How to Build Storage Blocks For a Kid's Room

These cube tables are easy to make and are perfect to use as a nightstand, toy storage or a footstool.

By: Chip Wade

Make a set of letter blocks for your child’s toy storage. When they grow up, paint over the letters and use the blocks as end tables. These instructions are for one single block. 

  • (1) sheet of 3/4” plywood (paint or stain-grade)
  • (24) 2" wide poplar lathe strips 1/4” thick
  • (1) 2x2 x 24" board (optional for door stop)
  • (1) roll of 3/4" plywood edge banding
  • (1) small piano hinge
  • (1) small flush latch
  • (2) flush disc magnets
  • paint or stain
  • chop saw
  • circular saw or table saw
  • trim nail gun
  • drill
  • 1-1/2" Forstener bit
  • drill guide for pocket-screw hole

Cut List:

- Piece A - bottom of box: (1) 18" x 18" plywood
- Piece B - sides: (4) 17-1/4" x 17-1/4"
- Piece C - door stop: (1) 2x2 x 16-1/4" 
- Piece D - box bottom trim: (4) poplar lathe 16-1/4" x 1-3/4"
- Piece E - box bottom trim: (4) poplar lathe 18-1/4"x 2"
- Piece F - box side vertical trim: (4) poplar lathe 14-1/2" x 1-3/4"
- Piece G - box side vertical trim: (4) poplar lathe 14-1/2" x 2"
- Piece H - box side top trim: (4) poplar lathe 18-1/4" x 1-3/4"
- Piece I - box top face trim: (2) 16-1/2" x 2"
- Piece J - box top face trim: (1) 18-1/2" x 2"
- Piece K - box top face trim at hinge: (1) 14-1/2" x 1"
- Piece L - lid top face trim at hinge: (1) (other half of 2" lathe ripped to make Piece K) approximately 7/8" x 14-1/4"
- Piece M - box lid: (1) 15-1/4" x 14-1/4"

Step 1:

Cut plywood for Piece A and Piece B sections with a table saw or a circular saw.

Step 2:

Glue and nail the four sides (Piece B) to the bottom of the box (Piece A) and to each other in the pinwheel pattern shown.

Step 3:

Cut a solid strip of 2x2 wood (Piece C) to fit inside of box. Glue and screw in pocketed screw holes underneath 3/4".

Step 4:

Cut Pieces D, E, F, G, H, I and J out of poplar lathe to length. Rip Pieces D, F and H to 1-3/4" width.

Step 5: 

Glue and nail the four Piece D sections to bottom of box flush to edge as shown. Reference assembly for placement of all.

Step 6:

Glue and nail the four Piece E sections to the side of box on the bottom in a pinwheel pattern flush with Piece D as shown.

Step 7:

Rotate the box to sit on its base with the opening facing up. Glue and nail the four Piece F sections to the side verticals of box on alternating corners flush to edge.

Step 8:

Glue and nail the four Piece G sections to the remaining side alternating vertical corners flush to edge of Pieces F.

Step 9:

Glue and nail the four Piece H sections to the side of box on top in a pinwheel pattern flush with Pieces F and G.

Step 10:

Glue and nail the two Piece I sections on the top of the box on both sides of Piece C.

Step 11:

Glue and nail Piece J on the top of the box on the same side as Piece C.

Step 12:

Rip a 2" piece of lathe into two pieces leaving one side 1" wide (Piece K). The remaining half will be Piece L used for the lid in the next step. Glue and nail Piece K to top face of box.

Step 13:

Cut Piece M for the lid of the box out of plywood.

Step 14:

Apply iron-on edge banding to all four sides of Piece M. Trim excess edge banding away from both sides creating an eased edge.

Step 15:

Glue and nail Piece L to the 14-1/4" side of the top of Piece M, flush to the edge.

Step 16:

Attach piano hinge to the edge of Piece M flush with Piece L and then attach hinge to box flush with Piece K. It is helpful to place a piece of folded tape on the door as a temporary handle.

Step 17:

Fill all the nail holes with filler and sand all the edges smooth.

Step 18:

Drill a recess hole for the flush latch with 1-1/2" Forstener bit.

Step 19:

Apply your finish of choice (stain, paint or use a stencil for letters).

Step 20:

Attach the flush pull hardware and flush disc magnets to back of lid and Piece C (door stop) to hold the door shut.

When your child has grown, these storage cubes can be used to nightstands or end tables. 

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