diy toy storage cubbies

diy_toy_storage_cubbiesHey guys –  Jamin here today, getting back around to the DIY toy cubbies we built for the playroom. Yeah… the holidays kinda consumed us, but hey, better late than never. These cubbies have been a real game changer for all things Christmas carnage and toys. We actually know what we own, and the kids know what to put, where… Finally a system that works for our home. It took us a while.

It’s kind of perfect timing for organization posts. So really it was on purpose. Promise. Kind of. Not really.


This is really a super easy thing to build. It just takes a little time. So let’s jump right into it. Here’s what you’ll need:


• (9) 2 x 2 x 8

• (3) 1 x 2 x 8

• (14) 1 x 8 x 6

• (1) 1 x 3 x 6

• 24 feet of plain pine molding

• 34 feet of quarter round molding

• 15 feet of panel cap molding

• (3) Boxes of #10 2 1/2 inch screw

• wood glue

• box of 1 1/2 inch finish nails

• box of 1 inch finishing nails

• box of 3/4 inch finishing nails

• sheet of 1/4 inch MDF

• (2) sheets of bead board


Drill • Impact driver • Miter saw • Scroll saw or jig saw • Belt Sander • Table saw • Nail Gun • Circular saw


With any building project, you always need to think about the framing first. What’s going to support the shell? It’s the skeleton of your project. To build our skeleton, we need to:

• Cut (6) 2 x 2 x 8’s to 69 inches.

• With the above scrap, cut the leftover 27 inch pieces down to 21 inch pieces.

• Cut (2) 2 x 2 x 8’s down to (2) 40 1/2 inch pieces; giving you a total of (4) 40 1/2 inch pieces

• Cut (3) 1 x 2 x 8’s to (3) 21 inch pieces; giving you a total of (9) 21 inch pieces.

•Cut (1) 2 x 2 x8 into (4) 18 inch pieces.

• With any of the scraps left over from the 2 x 2’s, cut (16) 5 inch pieces with 45 degree angles on both sides.

Once the pieces are cut, gather your #10 2 1/2 inch screws. Remember to always pre-drill your holes before driving your screws in, and to pre-drill a little smaller than the actual screw size.

(Side note: When I talk about screwing them in, I mean for you to use (2) screws each time.)

• Take (2) 40 1/2 inch piece and screw it into the bottom on opposite ends of a 69 inch piece to make the over all length 72 inches. Repeat this on the top of the 69 inch piece. Next, find your middle on the 40 1/2 inch piece (20 1/4 inches) and screw another 69 inch piece in the same way on both ends.

• Repeat the above process.


• Now take a 2 x 2 that you cut down to 21 inches, and use it to join the two pieces you just built. Screw in a piece at the bottom, middle, and top to match the other braces. Do this on both sides.

• Your (4) 18 inch pieces will be used to brace the center of the unit.

Find the middle of the unit (36 inches). This is where you will attach the 18 inch pieces. Slide them into place: For the two that will go between the top shelf and the middle shelf you will be able to screw them in. For the two on the bottom: If you flip the unit over, you will be able to screw in the bottom side, but for the side that will be touching the middle shelf, spread a little wood glue on it and drill a pocket hole (one screw here will suffice.) If you have a nail gun you can use glue and nails for this entire process, as I did.


• Next take the (9) 1 x 2’s cut at 21 inches and screw them in as braces. I suggest doing these evenly. Placing one set in the middle on the 18 inch brace, then put the others where you want you cubbies to be. Or the middle of the section, from the middle to the edge at 18 inches.



(Note: if you don’t own a table saw, or want to do a different depth, just change the width of your 21 inch pieces to match your depth. Remember to add 3 inches to compensate for the 2 x 2 you are screwing them to. Thus 21 + 3 gave us our 24 inch depth.)

• Cut (12) 1 x 8 x 6’s down to exactly 72 inches.

• Rip those boards down to 6 inches wide.

• Once cut, place the boards on the shelves and get them all lined up. You will need to use a jig saw, band saw, or scroll saw to cut out the edge of the piece that will go against the post.


•When you are satisfied, pick them up one by one and spread some wood glue on your supports. Lay them back down and nail them in, using either a nail gun with 1 1/2 inch nails or by hand with 1 1/2 inch finish nails.

• Next, take your 2 x 2’s that are cut at 45 degrees and screw them in on the four 40 1/2 inch posts. On our photo, you will notice that we did this before we put the shelving down. I think in hindsight, doing it the way it’s written would work better. It was a headache to not only cut out for the post, but then for the braces as well. (Hindsight. 20/20.)

• Sand the ends of the planks you just laid down to get a smooth, finished look and make sure they’re all even.

Adding the cubbies

• Cut a sheet of 1/4 piece of MDF (6) 24 x 18 pieces.

• Cut a piece (32) piece of quarter round trim to 18 inches.

