Slats Toy Chest




When I became an uncle I decided to offer something special to my nephew. Something that he could keep for years and that he could still use even though he's growing up. Making such a gift when you have no money is tricky so I decided to build a chest made of slats I could find (for free) in the streets.

Almost everything I needed for this project was gleaned on the street (I just bought the glue, paint and varnish). The tools are pretty standard so I guess everybody could build this kind of chest.

It was the first time I had to build something like this. I had doubts about how it would look like considering the lack of experience, the lack of space and the tools I used. But I tried it anyway and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

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Step 1: What You'll Need


  • Bed slats
  • Planks (the thickness depends on how big you want the chest to be)


  • Plywood
  • Wooden strips
  • Hinges
  • Brackets


  • Wood glue
  • Screws


  • Saw (really bad hand saw for me)
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Clamps (pretty big ones)

Step 2: Gather and Cut the Slats

First, I drew every faces of the chest. Once the pattern choice was made, it was easy to know how many slats and what kind of pieces I would need later. This also gave me the size of the chest : 50cm x 35cm x 35cm.

As I said, a lot of stuff was found on the streets. Slats are a common item, I even had the luxury to pick the pretty ones ! Then, all I had to do was cutting the slats and organizing them in little piles.

Step 3: Make the Base

I mesured the planks and cut them. I then screwed them together to create the base of the chest on which to glue the slats later.

**Assemble the planks the way you want but make sure the surface is even so the slats will be leveled.**

Step 4: Add the Slats to the Base

Once the base was done, I applied glue on one face then positioned the slats of one pile (according to my drawing, remmember "Step 1"?).

When I was certain the pattern was good I placed a plank on top of it and clamped it firmly. This way the pressure was the same for all the pieces of wood.

Time to dry !

**I usually let it dry overnight to make sure everything is secured.**

And the next day I had to repeated the process until all the faces were completed.

Step 5: Build the Top Cover

For the cover, I made a frame with wooden slips on which I screwed a plywood plank. I used brackets on each corner but screws or even nails may be enough.

Then I placed and glued the uncut slats on the plywood plank and let it dry overnight.

When the ensemble was strong enough, I was able to cut the excess on each side.

Step 6: Finish, Paint and Varnish

I've been using different kind of woods and planks and wanted to harmonize the look so I applied some wood filler on the inside of the chest. I did the same for the inside of the cover and also add white paint on the sides.

Then I applied several coats of varnish to enhance the wood veins.

Step 7:

The last step was to screw the hinges, and I was finally done !

Filling the chest with all the toys laying around and now you can see your carpet again! Nice!

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    14 Discussions


    7 months ago on Introduction

    That's a beautifully put together pattern for that toy box. I can definitely see this little storage box be used for a lot more grander things in the living room - for some extra cushions and perhaps a throw or a rug. It looks so classy and definitely something that you would be able to see as a statement piece for the other living areas of the house!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you ! You're right it's a multi-purpose box.


    9 months ago

    Beautifully done, and it doesn't scream "toy box," so your nephew can take it off to college to hold clothes or whatever. He can also use it in his own home someday as a blanket chest. I hope that you put a panel inside the cover (or on the bottom) with the date, the maker, the recipient and the occasion for which you made it. Such a treasure deserves no less. The fact that it was made with scrounged wood gathered by a loving uncle only makes it more precious. Well done

    1 reply

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you for your kind words !
    As you said, I hope he'll use it for different purposes throughout time.
    I wasn't sure about how to "sign" it so I didn't. I wanted to use pyrography for a time but finally dropped the idea.

    Kink Jarfold

    10 months ago on Step 7

    My favorite is the fact you scrounged up all the materials. I do a lot of the same. The result you got hides the fact it was made from scraps. You did a great job. KJ

    1 reply
    TroubahKink Jarfold

    Reply 10 months ago

    I'm glad if you can't tell where this comes from ! Thanks !


    10 months ago

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the contrast of the white inside to the complex outside :D

    1 reply

    10 months ago

    This turned out looking very nice. Laying the slats over the top of the box seems like a great technique to make the most out of all those small pieces. Nicely done!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thank you ! And when you're comfortable with the technique you can try other patterns.

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