Instructions

* Carmen De La Paz, who painted this chest, uses paint and primer in one to save time, but she says you can use a separate tinted primer for the base (to achieve a dark color in fewer coats), and colored acrylic craft paints for the top coat. Paint stores are usually happy to tint a primer close to the paint color you’ll be working with. Apply a waterproof polyurethane sealer to make the surface more durable.

  1. Use sandpaper to thoroughly smooth the surface of the wooden chest. (The better the sanding, the better the painted finish will be; Carmen first used 240 sandpaper and followed by sanding with 320, a finer grade.) After ­sanding, use a dry cloth or paper towels to wipe off excess dust.
  2. With screwdriver or drill, remove hardware or hinges. Set aside.
  3. Use red paint and the flat paintbrush to base-coat the end sides of the box. Apply as many coats as needed for full coverage, letting dry between coats. (Carmen says two should do it, although the red may require three.) If needed, use painter’s tape to mask off edges next to adjacent front and back sides.
  4. Use blue paint and the flat paintbrush to base-coat the lid and front and back sides. Apply as many coats as needed for full coverage, letting dry between coats.
  5. Use pieces of painter’s tape to section off two evenly spaced vertical stripes on each end and the front and back sides. Use yellow paint and the flat paintbrush to paint within the masked-off striped sections. Apply as many coats as needed for full coverage, letting dry between coats. Once paint is completely dry, remove painter’s tape.
    Note: When painting stripes, Carmen recommends ­loading the brush with paint and starting the stroke in the middle of the stripe or desired paint section, working outward to the edges of the tape to get crisper lines. It’s always better to build up paint in several thin layers than in a few thick layers, she says.
  6. Using the tape measure, align stencils on the lid. Begin with the center letter and work outward. Use painter’s tape to secure stencils, one at a time. Then use the round stencil brush and yellow paint to coat each cutout letter. Dab paint onto open stencil with an up-and-down motion. Apply as many coats as needed for full coverage, letting dry between coats. Once paint is completely dry, remove stencil and tape. Repeat for each letter. (If desired, use the same technique to add the child’s name to the front of the toy box, centered between the yellow stripes.)
  7. After all tape is removed, replace the hardware, using a screwdriver or drill.

Safety tip: Little fingers can get caught in lids that slam down too quickly, so consider replacing your toy box hinges with the slower-lowering safety hinges. Or you can affix small strips of adhesive foam to the edges where the lid meets the sides to prevent accidents.

DIY Painted Toy Box craft originally designed by Carmen De La Paz, North Hollywood, California.

DIY Painted Toy Box and tutorial photos by Jim Wieland, Country Woman magazine.