How to upcycle a chest into a children’s toybox

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How to upcycle a chest into a children’s toybox

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Stow away their toys and create a stylish, functional addition to your children’s bedroom by upcycling a toybox. All you’ll need is an old chest and some nifty know-how.

Tools and materials

Clear Wood Varnish Satin

Paint brush

Cloth

Paint roller and tray

Drill

Pencil

Drill bit

Pliers

Dust mask

Pneumatic stay

Eye protection

Sanding block

Ear protection

Sandpaper

Handle

Screwdriver

Kids toybox

Tape measure


Tools and materials needed to upcycle a chest into a toy box

1. Sand your box back

Before you do anything, you’ll need to sand your chest back to its raw state – in our case, raw pine. We used an electric sander (don’t forget your ear and eye protection) with 120-grit sandpaper to remove all the old gloss and varnish. If you only have a block and some sandpaper, that’s fine too. Sanding back the surface removes any old finishes and allows a clean slate for new products or paint to be applied. Once you’re done, wipe away the dust with a damp cloth, and wait for it to dry.

Bunnings team member sanding top of chest with electric sander

2. Apply varnish

Now we’ve brought our chest back to its original state, we can see how pretty the wood grain is. We want to keep this look, so we’re using two coats of a clear varnish. Simply pour your varnish into a paint tray and apply using a paintbrush to the fine details first, then a roller for the larger areas. If you want a slightly darker finish, you may want to consider using three coats. Or if you’d like to paint your chest, now’s the time to do that.

Pouring wood varnish into a plastic tray

3. Grab a safety hinge

Our chest is pretty heavy and not really suitable for little fingers, so we added a safety hinge to allow for easy opening and closing. These are technically called pneumatic stays. Ask your friendly Bunnings worker to point you in the right direction in-store – there are various sizes to choose from, so you’ll find one that fits.

Marking up placement of safety hinge with a pencil

4. Mark up where you want your hinges to go

Before you affix your hinge, mark up where you’d like it to go using a tape measure and your pencil. Once you’ve done this, drill some pilot holes. The drill bit size required for your screw will usually be marked on the pack, but if it’s not, us a drill bit with a slightly bigger diameter. Attach the circular piece of your stay first before you attach the hinge – if you don’t do this separately you won’t be able to screw your hinge in properly.

5. Attach your main hinge

Using the screws from your pneumatic stays kit, screw in your main hinge. Once you’ve done this, you’ll notice your chest now opens and closes with ease.

Drilling circular piece of hinge into wooden chest

6. Attach a new handle

Measure where you want your handle to go – best to measure the length of your chest, then mark up the middle point. Use a drill to drill a hole for the handle, then use a screwdriver to screw in and tighten.

Adding knob onto top of chest

7. A treasure chest for your littlie

And you’re done! How easy was that? No more jammed fingers! And you’ve now got a nice, safe place for kids to stow their toys.

Bunnings team member closing chest full of children’s toys

Watch more from the series

For more simple D.I.Y. inspiration check out the full episode from Make It Yours Kids Bedroom Makeover by Poppy Lee.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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