What could be more fun for kids than a toy box that is a toy itself?
This sturdy truck toy box, built primarily from half a sheet of plywood, not only keeps the clutter of toys off the floor, but it also rolls from one play area to another, thanks to its four working wheels.
1/2 sheet (4 by 4 feet) 1/2-inch A/C grade plywood
1 3-foot 2 by 2
1 8-foot 3/8-inch-by-2 1/4-inch pine molding
4 6-inch-diameter wheels (made for 1/2-inch axles)
1 30-inch continuous hinge with 1/2-inch screws
2 child-safety friction lid supports with 1/2-inch screws
1 8-foot length of 3/8-inch vinyl weatherstripping
4 3-by-1/2-inch lag screws with 8 washers
3d finishing nails
Vinyl spackling compound or wood putty
Graphics supplies such as vinyl letters and masking tape
Table saw (or portable saw with guides)
Drill with 3/8-inch bit
Sanding block with sandpaper
How to Build It
The truck toy box is built much like a wooden box with part of one side—the windshield—angled slightly. The main parts are cut from a half sheet of plywood and glued and nailed together, with additional support from a pair of 2 by 2s and short lengths of molding at the bottom of the box.
The only tricky part about building the truck is making accurate, straight cuts in the plywood. A table saw equipped with a fine-toothed plywood-cutting blade works best; if you don’t have one, you can make straight cuts with a power circular saw by guiding the saw along a straightedge clamped to the plywood.
1Lay out the main cuts. Using a pencil, measuring tape, and straightedge, mark the layouts for the side pieces (A), back (B), bottom (C), lower front panel (D), and the length of the upper front panel (E).
Be sure to allow for the saw’s kerf (the width of the saw blade) when dimensioning all pieces. Use a compass to mark the radii for the wheel wells and the handle holes in the top pieces.
2Cut the plywood pieces. Cut (A), (B), (C), and (D) to size and cut the windshield (E) to length but not to width. Make the straight cuts with a table saw or circular saw and guide; use a saber saw to make the circular cutouts.
When using the saber saw or circular saw, cut with the plywood’s best side (the truck’s outer faces) up; when cutting with a table saw, cut with the best side down. Use a sanding block to flatten and smooth the edges.
3Make the windshield. Make the angled cuts at the corners of the side panels (A). Use the first one you cut to mark the second one so both will be identical. Then set the saw’s blade to cut a 75-degree angle along one long edge of the windshield.
Make the cut and then use the angled corner cut on (A) to mark the windshield’s (E) width, and cut the other edge of (E) at 75 degrees so that, once the windshield is mounted, its top edge will be flush with the truck’s side panels (A).
4Cut and drill the 2-by-2 axles. Cut the two axles from 2 by 2s to 14 1/2-inch lengths. At each end, make marks from corner to corner to mark the center points and then drill 3/8-inch pilot holes for half-inch lag screws.
5Assemble the pieces. Apply glue along one side of the axles and align them in position beneath the bottom piece (C). Check their positions with the side pieces (A) to be sure they are properly centered in the wheel-well areas.
Nail through the bottom into the axles with 3d finishing nails. Be sure they are properly aligned before driving the nails. Then glue and nail the sides (A), the back (B), and the lower front panel (D) to the bottom (C) and to each other at the corners.
6Cut and attach the moldings. Check the inside measurements of the box for the proper lengths of the inner rails (G). Then check the outside measurements of the front (D) and back (B) for the bumpers (H).
Cut the moldings to size and then glue and nail them into place. Set all nailheads with a nailset and fill the holes with vinyl spackling compound or wood putty.
7Measure and cut the top. Now measure the dimensions at the truck’s top for the lid (F). Cut the lid’s front edge at a 75-degree angle and use a saber saw to make the 3-inch hole in the center. Then cut the lid into two pieces. Use a hacksaw to cut the continuous hinge in half.
8Attach the lid pieces. Use the continuous hinge pieces to attach each half of the lid, centering them and fastening them with half-inch screws. Add friction lid supports to hold the lids open.
9Sand and finish. Lightly sand the entire unit, working in line with the plywood’s surface grain with fine sandpaper. Dust it off thoroughly. Then paint the truck with nontoxic paints. Add any striping and vinyl letters from an art store (be aware that these can peel off, so they may not be appropriate for very young children).
Allow the paint to dry and then add short pieces of vinyl weatherstripping to each side of the hinges to protect children’s fingers from being pinched when the lid is opened and closed.
10Add the wheels. Last, pass a lag screw through each wheel and two washers and then drive it into the axles’ ends, using an adjustable wrench (or socket wrench).