Build a Vintage-Style Toolbox

Building Your Own DIY Toolbox: Step-by-Step Guide

I do my best to put my tools away when I’m done using them. Really, I do! But for some reason, tools always end up on the bar area in the kitchen or on my beautiful walnut cabinet in the living room. These very reasons are why I decided to create these DIY toolbox plans! This box is extra-special, too – it features three compartments and two small drawers, perfect for keeping all of my stuff at hand!

diy plans toolbox copy

I used a colored stain on the tool box with the glue resist technique to add a nice design to the front of the box and drawers. Instead of a dowel for a handle, I used an old spindle I purchased from my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Although it was a bit short, I extended it by adding 1/2″ of a 1″ dowel at each end. Though I’m not exactly happy with the stain on the birch plywood I used, I think it may be fabulous on another project!

diy vintage toolbox SANY2638


  • 1-1/4″ brad nails (<– affiliate link!)
  • 2″ screws (<– affiliate link! – for handle)
  • Wood glue (<–affiliate link!)
  • Sandpaper (<– affiliate link! – 100, 150, 220 grits)
  • Two small knobs for the drawers
  • Finishing supplies (paint or stain, and paste wax)


  • One half sheet of 1/2″ plywood
  • One 1″ dowel at 2′

Cut List:

All pieces (except for the handle) are cut from 1/2″ plywood

  • Two – 8″ x 10-1/2″ – Sides
  • One – 10-1/2″ x 21″ – Bottom
  • Two – 12″ x 22″ – Front & Back
  • Two – 10-1/2″ x 14-1/2″ – Center Sides
  • Two – 10-1/2″ x 13″ – Shelves
  • Two – 10″ x 10-3/4″ – Drawer Bottoms
  • Four – 2-3/8″ x 10″ – Drawer Sides
  • Two – 2-3/8″ x 11-3/4″ – Drawer Backs
  • Two – 3″ x 12-1/2″ – Drawer Fronts
  • One – 1″ Dowel at 13″ – Handle


Notes About the Project:

Sand each piece thoroughly before assembly. It makes finishing so much easier!

Step One

Cut the pieces for the sides and bottom. Attach the sides to the bottom as shown using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails.
diy plans toolbox_Back & Sides

Step Two

Cut the pieces for the front and back. The front is the only piece detailed in the drawing. The back is the same size overall but without the openings for the drawers. Draw the cut lines for the drawers then drill holes just inside the lines large enough for the jigsaw blade to fit through. Cut the drawer openings using a jigsaw. Attach the front and back to the sides using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails.
diy plans toolbox_Front

diy plans toolbox_FB Placement

Step Three

Cut the pieces for the center sides and shelves. Attach the shelves as shown using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails.
diy plans toolbox_Center Shelves

diy plans toolbox_Center Placement

Step Four

Cut the pieces for the drawer boxes. Attach the sides to the bottoms using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails. Attach the back as shown in the same manner. Attach the front to the drawer boxes allowing for overlap as shown using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails. Check the fit of the drawers in the openings and sand the openings as needed.
diy plans toolbox_Drawer BSdiy plans toolbox_Drawer FB

Step Five

Cut the handle from the dowel rod. Pre-drill a hole in the center. Drill a countersunk hole in the top of each center side piece. Attach the handle using glue and 2″ screws.
diy plans toolbox_Handle

Finish as desired. Apply a coat of paste wax to the bottoms and sides of each drawer box to allow the drawers to slide smoothly.

These DIY plans to build a toolbox are easy, right? The toolbox would make a fantastic gift for any woodworker, scrapbooker, knitter, or anyone you choose!

Originally posted 2013-10-07 08:00:39.