Step-by-step guide to creating a funny “monster mouth” toy box
We've teamed up again with Cassie Fairy, a full-time blogger and magazine writer who hates buying things new and spends her time reusing, recycling and repurposing thinsgs. We challenged her to upcycle an item that you may find in a storage unit. We get so excited in our office when she sends through the photos of her projects. I'm sure you will agree that this toy storage box is absolutely gorgeous.
By Cassie Fairy
If you’ve got little ones, you know how much ‘stuff’ they can accumulate! So why not make a fun dinosaur face toy box for them? They’ll find the big dino mouth really funny as it opens up to munch their belongings and it’ll encourage them to put away their toys and books at the end of playtime.
You can turn something unloved – like this old lacquered blanket box – into a colourful and fun piece of furniture for your little one’s bedroom or playroom. The nostrils act as handles to make it easier to open and the spiky teeth are soft felt to keep little hands safe.
You will need:
- Old storage box
- Sand paper and sander
- Wood filler and palette knife
- Primer in grey
- Spray paint in red and green
- Timber baton
- MDF and cardboard
- Jig saw
- Two semi-circle handles (these are from Homebase)
- 5mm thick white felt
- Stapler and staples
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Large googly eyes (these are from The Works)
Sand off the top layer of the lacquer and smooth out any rough edges to make it safe for kids to use. If there’s any damage to the wood, apply a thin layer of wood filler using a palette knife. Smooth out and allow to dry thoroughly before sanding.
Wipe off the excess dust created by the sanding process to ensure a clean, smooth surface. Use a grey spray-on primer to cover the box inside and out.
Attach a wooden baton along the back of the toy box. This will ensure that the lid doesn’t bind on the dinosaur’s face when it’s screwed into place. Give this baton a coat of primer too.
Use a piece of cardboard the same width as the storage box to create a template for the dinosaur head. Fold the cardboard in half and draw on half of the face. Cut this out and, when unfolded, it will form a cutting template for the dino face.
Place the cardboard template onto the sheet of MDF and trace around the shape. Use a jig saw to cut along the line and create the dinosaur face. Sand down any rough edges and apply a coat of primer. Once this is dry, you can screw the dino head into the baton on the back of the storage box.
Next, add two semi-circular handles to the lid of the box. Give the handles a coat of primer and allow to dry thoroughly. Position the handles at the centre front of the lid to create dinosaur nostrils and screw into place.
Spray paint the inside of the toy box in red or pink paint to create the inside of the dinosaur’s mouth. Use a couple of fine coats and allow to dry thoroughly before spray painting the outside of the toy box with bright green spray paint.
Measure a piece of thick felt to the length of the outside edge of the lid. Cut triangle ‘teeth’ from the felt, leaving a 1-inch strip at the edge to help you attach it. Open the lid and glue or staple the teeth into place, with the points sticking upwards. When the lid is closed you can bend the felt down over the edge of the toy box.
Finally, use a hot glue gun to attach two large googly eyes to the dinosaur’s face. These ones are glow-in-the-dark and come from The Works. And there you have it: A funny-face dino toy box!
Has this project given you some inspiration for turning an old, unloved storage chest into something fun for the kids to keep their toys in? You could use different paint colours, such as blue or yellow, to create dragons or lions instead of a dinosaur. Just adjust the shape of the face to suit the animal your children have chosen, and add some stripes to create a tiger, or scales for a piranha fish. Let us know if you give it a go yourself, we’d love to see your creations!
Discover more upcycling articles
on Safestore’s blog where you may find inspiration. Or, if you’re looking to store some items which you may want to upcycle in future we have a range of self storage options in nearly 120 locations – find your nearest store
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