Making A Personalized Toy Box For Your Child

With a little time and a few simple craft supplies, you can design a personalized toy chest that will make playtime and clean-up time more fun.

Personalized toy chests can be costly. But with a little creativity, you can design an easy, inexpensive toy box that your child will love. Here's how to proceed with this project:

1. Begin by purchasing a plastic storage tote. A 24 or 32-gallon bin is usually substantial enough to hold an assortment of toys. These boxes come in various colors so you can buy one to match your child's room decor. Another variation to this is to purchase a round, plastic, garbage container with a lid. This is a great way to literally turn a trash item into a treasure chest!

2. Next, visit your local craft store and buy some plastic alphabet stencils, and a large, whimsical, design stencil such as flowers, balloons, teddy bears, hearts, etc. If you're new to using stencils, select a simple pattern. Complete your purchase by choosing an assortment of acrylic paints in either primary colors (red, yellow, or blue) or pastel shades such as pink and lavender. Don't forget the foam brushes and plastic paint palettes if you don't have any at home.

3. Arrange a visual layout. Take your time to plan out a design that appeals to you. Remember, once you've gone to all the trouble of putting it together, you want to be able to see and appreciate the design. So be sure to arrange your layout in a way that is both pleasing and noticeable. Decide where you wish to paint your design-on the lid and/or on the four side panels. Use masking tape to mark out a straight edge for painting a personalized title such as "Allie's Toys" or "Joey's Toy Chest."

4. Apply the alphabet stencils spelling out your title. Place the desired acrylic colors onto the plastic palette. Dip your foam brush into paint palettes, and begin stenciling letters onto the plastic tote. If you are using one foam brush, be sure to wash and thoroughly dry your brush before changing acrylic colors.

* Here are some variations on personalizing the toy chest if you're not comfortable using paint and stencils:



Buy large foam and/or wooden alphabets, and use tacky glue to apply the alphabets and to create a personalized title.

Buy rub-on alphabet transfers and follow package instructions by rubbing a personalized title onto the tote's surface

Using heavy-stock colored paper (scrapbook papers generally work well for this purpose), and trace out a title. Glue your title onto the toy box, and apply decoupage glue to seal your title design.

5. Next, apply a design using the design stencil. To keep the stencil in place, try taping it down. This will free up your hand and allow you to apply paint more liberally. Remember, if using more than one color, use a different brush or clean your existing brush. Your foam should be dry, as acrylic color will run or become watery.

*A variation to the design stencil if you're not a painter: Cut out a colorful picture from wrapping paper, a gift bag, an old or inexpensive picture book from your child's bookshelf or a magazine picture, and paste it onto the toy chest. Be sure to apply a varnish over it.

6. Let project dry for three to four hours. Remove any tape used for marking. If desired, once your project has completely dried, you can apply a clear gloss varnish to further preserve the painted surface.

In a few easy steps, you will have a toy chest that is decorative, functional and above all, a playful and efficient compartment for storing toys! This can also make a great gift for birthdays and /or holidays.

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