How to Make a Wooden Toy Box With Slide Top

Updated April 17, 2017

Wooden toy boxes are an attractive way to keep toys organised and put away when not in use. Each box can have a slide top so young children can easily open and close them, and they look neat and clean for shelf storage. The boxes can be painted, decorated and labelled for locating items quickly and putting them away neatly.

Measure the shelves the boxes will be placed on. Determine how many boxes will be placed on each shelf, most commonly two or three. The boxes can be squares or rectangles. Most shelves are about 12 inches high, so a 10-inch box would fit nicely.

Mark the wood to size based on the measurements of your choice; for example, if you are using ¾-inch-thick wood and you want 10-inch sides, mark three pieces of board to 10 inches on each side, one side piece at 10 by 9½ inches and the base board at 11 inches square. The sliding top will be made of a thinner piece, measuring ¼ inch thick by 9½ inches square.

Use the table saw to cut the wood panels to size.

Use the router to smooth the edges of the panels, rounding them off

Use the router to cut a groove in the base ¼ inch deep.

Use the table saw to cut a tendon on the bottoms of the side pieces of the box. The tendon should be ¼ inch thick, making the cutaway area on each side also ¼ inch deep.

Take the two side pieces of the box and cut a groove ¼ inch in from the edge and ¼ inch deep.

Take the two opposing sides of the box and cut a tendon on each end. These will be ¼ inch deep and thick and will fit into the grooves that were cut into the other two sides.

Cut a groove at the top of the three sides ¼ inch down and ¼ inch deep with the router or table saw. This is where the top will slide in.

Assemble all pieces to make sure they fit. They should hold together in the box shape and have no spaces in the joints. If there are any spaces, use sandpaper to smooth the edges until they meet up.

Sand all pieces of the wood until smooth, starting with the 100 grit sandpaper followed by the 220 grit sandpaper.

Place wood glue along the tendons and grooves and fit all pieces back together except for the top. Use a clamp to hold in place until dry.

Decorate the toy box with stain, paint or any other personalizations of your choice. Then slide the top into place and start using using it.


The dovetail joint for the corners is another choice that can be used when creating the box frame.


Wear safety glasses when using any power tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood (one piece ¾ inch thick by 12 inches wide by 48 inches long and one piece ¼ inch thick by 9½ inches square)
  • Table saw or jigsaw
  • Nails
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Stain or paint
  • Router
  • Sandpaper (100 and 220 grit)
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About the Author

Sarah Haynes is a bachelor's degree graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been writing articles online since 2006, specializing in a variety of categories from decorating and building furniture to using programs on cell phones. While focusing on how-to articles, she has written a few pieces that expand on subjects telling about their origins and uses.