How to Build Wooden Cubbies

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Cubbies help children, parents and teachers organize their world. Cubbies work well alone, giving each child a place to store personal items. At home, cubbies help children and parents organize toys. Parents can also use cubbies to teach concepts. For example, work with your child to place all the books in one cubby, all the animals in another cubby and so on. The next week, change the pattern. Ask the child to put all the red toys in one cubby, while all the blue toys go in another.

Things You'll Need

  • Table Saw
  • Primer
  • Drill
  • 1 1/4-Inch Wood Screws
  • Paintbrush
  • 120-Grit Sandpaper
  • 2 Sheets, 4-By-8-Foot Plywood, 3/4-Inch Thick
  • Tape Measure
  • Phillips Head Drill Bit
  • Paint
  • Straight Edge

Measure a 48-by-48-inch square on one sheet of plywood. Cut out the square on the table saw. This is the back of the cubby.

Measure two 48-by-16 inch rectangles on the other half of the sheet of plywood. Cut them from the piece of wood. These are the top and bottom of the cubby unit. This leaves a single 48-by-16-inch rectangle. Cut 1-1/2 inch from the end of the rectangle giving you a 46-1/2-by-16-inch rectangle. This is the first cubby side

Measure and cut three more 46 1/2-inch rectangles on the second sheet of plywood. These are the other three sides of the cubby unit. This leaves a half sheet of plywood uncut.

Cut the final half sheet into three 16-by-48-inch rectangles. Cut six 15-inch lengths out of two of the strips. These are the cubby shelves. There will be some scrap left over. Cut the final 48-by-16-inch strip into 12 3 1/2-inch lengths. These 3 1/2-by-16-inch pieces are the cubby shelf supports. There will be scrap left over on this strip.

Measure 13 inches from one end of a cubby side. Lay a shelf support on the line and screw the support in place with two wood screws, one on either end of the support. Measure 13 inches from the top of the support and screw the second support in place. Repeat with the other three cubby sides.

Place supports on both sides of two cubby sides. There is no need to measure. Line them up with the supports on the opposite face of the board. These will be the interior sides for the cubby unit.

Stand up the sides on their longest 3/4-inch edge. Line up the boards so that the shelf supports face each other and all line up. The shelf supports are 13 inches from one end of the side and 13-1/2 inches from the other end. The 13-1/2 inch end is the top. Place the side 13 inches apart.

Place the top and bottom pieces against the top and bottom of the sides. Line up the sides of the unit with the end of the top and bottom. Screw through the top and bottom and into the edge of the sides to form a 48-inch square.

Measure the interior sides to ensure that they are 13 inches from the side of the unit and from each other. Screw through the top and bottom to secure the interior sides. Stand the unit upright.

Place a cubby shelf on top of each set of supports. Screw the shelf to the support with two screws on either side of the shelf.

Place the back of the cubby on the back face of the unit. Secure by screwing in a wood screw every 8 inches around the top, bottom and sides.

Sand the unit until all the edges are smooth and free of splinters.

Paint the unit with a wood primer and paint to match your décor.


  • Use 12-inch square baskets in each cubby to secure small items in the unit.


  • Always use caution when using a table saw.