Introduction: Rustic Wood Chest Toybox

Looking for something to hold your kid's toys, but aren't satisfied with the low quality options you can purchase? Look no further! With a little elbow grease, spare time, and $120ish, you can create a high-quality, long-lasting toy box. Or, if you're not wanting to store toys in it, feel free to use it for whatever. My father-in-law said it looked like it would be a good ammo box. You'd need a lot more ammo than I have on-hand to fill this bad boy.

Regardless of your use for it; I hope you can build something you'll be proud to show your friends and family!

For this project, we chose pine tongue-and-groove paneling for the structure, along with a small amount of plywood, and some 2x2's.

The finished size of my chest is 36" Wide, 21" Tall, 20 1/4" Deep. (Including closed lid)

Once we figured the size out, it was on to the hardware store! You can pickup similar wood and hardware at any of the major 'big box stores'. Lowe's is the closest to us, and they have a great selection, so we chose this location for our material needs.

Step 1: Material List

Your materials will depend on the size and style you want to achieve. I will let you know what I purchased, but you will need to adjust to your specific needs.

3 pieces of 12' x 7" x 3/4" Pine Tongue and Groove Paneling (This makes up the sides, and top)

1 piece 8' x 7" x 3/4" Pine Tongue and Groove Paneling (This will be to make one of the sides, as there wasn't quite enough out of the 12' sections listed above)

1 piece 2' x 4' x 1/2" plywood (This will make the bottom)

2 pieces of 8' 2x2 pine (supports for sides, and bottom)

2 hinges

8 90 degree braces

2 handles

1 padlock latch (Or some other hardware to use as a handle, we liked the look of a padlock latch)

1 package of 3/4" wood screws. I recommend pan head. You'll need less than 100 screws.

1 package of 1-3/4" drywall screws (The boxes are about a pound, and should run less than $5)

1 quart of stain (I used MINWAX Special Walnut) Feel free to use whatever color meets your fancy. You won't use all of this, so you'll have extra to do other projects with. Don't Google the colors, because they look NOTHING like they will on your computer screen. Definitely go to the store and find a color you love!

1 can Rustoleum Gloss Black Enamel (Spray Paint) The Enamel dries to touch in about 15 minutes, and comes in a slightly larger spray can, so I prefer this over standard paint. Rustoleum never disappoints.

1 bottle Titebond II wood glue (16 ounces) You can use any wood glue here, I have the most experience with Titebond, so this is what I recommend.

1 set of gas struts, or gas springs These, are little pneumatic actuators that help lift the lid, and keep it from slamming shut. These aren't necessary, but will kelp keep little ones from hurting their fingers. (These were purchased from Amazon, for about $10) Gas Struts Amazon

Step 2: Tools Needed

Tape Measure



Circular Saw

Table Saw

Palm Sander (80 grit, and 120 grit paper)


Impact Driver

Framing Square

Wood Clamps

Step 3: Start the Build!

You're going to want to glue the pieces of tongue and groove together. I used ratchet straps to 'clamp' 2x material that I had lying around to the panelling. I put a long piece on top and bottom, and shorter pieces on the ends to clamp it all together. You could use bar clamps, or other long wood clamps, however without the compression on top and bottom, the panels wouldn't glue flat. You can see from the picture above that I clamped the 12' sections in 3 places.

You're going to want to cut that last piece of tongue and groove into thirds. Then glue those together, and clamp, and wait for them to dry just as you did with the 12' sections. Once these are dry, you should have a 12' section glued together, as well as a two and a half foot section glued together. (the 2 and a half foot section is the 8 footer cut into thirds)

While that was drying I painted all the hardware black. I did these 2 steps at the same time since both required waiting for the chemicals to dry.

Step 4: Build the Sides

Cut the sides down to length. The length of the sides will be determined by the size of the chest you'd like to build. Mine were 18 1/2" wide.

After your 2 sides are cut down, you'll want to cut 4 pieces of 2x2 to the appropriate height for your chest. I cut mine to about 17" long. I offset the pieces EXACTLY 2" from the bottom of the sides to account for the bottom board, and supports. I'll show this in better detail in another step.

