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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Tue, 08/02/2011 - 10:20

I very much want to make pirate chests for gifts for the little boys in my life. Does anyone have a workable plan? Doesn't have to be large just enough to store their treasures!


Tim (not verified)

Thu, 11/10/2011 - 15:05

Your shopping list and cut list are in disagreement, if you only buy 72'' of base moulding you cannot cut 2x17'' peaces and 2x35'' peaces. The other moulding peaces are also off...


Wed, 11/30/2011 - 08:43

I would love to make this as a hope chest for my daughters has anyone put a lid on it if so do you have any pics or plans? thanks

Elizabeth Reza (not verified)

Sun, 12/04/2011 - 17:22

This is such a lovely post. Thank you for being so detailed. I can't wait to make these more my niece and nephew for Christmas. Where can I find the letters for the name? I plan on using all of the same dimensions so I'd be looking for something similar in size to what you have.

Customized Creations

Fri, 12/09/2011 - 08:46

I LOVE this! You could paint any color to match the decor and it's so nice! It looks so much better than those plastic ones you can buy at the stores

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 12/27/2011 - 12:24

I absolutly LOVE this toy chest! I am going to see if my husband will want to build this for our daughter :)

Guest (not verified)

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 15:14

I'm planning on doing this touchiest this weekend. I'm not at all measurement inclined so I'm super confused. Can someone please break down that the Measurements are???? The way it's listed on this site isn't at all the way the materials are shown on home depots web site. I plan on using plywood as I want to stain the chest. Please help.