Children furniture from plywood

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Project by Alin Dobra posted 10-10-2007 02:34 PM 1962 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made these two pieces of furniture from plywood some 2 years ago. They were both intended to be used by my son (3 1/2 years old at the time). My main consideration for building both pieces was keep the cost of materials low but get something reasonably nice looking and, most importantly, sturdy.

The piece in the first picture is a small mobile table that is probably the most used piece of furniture in the house. My kid likes it a lot since he can drag it anywhere in the house without asking an adult for help. He uses it for activities like writing and painting, eats on it, and what not. When some of my friends saw the this table, they wanted one for their daughter. I made one for them that is very much the same but has heart-shape cutouts form the sides instead of square cutouts.
The table is build out of 3/4” plywood with biscuit joints. This piece took about one afternoon to build.

In the second picture you can see a toy storage piece. It got populated with toys before the finish was completely dry on it and has been extensively used since. It is build from 1/2 plywood using dados for the shelves and but joints for the small pieces of plywood that prevent toys from falling out. While I expected the table to be solid since it is build from thicker plywood, I was surprised how sturdy the second piece is. It took me about one day of work to build this piece. Some friends spent that much time looking through the stores for something remotely as good and in the end decided is easier to help be build one for them as well (which we did).

The finish on both pieces is polyurethane. Both these pieces survived 2 years of abuse without any sign of failure. While not exactly fine furniture these type of pieces are surprisingly easy to build and more than appropriate for a small child that might be hard to convince that his furniture cost a lot of money thus he/she should be more careful.

I’m posting these projects in the hope that they will inspire you to build something similar for your grandchild or granddaughter (or son/daughter if you are in your thirties like me). They are indeed child approved.

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

6 comments so far

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4012 days

#1 posted 10-10-2007 03:32 PM

Beautiful work Alin. I just love working for the kids too.

-- Jim

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4119 days

#2 posted 10-10-2007 04:34 PM

Great projects. Very functional.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4240 days

#3 posted 10-10-2007 05:10 PM

Hey, standing up to kid use speaks for itself. They must be sturdy, and they look good, too!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View DrsHobby's profile


38 posts in 3910 days

#4 posted 10-10-2007 05:35 PM

This is great. You made this to be functional and cheap and it served its purpose. I think everyone who does woodworking at any level does this type of work at one time. It serves its function as furniture that you intended and is loved by the people who use it. I am really glad you posted this.

-- -Alex, St Charles, MO - "Measure twice, cut once, and go back to the lumber yard because you still screwed up."

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 4016 days

#5 posted 10-10-2007 08:29 PM

Great projects! Kid’s furniture do not require hand rubbed finishes with mortice and tenon joints. It would break a woodworker’s heart if he did build it like that, and then watched his kids sytematically destroy it.

There is great satisfaction in building projects that are used day in and day out that get the job done.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4059 days

#6 posted 10-11-2007 04:16 AM

Great projects, Alin! Most of my projects are inspired by needs of my kids or parents. Nice!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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