Very Cheap, Very Easy Storage Chest (Ottoman)




I live in a small flat and I needed a place to store my girlfriends ever growing collection of clothes and fabric. The only space left in the flat was at the end of the bed and behind the front door. All the ready made storage chests were a bit to deep and not long enough for this space so I decided to build my own. I wanted to make it quickly, easily and cheaply so I decided to make it from the cheapest wood available. I've often seen gloss painted rough cut timber used in shop interiors and I think it looks great, gives everything a more rustic vibe. 

Step 1: Materials

I have chosen the materials almost entirely based on cost. All the wood for this build cost only £26.00. I designed the whole thing based on my chosen materials. 
I am using:
-10 pieces of Rough Sawn timber 2.4m x 100mm x 19mm 
-4 flush hinges
-32mm screws
-15mm screws
-Chest handles and a locking hasp from eBay
-Some coasters left over from an Ikea thing

In total the materials cost less than £35

p.s. be a bit careful when picking your timber because sometimes the treated stuff can still be a bit damp. 

Step 2: Planning

My Chest has to fit in a relatively small space at the bottom of my bed. Because I'm having to compromise on depth I've decided to make it as long as possible and as tall as the space will allow. 
The dimensions are also based on the length of the wood. I made it the length of half a piece of timber. 
The chest will be 1200mm x 400mm x 300mm 

Step 3: Measure and Cutting

lengths of wood required 
X14 1200mm strips 
X6 400mm strips
X6 300mm strips
X8 262mm strips

This uses almost ALL of the 10 lengths of timber. All that is left over is a couple of small blocks (these are useful whilst painting) and a strips about 600mm long. 

Don't forget to give the wood a quick rub down and perhaps round of the edges of each strip a little. 

Step 4: Screws Each Side Together

I started by screwing together the sides, the base and the lid. One thing worth noting is that Rough Sawn wood isn't always totally uniform which means you may have to space out the cross timbers slightly. Each side is the same simple construction:
3 or 4 long cross timbers and 3 upright supports.

I used the 32mm screws to put the sides together and the smaller screws to attach the casters. 

Step 5:

I attached the base to the front and back sides before squaring the whole thing off and adding the short side strips. 

I used for 4 hinges as the lid is quite long and I wanted to spread it's weight. 

Step 6: Priming and Glossing and Fittings

I decided to use spray primer to fill the little gaps between each pannel. The rough sawn wood really sucks up paint so give it a good few coats of primer. I  didn't use enough primer and ended up having to do LOADS of gloss coats which was stupid. When you get a few good coats of gloss down the rough sawn starts to look brilliant. 

I got the locking hasp and the chest handles from ebay. You don't need these but I think they complete the rustic sort of look. 

I've breezed over quite a few of the details of the design but if you have any questions feel free to ask. 

The last picture shows what I did with the left over bit of wood. 



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    23 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Dear bunnykingofnowhere ,

    Great Job! Congratulations!!

    I am from India and this is my first post.
    I had done similar *thing* a couple of years ago. It was 1ft in height and 2x5 sq ft in area. For whoever wants to do similar design here is my 2 cent/ penny/ paisa worth of experience after those 2 years.

    a) I used my *thing* to tuck away the huge suitcase and its smaller version that are used in international air travel. I of course filled the suitcases with all important files/ docs, and remaining portion with whatever I wanted to be out of my sight! Overall the weight became too much and after a few days one of the wheels broke in half and the Aluminium holder made deep scratches on the floor when I had to pull it out anyhow.
    Learning: Use over-sized wheels, you don't know what you might end up trashing in to the *thing*!

    b) I used the same uni-directional wheels with the idea that anyway I have to move it in-out under the bed, right? Well, eventually when I wanted to move the bed, I had to completely empty the *thing* and then haul it in the next room. Learning: Use wheels that can move in 360 degrees (sorry, I don't know the word for such wheels) then you can just trolley it within your house if the need be.

    Thanks for your patience

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    whatever I made does not have drawers or even a lid (I had planned to make a sliding one) so by the book I can not call it a chest. At best *thing* = sliding, horizontal, book-shelf with one large and one small compartment!
    the wheels I am talking about seem to be called "swivel caster"!

    Mr Chutneyprdewa

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hello there,
    It's lovely to hear about your project, it's a shame about the few hick ups you had whilst using it but it sounds like you sorted them all out. It's very satisfying making something really practical that you can use every day. I found that using non swiveling casters was a better option for me as it prevents the chest from being accidently pushed away from the bed (if I accidently kick it in the night or something). Are you still using your "thing"? Do you have any photos?

    prdewaMr Chutney

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction


    I do about a couple of projects a year. I would love to work with wood but I have no talent in recognizing the type (Mango Vs Teak, for example!) and no idea about processed wood or polishing it (although I luv the look of a polished grain-structure in the wood. Here we do not have an equivalent of "Home Depot" so one without basic knowledge is sure to get ripped off by the *seasoned* timber merchants!

    What we get in branded products is plywood and so I use it. Plywood has its own demands like covering with laminates (sunmica - is it a brand name or common name? bit like photocopy and Xerox) and edges with lipping strip. Since I have the looks of polished wood in my mind, I never quite get myself to put money and efforts on decorating/ protecting the ply - which is not much compared to completing the piece but its a mental thing.

    Short point is the *thing* is very much functional and I am using it but I did not bother to put sunmica / lipping on it. May be this year I will do 1 project and in lieu of other do sun-mica/ lipping work on the rest. Will post photos too.

    Thank you for your interest.

    Cheers man! It was a nice coincidence that the left over wood was exactly the correct length for that gap.

    Mr Chutneytdc2202

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! Make sure you share the photos if you do! Other than the paint job it only took about 5 hours to build.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi good work, I like the length too, it would probably fit a girlfriend should the clothes become too much!

    I would imagine the termite problem is not too big an issue on the south coast.

    I checked out your photo site there is some good stuff there, Im on flickr 'hogthrobb'

    1 reply
    Mr Chutneyhogthrob

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks very much! My girlfriend is very short so I reckon with a bit of a squeeze I could get her in. Lol.

    As for Termites I don't even know if we get them in England? We get wood worm... is that the same thing? I liked the Flickr page by the way. It'd be nice if it was organised into some sets though. Sometimes that really helps things flow nicely.
    Keep it up though!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    be careful using wood from pallets - it's often untreated wood and can have termites and/or other undesirable qualities.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Good advice. When breaking down pallets if there is any sign of insect infestigation it goes into my burn barrel to help make charcoal for my forge. Also, a magnetic nail pickup is a true tire saver!

    Mr Chutneydwyates

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Well I think they use a water based creosote replacement. It's probably fine once it's dried and it certainly wont be a problem under about 4 coats of thick gloss.
    Cheers though


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice build... what were the chemicals used to treat the wood? You guys in the UK are probably more careful than us yanks in what you treat your wood with... and I don't know what leaching may occur into the fabric & into your girlfriends skin. Hope you wore a mask when cutting.