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We all know how ridiculously expensive attractive storage is. And, when you need several bins or baskets to contain a large toy collection, well, the prices can practically make you faint. Also, I don’t know what your toy collection looks like, but we have lots of toys that don’t fit nicely into a 12″ cube. I knew there had to be a better option.
To save money on new toy storage, I originally planned to move the Ikea drawer compartments from the loft to our new playroom. They are proven good toy storage. But, when we decided to put the day bed into the playroom, I knew it would limit our toy storage options. There was no floor space left for the drawer units. Then, it dawned on me. There was a ton of square footage under the day bed. The trick was figuring out how to maximize it in a kid- friendly way.
With the pirate theme for the playroom, I was eager to incorporate crates. The crate idea plus the need to fit the storage under the day bed led me to one conclusion: I could build rolling toy storage crates!
These crates roll out on casters and maximize the storage space under the day bed. Each of the four crates extends the full depth of the day bed. To fit under the day bed, the crate part is just shy of 8″ tall (under 10″ with casters on), but that is plenty deep to hold loads of toys.
The crates were surprisingly easy to make and relatively inexpensive. The supplies, including wood, casters, and handles cost about $120. When you do the math that is only about $30 per large rolling crate.
The day bed sits under the whale and pirate ship mural. The perfect place to snuggle up with a good book. When the kids are ready to play, their toys are all in easy reach in the rolling toy storage crates below.
Rolling Storage Crate Tutorial
This is a good beginner building project. Building the toy storage crates was easy, but most easily assembled with two people.
Supplies: (makes 4 crates measuring 32″ x 16″ x 8″)
- 6- 1×8″ @ 6 feet long
- 16 – 1/4×4″ slats @ 36″ long
- 16 Casters
- 4 Trunk handles or cabinet pulls
- Wood Stain
- Optional: Spray Paint
- Optional: Letter Stencils
Step by Step:
1. Cut all your wood pieces. For our day bed, our finished crates measure 32″x 16″ x 8″. For each crate, cut two 16″ pieces from a 1×8 board for the front and back. Cut two 30.5″ long pieces from a 1×8 for the bottom. Cut four 1/4×4 slats to 32″ long.
Tip: If you are making these crates to slide under a piece of furniture, measure your dimensions carefully before proceeding. Make sure to include the height of your casters when calculating the height of your crates.
2. Stain all your wood pieces. I laid all my cut wood pieces on a plastic tarp in the garage and stained them all at once. I used Early American to give the wood a warm glow.
2. Pre-drill four holes on the bottom edge of the front and back pieces (16″ pieces). I used a countersink bit, so the screws would sit flush once screwed in. I stacked my boards when drilling, so when I drilled the first board the drill bit left a mark on the second board down. I used those marks as a guide for where to drill.
2. Attach the front and back pieces to the two bottom boards (30.5″ pieces). Hold the two bottom pieces vertically next to each other with about a 1″ space in between. Put the 16″ piece on top with the bottom edge flush with the bottom boards. Screw through the holes on the front/back pieces into the end of the bottom boards.
3. With the front and back pieces screwed to the bottom boards, you are ready to attach the side slats. Nail the slats into the edge of the front/back pieces, leaving a small gap between the slats. I used my nail gun with 1″ brad nails. You can also nail by hand with 1″ finish nails.
4. Optional, but much cuter this way: spray paint your casters a fun color! Expect to do 6-8 thin coats to get good coverage. Spray from all angles. Rotate the wheels halfway before each coat. With a little spray painting patience you can take boring casters and make them amazing! Of course, I made ours teal!
5. Attach the casters with half-inch screws at the corners of the bottom boards.
6. Attach a handle to the front of each crate. I used large galvanized steel trunk handles I found at Home Depot.
7. Optional: stencil letters and or numbers on the crates. We used a combo of middle initials and birthdays to number our crates. I found basic cardboard letter and number stencils at Staples. I traced inside the stencil with a white colored pencil directly onto the wood. Then, I hand painted in the letters with white craft paint. You could also stencil or spray paint the letters directly onto the wood.
These crates can hold a ton of toys and they roll completely out-of-the-way under the day bed. If we don’t fill them completely with toys, the easy, boxy floor cushions also fit perfectly…two per crate.
These crates go perfectly with the pirate-themed playroom. I love how simple they were to make. But, I also love that I did not spend a bunch of money on nice storage. I won’t mind at all if these crates get battered and bruised in the course of daily play…it will only enhance the look!
The day bed looks far from sterile and uninviting now. The crates give some warmth to the steel frame. If you follow me on Instagram, I shared a sneak peek at the fabric I will be using to recover the day bed. It is going to be stunning!