Personalized Toy Box Bench

Design Star runner-up Dan Vickery creates personalized toy boxes that do double duty as a clever kid-sized bench.


The clearly labeled boxes make it easy to keep kids' toys separate.

The clearly labeled boxes make it easy to keep kids' toys separate.

Materials and Tools:

3/4-inch thick 4' x 8' MDF sheet
3/8-inch thick 2' x 4' MDF sheet
1 gallon oil-based primer
3 left-side box lid supports
6 brass hinges
fast-setting wood glue
water-based polyurethane
mineral spirits (for cleaning oil-based primer)
latex paints in colors of your choice
wood filler
large wooden letters
nail gun and finish nails
table saw or circular saw
measuring tape
18-inch bar clamps with pads
printer and cotton paper


1. Cut out parts to toy box (3 of each) using Dan Vickery's measurements (Toy Chest Measurements) and layout (Toy Chest Layout) diagrams. To create the nursery rhyme bench back, enlarge Dan's design (Toy Chest Sketch) on a copier and transfer to 3/8-inch thick MDF and cut out.

2. Glue mitered edges of box front and sides together with wood glue. For added stability, also secure pieces with finish nails.

3. Glue and nail bottom piece to back piece then attach bottom of box front and sides to back and bottom.

4. Glue and nail hinge rail to top of box along back piece. Fill all nail holes with wood filler.

5. Sand entire project to create a smooth surface before painting. Prime wooden letters and toy boxes with oil-based primer and allow to fully dry.



6. Paint toy boxes, letters and bench back with desired colors of latex paint and allow to dry.

7. Attach wooden letters to box fronts with wood glue. Attach bench back to boxes with wood glue and finish nails.

8. Print desired nursery rhyme onto cotton paper, this will be placed inside the toy box lid. Trim paper to desired shape and size.



9. Cover the exterior surfaces of boxes, including what will be the outside of lid, with a layer of water-based polyurethane and allow to dry. Once outside is dry, brush polyurethane onto inside of toy box and lid. While polyurethane is still wet on the underside of lid, carefully place printed nursery rhyme. Smooth the paper, working from one side to the other. Allow to dry.

10. Finally, attach lid with brass hinges and box lid supports. For added durability, apply a second coat of polyurethane to entire project if desired.

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