Introduction: DIY Recycled Plastic Tool Box (easy to Build)

About: I am a 14 yr old student, with dreams of being a designer in UBC Vancouver one day.

When I first started this project, I was very excited. I knew that what I wanted to design, had something to do with helping others. Ideas raced in my imagination, but I managed to go through a certain number of steps to get sense out of the project and to make my project successful and enjoyable for others as the discovery process suggests. Interviewing was my first step in the discovery phase. So, I decided to interview my dad (who enjoys fixing cars and building stuff) and I questioned him about some things he has struggled with when working on his projects. He told me about how he usually loses tools and how that stresses him. Right there, that instant, I knew I wanted to build a tool box to facilitate organization of tools for others. The interview process gave me a good start. I went into the interpretation phase after the interviews, where I generated drivers and constraints based on the results from the interview. Next, I began to ideate. Ms. Ugarte, my teacher, told me that the process of ideation was more about quantity than quality. So for everyday use, I wanted to make a tool box. I started sketching the original ideas that I had. I've been sketching and sketching. I picked my best drawings and began to go for feedback. After that the first phase of my project was already completed. The Phase of Discovery. Now the time had come, and I was ready to build. I'm going to lead you through the process of making a EASY TO BUILD reusable plastic tool box. I hope that you enjoy it!


Empty Plastic Soap Container

Utility Knife (X-acto knife)

Ruler and Marker



Adjustable Wrench




Spray Paint

Nails (any extra small tools)

Step 1: Outlining the Designs

This step is very important and it has do be done before you begin the building phase. There are many ways you can personalize the tool box so that its just right for you. In my case, I built to organize certain tools that were mostly used in my house. For example, I used screwdrivers, a hammer, wrenches and pliers. You can add more tools or stay the same with the tools I built for. For this step you will need to have a clean plastic box. I recycled a detergent plastic jug but you can use anything you want. Other options include: Milk jugs, Juice Bottles, etc. To add on, you will need a sharpie. In this step you will outline the cuts you will perform before you actually cut. This will help you in the cutting part of the project. I decided to outline some holes near the top, I used a ruler and a screwdriver for reference when drawing the hole, I even made sure it had a very similar circumference so that it would fit just right. Then, I drew some thin rectangles so that I could place wrenches there. I also outlines some lines at the top. I got confused, but if you want to include pliers, cut out a line in the middle of those two weird rectangular drawings that I did. Lastly, I outlined a trapezoid in the rear part of the plastic detergent box. This would later on be where I placed the adjustable wrench. Finally, like you can see in the picture with the completed tool box, I cut out a big rectangle on the center of the front part of the box. I used this to add any extra loose small tools like nails and bolts.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Outlines.

In the previous step, you were supposed to outline some shapes to later on fit tools. In this part, we will begin the cutting phase. You will just need an exacto knife and a stable hand. Its recommended to have an adult supervise you because it may be dangerous. Now that you have those materials, we will begin cutting. If you outlined the drawings and shapes perfectly than the cutting phase will not be so hard. Just make sure the box does not move when your cutting and it will be all good. Be careful and don't rush things.

PS: In the video above a cousins dad helped me cut out the holes while I recorded.

Step 3: Spray Paint the Tool Box and Place the Tools

After I cut out all of the shapes to fit for the tools, I decided that the designs looked a little messy so I went for some spray paint at my local shop and began painting. For this step you will need newspaper, spray paint and the box of course. It's highly recommended that you spray paint outdoors and on grass or some non-valuable surface. When you have all this, your ready to begin painting. Make sure you place the box laid across the surface. Next, grab the spray paint and spray horizontally to avoid paint dripping. These things are very important because I did not know this at the time when I did it. Then, wait 30 minutes-1 hour for it to dry and then do the other side. When finished, place the tools in thier corresponding place and your ready to go.

Step 4: Conclusion

I had a lot of fun building this project because I got a sense of what real design feels like. Making things to make life easier for others. In my case, I helped my dad a lot and everyone in my family who wants to use tools. Believe me when I say this, its very easy to make and will pay off in the long term. I hope you enjoyed and have a good day! :)

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