• With a second pair of hands slide the MDF into position. It should fit rather snuggly. Spread a little stream of wood glue along the base of the MDF on both sides. Place your trim on both bottom sides. Make sure it’s straight and nail it into place with a 3/4 inch finish nail. Do the same thing for the top, and then repeat the process for all cubbies.

• Next, cut (2) pieces of 1/4 MDF to 40 1/2 x 24 inches. These will be your end pieces.

• After making sure the pieces fit, spread wood glue on the supports and lay the piece back down. Then drive 1 inch finish nails through it. (I turned our unit on end, and stood on a ladder for this process.)

Adding the trim

• Cut (1) 1 x 8 x 6 and (1) 1 x 3 x 6 down to exactly 72 inches.

• Cut (1) 1 x 8 x 6 down to 67 1/2 inches.

• Cut (1) 1 x 3 x 6 down to (2) 33 1/8 inches.

• Cut a 1 x 2 from the left over to (2) 13 inch pieces.

• Attach the 1 x 8 cut to 72 inches to the bottom of the unit, it should lay horizontal. (Attach this piece and the following ones with wood glue and 1 1/2 inch finish nails.

• Attach the 1 x 3’s cut to 33 1/8  to the front of the piece as a facing on the two outside post. These should rest on the 1 x 8 you just attached.

• Attach (1) 1 x 2 to the center 2 x2 post, it should rest on the 1 x 8.

• Attach the 1 x 8 cut to 67 1/2 inches on the center, there should be a 2 1/2 inches left over on each end.

• Attach the remaining (1) 1 x 2 to the center 2 x2 post, it should rest on the 1 x 8 you just attached.

• Attach the 1 x 3 cut to 72 inches to the top of the unit, it should rest on all the pieces you just attached.


• Next, select a pine molding to run across the top and bottom the 1 x 8’s. It should be cut to 72 inches. We used a very plain molding. Attach them with glue and 1 inch finish nails.

•Now, select a panel cap moulding or something similar. This will run across the top of the entire unit. Cut the panel cap molding to (2) 25 inch and (1) 73 inch piece, with 45 degree angles on both. Simply attach them with wood glue.

• Finally, cut a piece of bead board to fit the back of the unit. Glue and nail it in with 3/4 inch nails.


Finishing up

• Use a paintable caulk to fill in any crack or holes, and paint it your desired color! {Seen here in Benjamin Moore’s chantilly lace!}


• Add name plates, and enjoy!

entertainment_center handmade_shelving


If you’d like to see more of the space, check it out here + click here for our sources post.

Remember, it’s a really detailed tutorial, but the process is actually pretty simple. Let us know if you have any questions – and have an inspired day!

This entry was posted in bungalow revamps, for kids, sneak peek. Bookmark the permalink.
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Responses to diy toy storage cubbies

  1. This is so great! I need something like this in our family room. Thanks for the info! xo Kristin

  2. I’m really impressed with this. I don’t think I could do this!!! Great job….I love it!

  3. Alanna LoGioco says:

    Awesome! How much did this cost you to make?

    • jamin says:

      That’s a great question Alanna. We spent about $375, but it all depends on the wood grade you use as well as the region of the country you live in. I also suggest pricing wood at several lumber yards, you’ll be surprised at the difference sometimes. I hope that helps!

      • Daisy says:

        Woah…that’s kinda steep. :-( I was going to ask the same question but was hoping for a different answer, lol… :-) I feel like I could buy cubbies of this size for a lot less? (Not that I don’t love these. :-))

        • Jamin says:

          Hey Daisy you are correct, you could buy cubbies for less, but they’d probably be made of particle board or a different wood type. There are a lot of things that can go into pricing and building furniture. As I mentioned, grade of wood is one, you could use a lesser wood than we did and get a cheaper price. So make sure you’re comparing Apples to Apples when shopping . Thanks for stopping by and reading we love hearing from y’all.

  4. Annie says:

    I LOVE this! And I think that the price isn’t bad, considering it’s a nice, sturdy piece. That’s if you use good wood. What a great option, and timeless versatile customized piece… my wheels are turning! You guys are my fave!

  5. Love this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Shelley says:

    You did an amazing job with the cubbies. The name plates are a perfect finishing touch. I wish I was handy and comfortable using powertools.

  7. Matt Gowler says:

    Great Idea! My clients are always looking for basement finishing ideas in Colorado Springs. Especially kids storage! I’m sure we’ll find a project to use this idea on soon!

  8. Emily says:

    I love this idea. I am redecorating my daughters room right now and am always looking for creative ways to contain toys. Well other then getting rid of them. A room with no mess always looks so nice. But my daughter will probably not like that, so this is a wonderful solution to have them be available but still keep the room pretty.

  9. Joanna says:

    What are the overall dimensions of the entire unit? And the openings of the individual cubbies? We are making this plan similar but not as wide.