I didn’t have much toy storage, and the clutter was giving me hives. I built this plan and I’ll detail the modifications, plus how I had to take it apart and redo it.
Instead of fastening the shelves directly to the sides, I fastened 1×2 stretchers to the insides to place the shelves on. I try to avoid butt joints when I can. I would love to try mortise and tenon joints. Let me know if you’d like to contribute to my “Buy me a router” fund.
I also made the shelves 36”. Then I also constructed a frame out of 1x2s to fasten to the front because the lack of frame bothered me for some reason, and also to reinforce the shelves. I used some leftover beadboard for the back, which I cut with a circular saw. I sanded and painted it before fastening it to the back, which I had learned by this point to do.
I had the box constructed. I had nailed the shelves to the stretchers. Then I walked into the garage one night to finish. And it leaned. A lot. And I cried.
In my hurry to finish, I had neglected to use a square at a crucial step, which was to make sure the shelves were square to the sides when fastening to the stretchers. Yeah, lesson learned.
I can’t quite remember my rationale, but I just used pocket holes to reinforce the shelves to the sides, which pulled it into almost square. Then I fastened the pieces of the frame to the front, instead of just constructing the frame first, mostly because it’s not 100% square. Putty, prime, paint, poly, yay.
Here’s a breakdown of how it went/should have gone (refer to Ana’s plan for exact steps):
1. Started with the sides made of 3/4″ BC grade plywood and sanded the heck out of them.
2. Cut 4 1×2 stretchers to the depth of each side and fastened them to the insides with glue and wood screws. Used a carpenter’s level to make sure that the shelves would be level when fastened to them.
3. Cut the shelves to 36″. Set them on top of the stretchers, double checked with the level, and using a carpenter’s square to ensure as close to a 90 degree angle as possible between the sides and shelf, fastened them to the stretchers with glue and wood screws. Used pocket holes as well for some.
4. Measured the back’s dimensions, and with a circular saw, cut the beadboard. Sanded, primed, and painted.
5. Nailed it to the back. Tried to avoid cursing the fact that I don’t own a nail gun.
6. Cut the top out of MDF, drilled pilot holes, and, with glue and screws, fastened it to the box, countersinking all screws (I don’t own a countersink bit, I just drilled a pilot hole for a #8 sized screw, then with a bit wide enough for the head of the screw, drilled another hole on top of the pilot hole. A trick I learned from my local mom and pop hardware store.)
7. Measured the edges, then cut the 1x2s for the frame to size.
8. Glued and nailed each piece in. Used a nail punch to get all the nail heads below the surface.
9. Filled all holes and gaps. Sanded, primed, painted, topcoated.
Now onto Mom’s toy storage.
This is my favorite build so far. I put this at the top of my to-do list when I saw Lady Goat’s cart, another Ana White plan. I bought all the lumber from a local lumberyard over the phone and paid for it. It took a few days to get it ready. The owner, from whom I always buy my lumber now, was nice enough to leave it outside the door after hours for me because I can’t get down to the yard during the day with the baby seat in the car. She lives nearby and kindly gave me her cell phone number in case I needed help loading.
I got down there and discovered that I’m too weak to load a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood into my car. So I called and she walked over to help. And it didn’t fit into my car. Crapola.
I hate borrowing other people’s trucks and really didn’t want to have to rent a truck or borrow a table saw. So I paid to have the plywood ripped and picked it up myself, which took a few extra days.
Here it is, with some modifications: I cut the wings to be 24” and added a diagonal support on each side using good ol Pythagorean’s Theorem. I also added another shelf to hold my sander, drills, and circular saw, a back to further reinforce the shelves, and because I am paranoid and this is my life and these things tend to happen, reinforced the top shelf even further by fastening it to the sides with 3 inch dowels.
I could hardly believe when this actually went very smoothly and according to plan. So just follow the directions.