

12. The pressure of the pen creates an indent in the wood, this is where you will paint:

indent left from pen pressure

 13. Using a fine brush and acrylic paints fill in the monogram:

handpainting monogram onto toy box top

14. Seal the monogram with clear satin poly spray.

how to build a simple toy box with lid

Thank you Ana White for such perfect plans, little Miss Charlotte thanks you too!


  1. It's so pretty and functional. :) I love the monogram on it too.

  2. i totally want to make this! i definitely don't even need something as fancy. soo gorgeous

  3. This is generally a very good design (just finished one for the grand kids) but I'd suggest one small change: Place the back panel so that it is flush with the back edges of the legs so that there is no inset on that side.

    That will provide greater flexibility in the types of hinges you can use. For example, you could use no-mortice hinges with a soft closer instead of being limited to the torsion hinges. That would also save a bit of money in the process.

  4. Hi Jamie...I'm making your tool box, and am getting ready to drill my pocket holes into the side panels, which is the half inch...but even though the kreg "says" 1/2 inch, it wont come up to the 1/2" mark. How did you make your holes successfully???

  5. Can you please tell me what paint was used for this toy box?

    Thank you!