Build a tool box caddy

You can build a "tool box" style caddy using two thrift store cutting boards and some other simple supplies. So easy!Can you believe Man Podger Walter built this tool box caddy from scratch? I know! He’s that good. You definitely have to check out his tutorial – you can build your own, or you can revamp an old wood tool box in the same way. It’s so fun. And cute!

As for this new project, I must admit this is by far my favorite! I really enjoyed making this. It ties together my fascination with vintage Fisher Price toys and my LOVE for vintage illustrations! Especially since I took my grandfather’s approach to fabrication. My grandfather was always making “Folk Art” and “primitive” furniture and objects with easy construction. No doubt this experience led me to study illustration and furniture design.

You can build a "tool box" style caddy using two thrift store cutting boards and some other simple supplies. So easy!People always ask me how I come up with my ideas. I tell them it comes from just about anything and everything. I use my iPhone to take photos of objects that inspire, take notes and sketch/doodle away! I’ll tell you how this project came about. Sometimes after working too hard in my studio, I just need a get away trip to fuel my imagination. Trips to vintage shops, craft and wood supply stores are on the top of the list.

InspirationOne afternoon I went to a vintage junk shop where I saw two mini cutting boards for 50 cents each. These could be sides to a “tool box”. . . Then I came across a (discarded) little Golden Book “GOOD NIGHT LITTLE BEAR,” illustrated by Richard Scarry (also for 50 cents). I paid for my finds and headed to my favorite wood supply store. It’s like walking into a candy store – all shapes and sizes of wood items. in the bargain barrel I saw this 12″ green dowel for 35 cents and knew I had my handle. I used some scrap wood for the sides and screws from my coffee can stash of screws. Who doesn’t have a drawer or jar of various screws? No measurements, just use what you have on hand.

Gather These Supplies

• 2 sides for the ends
• Dowel (at least 1″ in diameter) Tip: Use an old broom handle
• 2 longer pieces for the sides of the tool box (not pictured)
• 1 piece for the bottom (not pictured)
• Stainless steel finishing washers
Mod Podge Gloss
• Book pages or other paper

StepOneThis step is optional, though it makes assembly easier and a sturdier handle. So don’t worry if you don’t have any Forstner bit(s). My dowel was 1″ inch wide so I used a 1″ Forstner bit and drilled about halfway, making an indentation for the dowel to rest. Then cut the sides to your desired size.

StepTwoNext, I primed all my pieces with Kilz primer and let dry. Then I painted with FolkArt Engine Red – I let this dry and then sanded the edges for a primitive look.

StepThreeOnce all the piece are dried, I assembled the tool box without any screws. Looks great! Now to decoupage the pieces with any Mod Podge!

Tip: I like to use a Mod Podge Brayer to get the air bubbles out. Let dry for at least 15 minutes. Then seal all the pieces with Mod Podge and spray any preferred sealer over the top.

StepFourYou are ready to assemble. Insert one end of the dowel to the (inside) side piece and repeat for the other side piece. Then using an awl, mark where you would like two screws to go into each side. Use a cordless drill to pre-drill each pilot hole. Then fasten each bottom side. I used stainless steel finishing washers for aesthetic purposes – they are about a buck for a bag of 6. I bought two bags at The Home Depot. I really like the look . . . Repeat the same steps for the sides of the tool box and you are done.

You can build a "tool box" style caddy using two thrift store cutting boards and some other simple supplies. So easy!TIP: Line the inside with some plastic cups for compartmental storage for crayons, markers, colored pencils, blue sticks etc. This tote is also great for holding various Mod Podge jars. Makes for a nice craft case for the crafter on the go!

You can build a "tool box" style caddy using two thrift store cutting boards and some other simple supplies. So easy!You can also place some books in the tool box. Then it acts as a special keepsake for a child’s room! I really like the way this came out. And the stainless steel washers add a special touch to this tool box caddy. Who was it that said “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?”


  1. says

    Wow! Great job Walter. Cute, functional, easy and easily adapted to various needs. Genius!
    Now if I could only train myself to see things like tiny cutting boards and think “tool box” rather than “I want some cheese” I’d be all set.

  2. Anonymous says

    Love this caddy and the story that goes with it. I admire your creative problem solving approach, using what you can scrounge up and making it all work. You’re an inspiration. Love those old Golden Books, too. Almost can’t stand to cut them up, except there are so many of them floating around out there. (Yep, I have this one, too.) Gotta hand it to Golden Books, they’re cheap enough to be affordable for every child to have a whole library of them. I’m very fond of certain GB illustrators from the forties and fifties. Not sure the modern ones will be as treasured in the future…. Then again, what is the future of printed books? Yikes; now I’m almost afraid to cut up what may be soon to disappear for good! BTW, sometime school fairs (in the Spring) are a good source for used children’s books.

  3. creativejewishmom/sara says

    Love it, just adorable! And that illustration with the Japanese fish kite happens to be one of my all time favorites! Thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling sunday!