How to Build a Child’s Toy Chest or Box

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Ron:
I can’t wait to show you this… come on in. I got her her first set of tools. And a toolbox.

Lynn:
That’s what our daughter needs.

Ron:
Look, look… Look at this. Ok? Everything in here. Look at this. You got a tape measure, huh? You got pliers; you put your hand on that!

Lynn:
Honey…

Ron:
There you go you grip, that a girl!

Lynn:
Maybe when she’s older.

Ron:
Look she’s gripping it, she’s gripping it! She’s a natural!

Ron:
Some other time. Really? Think I jumped the gun a little bit here?

Lynn:
I think so, I think that’s a little on the old side for her hon.

Ron:
All right, well, ok.

Lynn:
Maybe when she’s a couple years older.

Ron:
All right. So that’s a good reason for me to do what I want to do today, which is to build her sort of a combination bench and toybox. Toy storage chest actually.

Lynn:
Ok.

Ron:
So I’ve got that over here, and then we can put all these things in it for a couple of weeks until she is ready for them.

Lynn:
That’s wonderful!

Ron:
So this will have a back, a bottom, a seat actually, that lifts up, hinges up, and front and then two sides,  and these are the sides right here, and the first thing I want to do actually is to kind of get rid of this sharp edge right here, because I don’t want that near her.

Lynn:
Mm hmm.

Ron:
And make this more rounded.

Lynn:
Sort of a scalloped look.

Ron:
Yeah, scalloped look.

RON – VO
TO CREATE THE SCALLOPS, I FIRST DREW THEM ON ONE OF THE SIDE PANELS. TO MAKE SURE I HAVE A MATCHING PAIR, I CLAMP BOTH SIDE PANELS TOGETHER AND CUT THEM OUT AT THE SAME TIME WITH A JIGSAW. THEN, GIVE THEM A SANDING TO REMOVE THE SAW MARKS.
Ron:
So, here are all the parts for our bench toy chest, now it’s time to assemble them together. Now, we could use nails and glue or screws and glue, but today I want to use this tool right here. It’s called a plate joiner and you can rent this at most tool rental stores. It actually has a rotary cutting blade on the inside right here and if I push this up you can see the edge of that blade.

Now what happens when you do push this up and into a piece of wood is it cuts a slot, just like this. Generally you cut two slots on two pieces of wood that you want to put together. And then into those slots you put one of these pre-made biscuits. You can get these at almost any home improvement center. Put a little glue in there first, the biscuit goes in one side, a little glue in the other side and you join these two together.

Now this is our side, and I’ve marked the location of the biscuit joints. I want three of them to join the side to the back, right here. Now what’s really important in using biscuit joinery is to transfer the mark from one piece of wood to the adjoining piece of wood after you’ve got the two pieces in position.

SOT: Saw sound

Ron:
I’ve got all the uh, all the slots cut here, all the grooves and I want to start putting this together.

Lynn:
That you do.

Ron:
Ok, so this is the glue, a special glue bottle right here gotta take the lid off. It slips right down inside these slots. Like that.

Ron:
OK.  Now here’s the biscuits, just drop those right in the slots.

Lynn:
In these?  Up here?

Ron:
Mm hmm.

Ron:
OK, now let’s tip this up.

Lynn:
OK.

Ron:
Right, hold it right there.

Lynn:
Got it.

Ron:
OK, now we’re going to slip these two together right now.  These biscuits are going to go up into those slots just like that.

Ron:
This is the back right here.  I’m going to slide this up.

Lynn:
OK.  Do you need me to hold on to this?

Ron:
Yeah, that’d be great.

RON – VO:
WITH THE FRONT AND BACK ATTACHED TO THE BOTTOM WE’RE READY TO ADD THE SIDES.
Ron:
Good fit.

Lynn:
Um, you know you have some glue on  your mustache.

Ron:
Oh, I know.  I put it there intentionally.  OK.  Here we go.  So we’ve got to leave this now for…

Lynn:
You think like half an hour?

Ron:
Oh, we’ll give it a couple of hours.  All right?  And just make sure the glue is thoroughly dry.

Lynn:
OK.

Ron:
Then we’ll come back and clean off the excess, and put the lid on.

Lynn:
And then put some paint on.  And then fill it with toys.

Ron:
You got the plan, man.

Ron:
Well our glue’s dry.  Next step is I want to install a couple of cleats right here on the side.  These are going to support the lid.
RON – VO:
WE ATTACH THE CLEATS WITH GLUE AND SCREWS
SOT:  Drill sound

RON – VO

WITH THE CLEATS IN PLACE I NEXT ATTACH A PIANO HINGE TO THE REAR EDGE OF THE LID…FIRST BY DRILLING PILOT HOLES, THEN DRIVING IN SCREWS.
Ron:
I’m going to attach the other side of our piano hinge to the bench now.  So, can you kind of hold that…?

Lynn:
Just hold it right here?

Ron:
Yeah.  Against the back.  Because I’ve got to center it here in the opening to make sure I’ve got some clearance on each side.