Add wood glue, clamp into place, and use the 1-3/4" drywall screws through the 2x material into the finished paneling. You can countersink the screw just a little bit (3/16"-1/4") to help it bite the paneling a bit better) Or you could screw from the paneling side into the 2x material, and not worry about the screw length. I decided I didn't want any fasteners exposed on the outside, though.

Copy this step for BOTH sides.

Step 5: Front, Back, and Top

The front, back, and top are all the same size, so you can use your circular saw to cut these to size. I chose 36" Wide for my chest. You should have 3 pieces that are now 36" wide.

Once you have all the pieces cut, you should run the tongue side through the table saw (or use your circular saw if you don't have a table saw) and cut the tongue off. I guess you don't have to cut it off, but it adds a much nicer look, and I think over time, the tongue would break off anyway.

Attach the front and back to the sides using the same glue, clamp, screw method as before. Remember don't sink the screws too deep, or you'll see the screw tip poking through your nice finished chest.

Step 6: Bottom!

Once the sides are attached, you'll need to cut your bottom out of the 1/2" plywood. Once it's all assembled, you can measure the interior dimensions and cut the plywood to the exact dimensions needed. I'd recommend you measure this, instead of using my measurements, to account for any slight imperfections in manufacturing of your chest. The bottom of the chest needs to be measured from the INTERIOR of the box.

Once it's cut, you can screw the 4 corners into the 2x2 material that is used to hold the sides together.

Then you'll cut some scrap pieces of 2x2 to attach to the sides beneath the bottom panel to support it. (This is why I had you offset those 2x2 side supports 2" from the bottom to account for 1/2" plywood, and the 1-1/2" 2x material thickness)

Glue, clamp, and screw just like you've been doing. Except with the plywood screw it DOWN into the scrap pieces of 2x2 instead of going through the bottom of the 2x material up.

Step 7: Top!

Now you're ready for the lid! Let's get one of those sections we cut to 36" and add a nice support from front to back. I decided to miter some scrap pieces of 2x4 I had laying around, but you could use the 2x2 material you've been using for the rest of the project. Cut them slightly shorter than the inside dimensions of the box, so it can clear when the lid is opening and closing. Cut a slight angle on the pieces to add a nice finished look. I measured 7" from the outsides to the center of my 2 supports, but this was arbitrary. It was what I thought looked nice, you could do at whatever interval you'd prefer.

You can now set the lid on the box to see what your box will look like.

Step 8: Stain

Prior to staining you may want to sand the box down to take off any splinters, or rough edges. If you had a router you could put a nice round over on all sharp edges. I used a palm sander with 80 grit to take off splinters, and rough edges, then finished with 120 grit.

This is the fun part! Let's add some color! Now you can really start to see the project come to life! I stained outside on a tarp, so I didn't kill too many brain cells from the fumes. The last project I did inside, our house smelled for about a week. Let's try not to do that again.

You can apply with a brush, and wipe off with a rag, but I usually just apply the stain, and let it dry. You can wipe it off after application if you'd like a lighter color. I preferred the darker finish.

Step 9: Hardware

Almost done!

Attach the hinges to the top. I lined my hinges up with the support pieces I put inside the lid. This way I could use longer screws if I wanted to, without fear of going through the paneling.

Attach your 8 corner brackets, on the sides. This adds a nice look, along with strengthening the box.

Attach the 2 handles on the sides, and finish it off with the padlock latch.

Step 10: Finally DONE!

The last step was to add the gas springs, or gas actuators that helped the lid close slowly. This was a MUST for us, as the box was for a young boy. Use the instructions that come with the actuators to install them. It is pretty simple, you'll have a few screws on each end to attach to the lid, and to the box itself. And that's it.

We also added a bible verse to the inside of the lid using some acrylic paint markers we picked up at Wal-Mart. You could put a child's name, a Bible verse, or poetry inside to personalize it, or just keep it simple.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment. I'll try to clarify anything I may have missed. Hope you guys have as much fun with the build as I did.

After I built this, my wife wanted me to build another one for us to use a coffee table. I guess the list is endless as to what you could do with it.