Toy Chest Make-over: an Upcycling Project

I haven't ever been a massive fan of up-cycling where furniture is concerned. Maybe it's because I haven't invested in a power sander yet! Or because it takes time and I like to see immediate results. But ever since my friend, Nat, offered me her old toy chest, I dreamed up this beautiful craft box where all of my making and creating supplies could find their home!

I've had the box for months and it was sitting in a garage getting more and more dusty for several of them, and even when I did fill it with my supplies, I just threw a throw over the top and left it at that!

But last weekend, I finally got my energy focused on the box and I have to say I'm really chuffed with the results! So, if you're interested in doing something similar, here's my how to guide....

You'll need:

  • An old box or chest

  • Sandpaper (or a power sander if you have one!)

  • Wood primer paint

  • Top coat paint (I used satinwood)

  • Paint brushes

  • 2" firm foam cut to the size of the top of your box

  • Hardboard cut to the size of the top of your box

  • Sticky back velcro

  • Fabric big enough to cover your foam

  • PVA glue

  • Staple gun

Step 1 - Sand your box down

If like mine, there are various coats of other colours on top of your wood, this may take time without the power sander. Depending on the colour of the box and the colour of paint you are wanting to put on top, you may be able to get away with just sanding the box to create a key for the paint, rather than taking it back to it's original colour. But you want to make a nice smooth surface to paint over.

Step 2 - Prime the wood

Apply a coat of primer and leave to dry. Mine only took a couple of hours to dry. Go make yourself a cup of tea whilst you wait!!

Step 3 - Apply your topcoat paint

I applied a first coat, left it to dry (again, just a few hours) and the a second, so that colour looks really nice and crisp. If you don't have such a steady hand, you might want to use masking tape to separate any areas you're painting in different colours. I used a white satinwood for the main part of the box and french grey for the edges. Be inventive, go wild, make stencils or hand paint pictures if you want! Make it your own!

Step 4 - Making the cushion

Because of the way my box shuts (with a clasp and key) I wanted my cushion to sit on top of the box and be removable as opposed to fixed on there. Decide which is best for your project and if you want your cushion to be fixed I'd recommend this instructables article that explains in detail how to do it:

1. Make sure that your foam and hardboard are the correct size and then glue the foam to the board.

2. Measure your fabric so that it will cover the foam with approximately 10cm spare around each edge (for stapling).

3. Make the corners by stitching together the 2 edges.

4. Fit the fabric over the foam and turn over. Pull the fabric tight and staple at the back. Staple at opposite edges when you begin to make sure the fabric stays even. The tighter you pull the fabric, the more rounded the edges of your cushion will appear.

Step 5 - Attach the cushion to the top of your box

I used sticky back velcro - just adding 3 lines of velcro to the cushion and box so that the cushion is easily removable if you need to take it off.

And that's it! Old toy chest turned beautiful craft storage box!

Have you tried similar projects? Do you have any good tips or advice? E-mail me at or comment on my facebook page.

#Homemade #Ecofriendly #DIY

Featured Posts
Follow Me
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Pinterest Icon