Well, I don’t know about you but I have found that kids clothes take up A LOT of space. My Little Scientist is 5 years old now and I am reluctant to get rid of all those clothes he no longer wears on the off chance I might have another baby boy one day.
So I needed to find a creative storage solution to help with this growing mountain of clothes and this is what I made.
It’s basically an elevated massive flat square piece of wood that we fondly now call “The Stage”.
It is a great space for My Little Scientist to play, he loves to perform on it and play with his own toys that are layed out neatly in boxes along the back (currently in the boxes are hot wheels cars, a marble run and Lego). This stage has an unexpected benefit as well that it helps his toys in his room stay “contained”.
This means no annoying tiny pieces of lego lying in the path from the doorway to the bed as the toys all stay on the stage (well, mostly anyway).
Apart from being a super fun play space it has other great benefits. The reason I made it was of course was to help with storage. Under our stage we can fit four of those flat boxes designed to slide under beds. These boxes are great, they are thin as well so I have others lined up under his bed and stacked in the closet too.
With the remaining space under the stage I found a square box that fit perfectly, this soon became My Little Scientists special “Hidden Treasure Box” where he keeps all his little toys he loves to fiddle with but that don’t really particularly fit anywhere. You know the things I am talking about: a yo-yo, bouncy ball, McDonalds toys and all sorts of other random trinkets that are special to him.
He loves it because it is a secret, you wouldn’t know it was there unless someone told you.
I love it because all those little annoying toys now have a home…..OUT OF SIGHT!
I can slide out Box 3 and 4 to access them easily, so they are a great spot to store some other Toys such as lego or a train set. They can be easily pulled out to play with then packed away and out of sight when you want which makes it a great way to rotate toys so kids don’t get bored. The other boxes are a little harder to reach in Lego Dudes bedroom so they contain clothes I won’t need to touch for quite a while to come.
I painted the whole thing black and bought some carpet squares for the top to make it comfy to sit and play on. Then I sewed a cover for it in blue fabric to match the rest of his room (and cover up the boxes along the edges).
In the picture there is black road tape stuck on as he currently has a “transport theme” in his bedroom and this is a fun track to drive the cars along.
I have plans that one day My Little Scientist will outgrow the stage, probably right about the time my Little China Doll is ready to progress to “a big girl room” and then I can make a pretty girly coloured cover for her and fill the toy boxes with barbie dolls and dress-ups. I might even hang one of those pretty Chiffon canopy’s to make it feel like a truly magical place to be.
It was pretty easy to make, and is very sturdy. It would work well in a kids playroom too, or even outside in an undercover area or garden with tools, sand toys or sports equipment stowed underneath. I should warn you though, it is heavy to move so you won’t want to be changing your mind where it goes too often.
My little China Doll thinks it’s great fun just climbing up and down from the stage at the moment. I look forward to seeing her jump around and dance on it in a pretty tutu one day.
So the stage is a winner all round. Practical, organised, fun and even has an element of surprise. If you’d like to make one yourself, it’s not too hard. Here’s what I did……
Buy all the materials
- Pine beams (mine were 70mm wide and 70mm thick for the frame and the 12 legs, nice and thick and strong)
- 15mm MDF for the top
- Strong wood glue
- 12 Long Bolts to go through the MDF, pine frame and legs (mine were 130mm long)
- 4 bed boxes for storage (and keep a look out for a square box the perfect size to be a secret hidden treasure box that uses the last remaining space underneath)
- Paint (Optional)
- 9 carpet Squares (optional)
- Pretty Material and cotton if you want to make a cover for it (optional)
Make a frame with pine beams as shown below using Lap Joints and Half Lap Joints to make the beams flush. My frame is 1580 x 1460 but I discovered after I built this that carpet squares from Bunnings is the easiest and cheapest way to make a soft play space (rather than buying a piece of carpet to fit) and 9 of them joined together make a 1.5 meter square so if I made this again I would alter the dimensions slightly to suit this. Also, make sure that the vertical beams in the diagram are positioned wide enough to fit one of your storage boxes between each one.
Glue this frame together with a strong wood glue
Cut your MDF to size and glue it onto one side of the timber frame.
Measure and pre-drill a hole for the screw to fit in that goes all the way through the MDF and Pine frame
Cut 12 short legs with the same pine timber that was used for the frame. These should be slightly longer than the height of the boxes you have chosen for storage (I made mine each 20mm long) and glue them in place on the frame at each place where the wood crosses over as indicated in the diagram above with X
Attach the 12 screws through the MDF and Pine frame to the legs, The screws will need to be countersunk so they don’t stick up and cause a tripping hazard.
Now your stage is basically finished and you are ready for the finishing touches: You can paint it and place the carpet squares on top, then sew a lovely cover for it.
If you get this far, congratulations! You will have a wonderfully fun, very sturdy and extremely practical stage for your kids to enjoy. Don’t forget you can place a few matching toy boxes along the top too for even more storage!
I’d love to hear from anyone who makes one of these or something similar. Please share any tips and tricks you found helpful or new ways of using it.