Open Top Toy Box

Submitted by Ana White on Sat, 03/30/2019 - 21:48
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A classic toy box without the top. As if the toy box lid ever shut anyway!

This simple design features store bought moulding at the base and top lip. Ample storage inside.  Free step by step plans from

open top toy box

photo by Jaime Costiglio

This plan has been updated.  If you need the old plans, they are available here.


open top toy box dimensions diagram
Dimensions shown above


Shopping List
  • 1 - 4' x 4' - sheet of 3/4" thick plywood ripped into strips 15-3/4" wide x 4 feet long
  • 3 linear feet of 2x2
  • 9 linear feet of 1x2
  • 9 linear feet of 3-1/4" base moulding
  • 9 linear feet of 1/2" cover moulding (optional)
  • 1" and 1-1/4" brad nails
  • Optional: 1-1/4" pocket hole screws
Cut List
  • 3 - 3/4" plywood @ 15-3/4" x 32" (cut first from 3/4" plywood strips)
  • 2 - 3/4" plywood @ 15-3/4" x 15" (cut from leftovers)
  • 2 - 2x2 @ 17-1/4" long
  • 2 - 1x2 @ 33"
  • 2 - 1x2 @ 15-1/4"
  • Base moulding and cove moulding cut to fit


Cutting Instructions

Rip plywood into strips, 15-3/4" wide x 8 feet long.

Rip width must be exactly the same.  Use a tablesaw, a circular saw with a guide, or have your home improvement store cut for you (just make sure they rip exactly the same width)

Cross cut ripped pieces as instructed in cut list.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander


Step 1

Attach bottom to ends with 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue.

Step 2

Attach sides to bottom and ends with 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue.

Step 3

Nail 2x2 base supports from inside the toybox with 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue.

Step 4

Recommend: Build top first with 3/4" pocket hole and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

Attach top to top of toybox with 1-1/4" brad nails and wood glue.

Step 5

Use a miter saw to cut base moulding and cove moulding to fit around the top and bottom.

Use 1" brad nails to attach with glue.

Optional: Use a jigsaw to cut out base.

Help Improve This Plan

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heather h (not verified)

Fri, 04/02/2010 - 18:48

Yay yay yay! Thank you kindly for these adorable plans. I'm so overwhelmed with kid clutter, but I'm even more overwhelmed with the cost of pretty toy chests that will look ok in our house. Ok, we have a TON of primary colored plastic thises-and-thats, but I have been hoping for an affordable toy chest. Oh, thank you!

I've added these Land of Nod cuties (Storagpalooza bins) to the Knock Off Wood discussion page and photo pages and noticed several requests on the KOW Facebook page. These would be a great companion to your adorable Open Top Toy Chest. Would you consider posting plans for these? I can just feel the breeze of a million parents' sighs of relief with Storagpalooza plans - no more clutter! Even the smallest of kids can dig into their Storagpalooza bins without parental assistance! They look cool!

Thanks, Ana! I am so inspired to do real, live making of things out of wood with a hammer and stuff. Whoa! Thank you so much!

Brett (not verified)

Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:31

How did you make the rounded parts on the footer? I'm thinking of making something like this with a top as a coffee table.


Ana White (not verified)

Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:38

The best way to get the rounded bottoms is to cut with a jigsaw. What I do is cut one side first, save the scrap, and then cut the remaining side.

Cindy (not verified)

Fri, 05/28/2010 - 16:12

I was trying to do this project as my first one ever from KOW but I've already hit a snag. If the sides are 15-1/2" x 16" then it leaves a gap on the sides when trying to connect to the front and back. What am I missing? Please help!

Ana White (not verified)

Sun, 05/30/2010 - 09:57

Cindy, I think what's missing here is the side is actually 15 1/2" x 15 1/2" because a 1x16 actually measures 15 1/2" wide. I know this is confusing because a 1x16 should measure 1" x 16", but it's not the case. I know, frustrating, but I can't change the entire building industry. Good news, you can just trim 1/2" off and be good to go! Hope this helps, Ana

Open The Toy Box (not verified)

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 16:50

[...] Build a Kid's Open Top Toy Chest — Ana White If you are anything like me, you are dropping hints, very loud ones, that the Easter Bunny should give hugs and kisses and not candy and toys this year. And if you are anything like me, you are still going. [...]

Megan Carter (not verified)

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:23

I am ready to paint my open top toy chest. I built this one all by myself (sort of). My husband built the sandbox also. I can't decide on a color, so here we are with a sanded toy storage unit and hundreds of color choices.....

Naomi (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 21:50

Just starting building these today, and I love them! Quick question though - anyone else find they needed more wood then in the shopping list? I found I needed 8.5 ft of 1x2/cove moulding, and 105" of the base moulding. Any chance I'm doing something wrong?! Thanks!

Kaliste (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 16:18

I think the shopping list is wrong. My husband is making this right now for our daughter and he had to go back to the store to get more 1x2 and base molding. The plans call for 6' of 1x2- but the cuts are 2- 15 1/2 and 2- 35 1/2. That adds up to 102" which is 8.5'. Same for the base molding, unless we're reading something wrong or not understanding something. Just thought you'd want to know so you can change the shopping list. Thanks!