Lynn:
I have it.

RON – VO:

I USE A SELF-CENTERING BIT TO DRILL PILOT HOLES THEN WE BEGIN INSTALLING SMALL SCREWS WITH HAND SCREW DRIVERS SO WE WON’T STRIP OUT THE PILOT HOLES.
Ron:
Now what I did just to make this easier, I magnetized the screwdriver…

Lynn:
Woo.  Fancy.

Ron:
And that way you just put it on the end of the screwdriver like that…

Lynn:
So for even a girl like me I could actually figure out how to make this work?

Ron:
Oh, you could do it without the magnet.

Lynn:
Hee hee.  I don’t think so.

Ron:
You’re so magnetic yourself.

Ron:
Gonna beat you.

Lynn:
You told me that so you distracted me.

Ron:
Is that it?

Lynn:
Done. Yep?

Ron:
Ok.

Lynn:
Alright.

Ron:
Here we go.

Lynn:
Lovely.

Ron:
Nice, huh? You know what I just thought?

Lynn:
We need something so it doesn’t slam on any little fingers.

Ron:
Yeah. You get some fingers right here, could fall right in here. That could be a real problem.

Lynn:
That’s nice, hon.  That’s nice.

Ron:
So what I am going to do is install…

Lynn:
Some kind of spring?

Ron: A lid support here, one or maybe two.

SOT: Drill sound

Ron:
Okay now, here’s the idea.  We loosen this enough, so that there’s just enough friction here.

Lynn:
Should I let go of my fingers?

Ron:
You can let go. 

Lynn:
Woah!


Ron:
Guess we’ve got to put the tools away for a little while.

Lynn:
At least a few months.  Thank you very much.

Ron:
OK, so we’ll slip these right in here.  Plenty of room, and then, you know, it’s not going to be too long before she’s going to want this, so I’m going to put that right in there with the other things.

Lynn:
I think we need to substitute that for a doll, thank you.

Ron:
Yeah, that’s nice, hunh?  And you know, there’s so many ways we could finish this too.  Obviously we could paint it.  But you could cut out a filigree up here or design or an appliqué…

Lynn:
Or her name.

Ron:
Or her name, this would be great for stencils.  Yeah.  So what do you think, Danielle?

Lynn:
I think she’s sleeping.

Ron:
I think she is, yeah.

Lynn:
But she loves it.

Use a Plate Joiner to Assemble a Child's Toy Chest with Glue and Biscuits

Build a child's toy chest and you'll have something that can be a keepsake as well as a functional piece of furniture. Using a plate joiner and a few simple pieces of hardware will give you a sturdy product that will stand up to whatever wear and tear that your kids will give it over the years.

Remove the sharp edges and corners from the side pieces
Step 1

Remove the sharp edges and corners from the side pieces

It is important, with any piece of furniture that a child may be playing around, to remove any sharp edges or corners. Use a jig saw to cut rounded edges and then use sandpaper to soften the edge of the cut. Use your imagination when planning the design. There are a number of scallops or shapes that can be cut into these side pieces that will give the project your own unique flavor. To ensure that the designs match, clamp both side pieces together and cut them at the same time with the jigsaw.

A Plate Joiner is an ideal tool for assembling the toy chest
Step 2

A Plate Joiner is an ideal tool for assembling the toy chest

A plate joiner, also known as a biscuit joiner, is one tool that you can use to assemble furniture without using a lot of nails and screws. It will allow you to construct a durable, but attractive toy chest that will stand the test of time. If you don't own one, they can be rented at most tool rental centers or home improvement centers.

Transfer the marks for the biscuit cuts from one piece to another
Step 3

Transfer the marks for the biscuit cuts from one piece to another

It is very important that the slots you cut for the biscuits line up correctly. If not, then the pieces of your toy chest will not line up correctly when assembled. Mark the center of the slot that is already made with a pencil, and then align it with the piece to be cut next. Transfer the pencil mark onto the new piece and then ensure that the mark is at the center of the cut for the biscuit.

Glue each biscuit into place
Step 4

Glue each biscuit into place

A special tip can be added to your glue bottle to make it easier to apply the glue to the slots that receive the biscuits. Once they are in place, the pieces of the toy chest can be pressed together, and then clamped to allow the glue to dry completely. This should take 3 to 4 hours, or the project can be left overnight.

Install the lid
Step 5

Install the lid

After the four sides and the bottom of the toy chest have been glued together and have dried thoroughly, the clamps can be removed and you are ready to install the top. Cleats must be screwed into each side of the chest to act as stops for the lid and to give it additional support. Once these are in place, the piano hinge (which is available at your local home improvement store) can be screwed into place.

Install a closer for safety
Step 6

Install a closer for safety

The toy chest is now strong, but the lid slams closed with a lot of force and could be dangerous for little fingers. This problem can be solved by installing one or two lid supports to act as closers. The supports are adjustable, so with a simple turn of a screw, you can adjust the amount of force necessary to close the lid of the chest.