Project Toybox

As there is no casual way to say this, ahhem, let me just gloat about it: we’ve been commissioned to make a bespoke toy box!

Honestly, I’m not pulling your leg here. Remember that fairy tale toy box we made for some friends? You know, the one for a little boy’s second birthday. Well somebody saw it, loved it and asked us to make one just  for them. We were over the moon. That said, straight after being asked we started freaking out over the magnitude of the project.

So off we set to try and source a toy box or chest to upcycle and we sort of stumbled at the first hurdle. Normally, you would be falling over chests at boot fairs and second hand shops, but we couldn’t find a single one. Where were they all? Then we had a new idea. Why not just make one? Which is exactly what we did.

Making the box was fairly simple as I had my trusty Kreg Jig. I used red timber planks to make the sides, base and bottom. The Kreg Jig made joining them up really easy. I screwed them together and used a corner piece of wood for a clean finish. On a more scary level I used a router to give the top a nice rounded edge. Now when I say scary, I mean scary. It’s a sharp blade that spins like a helicopter and gives me visions of lost limbs. This router has been sitting in the shed for months while I plucked up the courage. I’m glad I faced my fears, it looked brilliant.

Next came the finish, which is where Anna got to work her magic. The brief was tricky as it needed to be quite personal to the birthday boy, have a link to family heritage and be something the little guy wants. Plus we had no idea what his room looked like, so we were winging it for a bit. Although saying that, we had some brilliant help from Stuart, who commisioned the piece, on getting the theme just right.

The plan was to build in the family crest of arms, so we all agreed on a medieval theme. So Anna set about cutting and designing the various character templates…knights, dragons and various medieval type things. At first Anna tried these with card, but didn’t get the crisp finish we needed, so moved onto acetate for the templates. It sounds like a lot of work but the finish with acetate was so much stronger.

Beyond that, it was really simple. Gently sponging on the templates the creative story started to come together. We then hand-painted the name onto the top and side and got on with distressing the box for a worn finish. To finish we used beeswax to seal the artwork and preserve the wood. Job done!

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