I was excited to create a space in my son’s room with three objectives. It needed to be aesthetically pleasing, provide a bench/seating area, and have the functional of toy storage. I love the cube organizer look, but I had a hard time finding one that was the length, style, and design I needed. The ones that were large enough were very expensive and the wood was not nearly sturdy enough for my rough and tough little boy. My husband and I decided to build our own so we could customize exactly the size and style we wanted. A lot of the store bought cube organizers and baskets are made of really thin, low quality material. This was a big an incentive for us to build our own because I wanted it to be sturdy and I wanted a bench area for my son to sit on.
First, we measured our space and decided about how wide we wanted the whole thing to be. Next, I bought 6 baskets at Ikea that would fit the space about how I had planned. I wanted to have basket storage all across the bottom cubbies for all my son’s toys. On the top level, I wanted to have room for a bench in the middle and open storage on the outside (which we are using as book shelves right now).
We decided to build this with 3/4″ thick MDF, which has held up nicely. Our measurements to fit the baskets properly and accommodate our desired dimensions came out to 83 1/4″ total wide and the bench area is 54 1/4″ wide. The cubbies came out to be 15 inch tall by 13 inch wide (to give ample space for the baskets). These dimensions allowed for the functionality of our baskets and the shape and size we desired. The total height on the sides is 31 1/2″. To put the cubes together we used wood glue and a nail gun to assemble the pieces. We used pocket screws to attach the inside sides of the top cubbies down to the bench in order to secure them.
I decided to paint the wood before assembling and do touch ups after my husband finished putting it together. This was much easier than it would have been trying to get a brush or roller inside each cubby. When painting MDF board you definitely need to use a primer. MDF soaks up paint like a sponge. After two coats of primer, I used an enamel paint in Alabaster from Sherwin Williams. I painted two coats of paint over the layer of primer.
After the paint dried we started assembling the cubes together. You can see in the photo below that we used clamps and wood glue. We also used a nail gun to put the cubbies together.
For the top two cubes on the interior sides, we used a couple pocket screws to hold the boards in place. This made them sturdy and held them in place. We couldn’t use the nail gun unless we shot nails in at an angle on both sides, so we used the pocket screws because they were stronger and hidden inside the cubby (not visible when sitting on the bench).
After we finished the cube organizer we used pine boards cut down to 3 inches wide for the ledge letter boards above it. We used 4″ wood screws to hang them with. We screwed the boards into the drywall (no studs necessary) since the letters will be the only things setting on them. We cut the boards down to a length that made sense for the space.
All items linked below: