Introduction: Upcycled Cartoon Toy Box With Chalk Board

My partner had an old storage box/bed box sitting in the garage which was basically used to sit things on as it was always in the way. As with a lot of other Instructables, I decided to upcycle it and turn it into something useful.

I decided it would make a pretty useful toy chest, hence the decision to make it more child-themed.

The dimensions of the box used are 900L x 495W x 420H (mm).

Tools used:

  • Circular Saw/Drop Saw
  • Drill
  • Paint brushes and rollers
  • Orbital Sander


  • 7mm thick ply sheet
  • 42 x 19 x 1200mm pine length
  • 600mm long piano hinge
  • 2 x standard handles
  • Chalk paint
  • White paint
  • Cartoon poster
  • A1 size cardboard sheet
  • 2 x rolls of clear contact
  • Wood glue

Step 1: Strip Existing Box

The box I started with was initially upholstered inside and out, as seen in the pictures above.

You can see it was quite sun faded, stained and ruined, hence the need to give it a new life.

Firstly, I peeled the upholstery off, cutting sections with a stanley knife when they became stubborn. On the inside, it appears the upholstery had originally been stuck to cardboard then the cardboard glued onto the inside. To achieve the finish I wanted, I had to make sure to get it all out to achieve a smooth surface.

To save costs, I tried to save the existing locks and hinges. The hinges were too damaged to be save.

Step 2: Fit a New Base

The existing base was quite thin and also coming away at the sides. I thought that if this is for a child, it's better to go the safer route and replace the base. I put two braces across the bottom, cut to size, then cut a 7mm thk ply sheet into size, glued and screwed it in.

Step 3: Prep for Painting

To prepare the box and lid for painting, I used cheap hole filler, spreading it over all the holes and allowing it sufficient time to dry.

Once dry, I sanded the box until it was smooth and ready for paint.

Step 4: Painting

I had some left over white paint from a project I had done previously, so I decided to use that.

It's an acrylic indoor low sheen paint which went on quite well.

I applied 3 coats on both the base and the lid.

Step 5: Preparing Comic Strips

While waiting for the paint to dry, the comic strips can be started.

I started with the poster seen in the first image which I picked up from K-mart for $12. I would have preferred to use wall paper or something a bit neater, however a similar wallpaper had quite a high price tag.

Firstly, I cut the poster along the tops and bottoms of each image, in hindsight, I should have lifted all the cuts approximately an inch higher, so that when they folded over, the titles would have been at the top of the board rather than half cut off.

I then cut cardboard to the size of the sides (I cut four sides but only used three).

The comic strips were then glued to the cardboard and wrapped in clear book contact.

Step 6: Chalk Paint

Once the lid was dry, I used painters tape approximately 15mm from the top, all the way around. I then applied 2-3 coats of chalk paint to the top surface.

Step 7: Handles and Hinges

The existing handles were straps of pink vinyl which I wasn't able to save. I bought the above handles for about $3 a piece, very easy to install. I measure where I wanted them on one side and fitted one to see if it suited, then placed the second one on the other side.

I installed the hinge on the base first, making sure it was centred and straight.

Step 8: Attach Comic Strips

I used a PVA glue to glue the strips to the front and sides. The sides were made slightly longer than needed so I could wrap them around the back about an inch.

Step 9: Finish Hinge and Locks

I finally, installed the hinge to the lid making sure it worked and was able to hold the weight of the lid.

The existing locks were then put back on and the toy box is complete.

Before and After Contest

Participated in the
Before and After Contest