Simple DIY Wooden Storage Chest Plans + Tutorial

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Hey guys!  It’s Shara here from Woodshop Diaries and I’m excited to bring you a fun build today!  Who couldn’t use more storage?  Especially if you have kids…who have toys…and lots of them!  But, even without kids, storage is always something you need more of.  So, today, I’m showing you how to build a simple DIY storage chest to hide all those toys, or old pictures, or blankets, or DVDs, or whatever you need to hide 😉

This storage chest is a very simple design with mitered corners and some baseboard trim around the bottom.  This simple design helps it easily blend into any style in your home–modern, farmhouse, traditional.

Watch the video tutorial on the Remodelaholic YouTube channel — and subscribe please!

Building Plan + Tutorial: How to Build a Wooden Storage Chest

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Simple Diy Wooden Storage Chest Building Plan And Tutorial From One Sheet Of Plywood #remodelaholic

So, if you’re ready to get building, here’s what you need:

Tools and Materials:

 

Cut List:

  • (2) 3/4″ x 16″ x 34″ with 45 degree beveled ends (box front and back sides)
  • (2) 3/4″ x 16″ x 17″ with 45 degree beveled ends (box short sides)
  • (1) 3/4″ x 15 1/2″ x 32 1/2″ (box bottom)
  • (1) 3/4″ x 18″ x 36″ (box top)
  • (4) 2×2 @ 14 1/2″  (see step 7 below)
  • Baseboard Trim cut to fit

 

Step 1: Cut Box Sides

This box was made with mitered corners for a cleaner look.  This makes this project a little more challenging.  If you wish, feel free to  not miter the corners and just join the boards by butting them together.  However if you choose to miter them like I did, you can do this with either a table saw, or a circular saw.

 

First, use an Accucut or a straight edge to trim down the plywood box side pieces to 16″ wide and about 36″ long so they are manageable sizes to work with.  Then, cut the 45 degree bevels on my table saw to get the exact sizes listed in the cut list.  But, if you don’t want to use a table saw, a circular saw with blade tilted to 45 degrees and a straight edge work just as good (if not better).  If you choose not to miter the corners, skip this step.  And also, if you don’t miter the corners, you need to adjust your short side pieces to be only 15 1/2″ long.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Sides

Step 2: Cut a Slot on the Front Side Piece

I’m not sure the correct term for this, but I wanted a slot on the front along the top to help prevent smashed fingers.  For this, use a straight edge and a round object to trace out where you wanted your slot.  Then, cut along the line with a jig saw.

Woodshop Diaries Cut Toy Box Finger Hole Design

Step 3: Finish the Edges

This is optional, but gives the project a more finished look.  Apply glue on edge banding to the top edges of your plywood box pieces using an iron.  I use tin foil between the iron and the edge banding to help keep glue from getting on my iron.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Edge Banding

Step 4: Glue the Sides Together

Now, this is the hard part.  It’s helpful to have some clamping jigs or an extra set of hands (so grab a friend!) for this.  Lay out your side pieces with the miters facing up and apply wood glue in the grooves.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Glue Mitered Corners

Then, carefully fold up your side.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Assembly

I found out later that it’s easiest to do this with the sides standing up instead of lying down like the picture above.  Shoot a couple brad nails into the corner to hold the corner in place while you work your way around to get all the sides together.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Brad Nail Mitered Corners

Once you have all your corners glued together and nailed, quickly move onto the next steps before the glue dries.

Step 5: Add Bottom of Box

Cut the bottom for the plywood box and insert in place.  It should fit snug between all the side pieces.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Add Bottom

Carefully flip the box over and use some 1 1/4″ wood screws to attach in place along all the edges.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Screw Bottom In Place

Step 6: Clamp Sides Together

Now, if your corners aren’t perfect or your box isn’t square, use a band clamp or ratchet strap to wrap around the box to hold all the corners until the glue is dry.  If you still have some gaps or the corners still aren’t perfect, you can fix that later.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Clamp Up

Step 7: Add Inside Corner Braces

I added some scrap blocks to the inside corners for extra support once the glue had dried.  To make these blocks, I cut a couple strips of a scrap 2x board with my blade tilted 45 degrees on my table saw.  You could also do this with a circular saw, or simply use some 2×2 blocks.  This just gives the corners a little extra holding support.  Glue and nail (or screw if you wish) these blocks into each corner.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Inside Corners

Step 8: Add Trim on Bottom

Cut to fit the baseboard trim along the bottom of the box.  Miter the corners at 45 degrees on your miter saw so they line up nicely at the corners.  Simply glue and nail each piece in place and work your way around all the sides.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Baseboard Trim

Step 9:  Cut the Top

Cut the top of the box according to the cut list and apply edge banding on the sides for a cleaner look.

Step 10: Putty the Corners and Finish

Putty the corners of the box and the trim and also putty all the nail holes.  Once it’s dry, give it a good sanding and paint or stain however you wish.  I used Minwax Early American wood stain and sealed it with a couple coats of Minwax Polycrylic.  It’s easier to go ahead and finish the box before attaching the top.

Step 11: Attach the Top

Using a 30″ piano hinge, attach the top to the box.  I found it easiest to attach the hinge to the top first, then attach that to the box.  As an optional step, you can also add some soft close hinge supports to the sides if you wish.  And that’s it!  You have a pretty new storage chest!

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Vert 5

I love how simple this design is, but if you are looking for a different style, be sure to check out this other simple storage chest tutorial with a little different design.  Or if you need something bigger, this large combination storage cabinet is great for a kids play room!

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Vert 2

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Horiz 2

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Vert 1

You can dress up this design easily by adding some extra trim or molding along the sides, too, if you wanted.  It’s so easy to add your own touch to.

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Horiz 1

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Vert 4

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Horiz 5

Woodshop Diaries Toy Box Horiz 4

I hope you enjoyed this build!  Until next time, happy building! 🙂

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