One of my BFFs contacted me a couple weeks ago about doing a pirate treasure chest toy box for another of her friend’s baby shower. I was SO excited! I absolutely LOVE doing projects for kids! (Have you seen my Puppet Theater, Tres Chic Play Kitchen, and Bugga Boo’s Play Kitchen?) Creating things for children is so fun, because it gives you the opportunity to really get whimsical. You get to put yourself in a kid’s point of view and think what YOU would have wanted when you were little.
So I started this project with a large wooden shipping box I purchased for cheap from my hubby’s work. Doesn’t it look piratey already?!?!
Since it is for a child’s room, first priority is (of course) that it be safe for a child to use and be around. So the first thing I did was to sand the heck out of the box, making sure all the surfaces were smooth and all the corners and edges rounded. This actually was the most time consuming part of the project. As I was sanding away, it was exposing an olive green paint under the gray paint on top, and getting down to the bare wood in places as well. I began the project thinking I was going to paint the whole thing, but when I was done sanding, I LOVED the rustic finish. It was just perfect for an authentic looking pirate’s treasure chest!
BFF requested that the top of the chest read “Ethan’s Booty.” (CUTE!) I created a stencil by simply printing it in a piratey font on plain computer paper, taping the pieces of paper together, and cutting out the letters with an exacto knife. (Gar!! Why doesn’t spell check like the word “piratey”?!?! That’s totally a word…) I painted the stenciled lettering in a bright deep red acrylic paint, then distressed the lettering with some sand paper.
I decided that the inside of the lid would be a great place for a piratey (ha!) alphabet. So, in the same font that I used for the top, I printed out the alphabet on some card stock, each letter with a faint pirate ship behind it. I tore the edges and mod podged them to lid.
The final touch was sewing a liner for the inside of the chest. I don’t know about you, but I think liners for toy boxes are a must-have. There’s always crumbs and junk of all sorts that ends up at the bottom of toy boxes, and it’s nice to have something that’s easily removable so you can dump the junk and be back in business. I found this perfect red and black striped cotton material at the thrift store, and it was only $3 for 4 yards!! Steal!! I sewed the liner and attached velcro to the edges to make it easily removable.
When I was all done, I did several layers of a water-based Polycrylic, to make sure the whole thing was good and sealed and child-safe.
Here’s how it looks all finished up!
Another MUST I forgot to mention. When you’re making something to be used as a toy chest, you need to buy lid supports to keep the lid from falling down on a little one. It could really cause serious injury if you don’t. You can see the lid support in the second-to-last picture above. I believe it’s called a friction lid support, and you can get them at the hardware store. They were brass which I painted ORB. I used one on each side of the lid, because this one is HEAVY!!