Reduce Toy Clutter with DIY Toy Box

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We have a 3 year old and soon to be 5 year old at home; toys are usually scattered everywhere. Finding storage space in our living room for them was difficult until I found a DIY Vertical Toy Box. Vertical Toy Box

I found some toy boxes online and in stores to purchase, however, they were always made out of particle board, something I’m not a huge fan of. So I began my search online for a DIY version. I stumbled upon Ana White’s website and a vertical toy storage bin/box that she made. I showed my wife and she liked the idea of reducing the footprint of the space a regular toy box would take up. So, it was time to build.

Vertical Toy Box 3

The parts list was pretty simple and I used basic pine for the construction. Here are the boards you would need:

  • 1 – 1×12 8ft long
  • 1 – 1×10 8ft long
  • 1 – 1×8 3ft long
  • 1 – 1×6 3 ft long
  • 1/2 sheet ¼” plywood or other hardboard for the back

Your cut list can be found on Ana White’s site or by clicking here. After making my cuts and sanding everything down it was time for assembly. Unlike what was done on Ana White’s site, I decided I wanted a little more stability and used pocket holes to connect the shelves to the sides. I had recently purchased a Kreg Jig and hadn’t had the opportunity to use it yet. This project was a perfect chance.

Vertical Toy Box 5

If you don’t have a Kreg Jig, I would highly recommend it. The stability by using pocket holes in what you are building is awesome, and you don’t have to worry about filling in the screw heads with wood filler. Using wood filler while trying to stain a project can be challenging as many fillers claim to be stain-able, but actually aren’t. While I was planning on painting this toy box, I didn’t want to have to mess around with wood filler.

As you can see here the pocket holes are under the shelf making them virtually invisible. The jig drills the holes at the correct angle based on the board dimensions that you choose.

If you didn’t want to use pocket holes or don’t have a Kreg Jig, you can use brad nails on this project like what was used in Ana White’s plans. This can be done on this project because the shelves are being attached on all four sides.

Vert Toy Box 6

After getting the bottom, top and shelf installed it was time to put in the dividers to create the bins on the top shelf. To get the angle correct and to match the sides, you can simply lay the uncut board on the outside of one of the sides and trace the angle. This will ensure that the angles all match, which is important because you want a flat surface for attaching the front of the bin. In Ana White’s plans she uses a 1×4 board to create the front of the bin. However, she does mention that she wished she would have used a 1×6 because the top bins end up a little shallow with the 1×4. I took her advice and went with the 1×6 and I’m very happy that I did.

When I finished attaching the back and front of the bins it was time to paint. My wife had chosen a peacock chalk paint that she wanted for the finish. It took two coats of chalk paint to make sure you couldn’t see the wood grain through the paint. I finally finished with three coats of polyurethane. I knew that toys were going to be thrown in by the kids and wanted to make sure the paint wouldn’t start chipping off or get scratched off by incoming toys. Between each coat of poly I did a light sanding with 320 grit sand paper.

Vert Toy Box 1

This was a great project to complete in one weekend. I highly recommend this vertical toy box to help alleviate some of the clutter from you child’s toys. Also, if you are looking for other easy DIY projects, Ana White’s page is filled with everything you need!