Phew! I’m getting this project finished just in the nick of time! For Christmas this year I’m wanted to build a toy box for my toddler and I finally got it done. I love how it turned out and I can’t wait to show you how easy it was!
I didn’t want to just buy a toy box since I knew this project would be really straight forward. I wanted something that would be lightweight, it needed to have casters so he could push it around and I wanted it to match his nursery design. I didn’t add a lid because I didn’t want any pinched fingers. With that in mind, this is my final design (filled with his gifts under the tree!):
I think I nailed it. (And I love the chalkboard label on the front!)
So how did I build it? You may be surprised when you see what I used:
I knew that in order to keep the box light I didn’t want to use MDF or full thickness plywood. Instead I wanted to use 1/2 inch plywood and some decorative 1x2s for trim. I needed the box joints to be pretty strong since if you have ever experienced a 2 year old boy, you know they can rip apart anything in their path. And that led to the problem that I couldn’t use pocket holes or even butt joints, since the plywood was too thin and would split and wouldn’t hold up well to the wear and tear.
Luckily Simpson Strong-Tie agreed to partner up with me on this project and I was able to use their fantastic connectors to build this project. They not only made it easy to put this box together, but they were stronger than pocket holes or butt joints AND they made it easy to keep the angles at 90 degree and make the box square.
Specifically I used the following Simpson Strong-Tie hardware:
(8) - GA1 gusset angle brackets (2 in each corner of box)
(4) - A23 A-Angle brackets (to attach bottom of box to four sides)
(8) - A33 A-Angle brackets (decorative trim)
Because this project was going to be for kids, I used 1/2 inch thick Purebond plywood. It not only had the nicest grain but it also is formaldehyde-free and soy based, so I don’t have to worry about the baby chewing on it or anything. I bought a full sheet but I only needed half of it.
I also needed (4) 8-foot 1x2s for the trim and a set of four swiveling casters. Since the plywood was only 1/2 inch thick, I used 1/2 inch sheet metal screws to attach the angles to the boards and I used black 1/2 inch screws to attach the decorative L brackets.
Squaring up the corners was a breeze with the GA Angles, and the assembly went so much faster than if I had been using pocket holes.
I added one in each corner and then went back and added a second to each, for a total of 8 connectors. When I flipped the box to check if it was sure, it was PERFECT! Next I attached the four sides of the box to the bottom of the box using four A-Angles. And that was the whole thing! It took me less than 20 minutes to assemble the whole thing!
Time for decorative trim! I used my nail gun to attach the 1x2s to each edge of the box. (Since they were only decorative they didn’t need anything more than finishing nails.
Finally I filled the holes with wood filler,and I sanded the whole project.
Before painting I added casters to the bottom (using the same 1/2 screws) and the build was officially finished!
Time to decorate! I wanted to use 3 inch A Angles for the corners, but they only came in the original galvanized finish. But luckily you can spray paint them any color you want.. and I wanted black!
They looked fabulous!
I primed the outside of the box (I didn’t necessarily need to prime since I was using Rustoleum Chalked paint with one coat coverage, but I KNEW that it would be getting beat up and wiped down a lot.. since it would belong to a toddler, so I thought ‘better safe than sorry’)
I chose Serenity blue, which I thought would fit best with the nautical nursery. It has a beautiful chalky paint matte finish:Finally (since you know i LOVE a good stencil) I decided to put a chalkboard paint label on the side. I cut a piece of contact paper with my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencil:
I used RustOleums’s Chalkboard paint in black.
I had to be careful to not put it on too thick, since I didn’t want it to bleed under the contact paper. It was so pretty when I finally peeled off the stencil:It looks great under the tree!
All I needed to do was fill it up with the rest of the baby's gifts. And it didn’t need a gift tag since I could put his name right on the side: Eventually it will move up this his room where it will fit right in:I know there are no guarantees he will always keep his toys picked up and inside his new toy box, but a mom can dream…
If you would like to see more inspirational projects using Strong-Tie connectors, check out their DIY site or find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube.