Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Upholstered Toybox

Project for a good cause!
   My daughters class needed a personalized item to be auctioned off at their annual Spring Gala 2012 for the benefit of the school and staff. Since I am into wood-working a friend of mine in charge of the project recruited me. We went back and forth between projects we could personalize, such as mirrors, tables, etc. We decided on a wooden toy box. We wanted it to have a lid, and an upholstered top so it could also serve as a cushioned bench. And, to personalize it, we decided to have each child paint a travertine tile and we would attach them to the finished box. I found the project plan here: Ana-White's Toy chest plan. Thanks ana-white.com.

Here's what I did:

1.  First I got Home Depot to cut the wood boards for me, building the box, I used boards 3/4 inch thick and 16 inches wide had them cut to about 36 inches in length for the front back and bottom pieces. The sides were apps 16 inches by 16 inches. This made perfect rectangular box.

Boards pre-cut from HD, saved a ton of time. 
2.  I assembled the wood, with help from a 90 degree corner clamp and wood glue. I counter sunk the screws and covered them with wood filler. A tutorial coming soon about how to "counter-sink" your screws.

After box was assembled. I then started on the trim. 
3. Then came the bottom trim. I used a moulding around the bottom and mitre cut the corners at 45 degrees each to fit together. I used wood glue and my brad nail gun to secure these to the box. 

4. The original design called for footers to be cut with a jigsaw. I made 4 footers but was not a fan of how they looked on the box, so then scrapped I that idea, and decided to use feet called "bun feet".  These little feet cost about 5 dollars each (unfinished) and they look like little hamburger buns. 

I secured these with screws and glue to each corner of the box. 

5.  Ana-White's project plan did not include a lid so I had to build that on my own. I used a scrap piece of maple board and went shopping for fabric to cover the top. I cut a rectangular piece of 1/2 inch wide high density foam with a bread knife to the size of the top. I hot glued the foam to the wood top then...comes the fabric. Normally, I would use a layer of batting over the foam to create extra cushiness, but... I found a diamond shaped quilted green fabric (the school's color), this was economical because the quilted fabric included extra padding or "batting" that added to the cushiness of the foam pad. I attached the fabric to the top foam and pulled taught using a staple gun. 

Top side of upholstered lid. 

6. On the other side of the top,  I trimmed the area where the seam of fabric and staples meet the wood, with mitered trim to give it a cleaner look inside. 

Inside of lid. 

7. The top trim ledge: I added 4, 1x2 pieces to the top of the box to create a ledge. Then added cove  moulding underneath in order to make a smoother looking top ledge. 

8.  I filled in all holes with carpenters wood filler, and sanded the box down pretty well. I caulked it with wood caulk on all seams, then I spray killzed the entire box to prime it, and spray painted it heirloom white spray paint in a satin finish. 

9. Then I added 4 total hinges to attach the lid to the box. I picked up two slow close hinges from the hardware store, one left side and one right side. Then two additional hinges to secure the top. The slow close hinges protect little fingers from getting slammed by the lid. 

10.  While I was building the toy box, a friend and fellow mom was busy at the preschool getting 20 four- year olds to paint 4x4 inch square traverteen tiles to personalize the project. They did a combo of both bee tiles (the school mascot) and "abstract" tiles. We added these in a nice design to the front and sides of the box using an adhesive grout bought at HD. We considered tiling the entire box but that would have made it way too heavy!

The tile pattern bees and abstracts. 

11.  After all of the tiles dried, we sprayed poly-acrylic spray 3 coats to make it look a little shinier. 

Here is the finished product: 
Love it!

Me and my masterpiece, testing out the toy box for strength! 

Hope it brings in a good amount of  money at the Spring Gala!

Hope you enjoy this project!



  1. Thanks for the comment on my rug project...love your latest project too! As for how the rugs hold up....they do!! And the best thing is that you can take the fabric off...the glue just pulls away...then you wash the fabric and glue it back again...it goes so fast...the rug that I put in the upstairs bathroom is 3 years old....washed a bunch of times and it still looks nice. Go for it!

  2. It looks great! I love all your projects!! Kasane

  3. Thanks for the lid instructions! How much did it go for?

  4. How did you put the pieces together? Did you glue the side pieces on top of the bottom piece? Trying to figure out your measurements.

    1. Hi! Its been so long since I have built this so I am trying to remember but.... go to Ana- Whites link pattern for this box. It has the measurements. I used the pattern for the box but added the lid etc.


      Step one shows how you assemble the box. Its the end pieces, (smaller ones) attached to the bottom wood piece, then you add the two sides, using glue and screws/ nails. I used a corner 90 degree clamp to keep it square and the pieces in place.

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