The Beginner Builder’s Book Box-How to Build It

I genuinely think it will shock you how simple, yet sturdy, this building project is. It can easily be completed on a Saturday morning or summer afternoon.

It will produce a solid book box that can last the duration of the child’s school years and maybe even beyond!

This project is recommended for children ages 4 and up with adult help and supervision.

My boys had just turned 6 and 5 when they built their book boxes and it was exhilarating to watch them hammer away!

(I was having so much fun that day that I didn’t think to take a picture.)

The wooden book box idea came to mind after I watched countless plastic bins and wicker baskets crack, crush and crumble in our home.

I got tired of looking for something to hold our children’s books that wouldn’t break, AND I needed a space for their homeschooling binders and workbooks.


One day, I thought of WOOD! And I thought about how much my boys would LOVE to hammer in some nails.

So, I measured books and binders. I drew up a diagram with dimensions. And I drove my kids to Home Depot.

When we got there, we discovered that Home Depot has their own Saturday morning building projects. So neat! We stayed to complete their project, then bought our own materials for our book boxes and headed home.

NOTE: It’s important to say that I found this Beginner Builder’s Book Box to be A LOT easier to complete than the craft building projects that Home Depot offers.

I’m not trying to downplay the projects at Home Depot AT ALL. Home Depot is so generous and genius for offering such workshops for children the 1st Saturday of each month. We go to them regularly!

What I’ll admit, is that my young children (now ages 7, 6 and 3) still need quite a bit of help completing each step of those projects.

With the book box, you hammer in the first two nails and then your child can run with it. You just need to be close by for guidance and support and to keep them moving along.

Here are the steps to building it!

  1. Go to Home Depot.

2. Pick out a 1 inch by 12 inch by 6 foot common board. They’re usually found in the back right corner of the store.

Complete piece of wood

3. Ask a Home Depot employee to cut the large piece of wood. Each cut piece will be 12 inches wide since the entire piece of wood is 12 inches wide.

The Home Depot employee needs to cut 4 pieces that are 10 inches long and 1 piece that is 13 1/2 inches long. There will be some wood leftover. Take that home too in case you want to use it for something else.

4. Get a box of 1-1/2 inch finish nails.

If you don’t already have a light weight hammer at home, you’ll want one of those too.

5. Check out. It will cost you around $18.00 for the wood and nails.

6. Drive home and build the box!

Make sure you choose to complete the project at a time and place where your young builder can happily hammer and won’t bother anyone with the noise.

The hammering gets loud. This project is meant to be a joy and a delight for your child. Do pick a time and place that will ensure such.

Here are the instructions on how to build the box:

  1. One piece measures 12″ x 13.5″. Set that piece aside.
  2. Line the 1st two pieces of wood together like this. (They both measure 12″ x 10″.) The 10″ sides should be lined up together.

This is the hardest part of the entire project. Your child needs to hold the wood steady while you hammer in the 1st two nails (one on each corner). If your child can’t hold it steady, you can try placing something sturdy under the horizontal piece to hold it in place for you.

3. Hammer in one nail in each corner.

4. Hold the the two pieces up while your child hammers in 5-10 nails in between the first two. Make sure they hammer in the nails close to the edge and straight down.

There’s a good chance that your child will hammer a nail through the board and out the side making a sharp notch. Try to avoid this, but understand that it can happen easily with a young builder hammering for the first time.

5. Take another 12″ x 10″ board. Place it under the horizontal board on the other side. Line up the edges.

Hammer in one nail on each corner. Have your child hammer in 5-10 nails between the 1st two nails.

Turn the structure over so that one side is flat on the floor and the two sides are standing up vertically.

Rest the 4th piece of wood that is 12″ x 10″ on top of the two vertical boards.

Hammer a nail into each corner. Have your child hammer in 5-10 more nails between the 2 nails on the left side and between the 2 nails on the right side.

Turn the box so that one opening is sitting on the floor and the other opening is face up.

Place the 5th and final piece of wood on top so that the edges line up.

Hammer one nail into each corner. Have your child hammer in 5-10 more nails along each edge of the book box.

Turn the book box over. Done!

Note: Occasionally, the 6 foot piece of board won’t be an exact 12″ wide. If such is the case, you might have some wood hanging off one edge. Your child can write his/her name on that extra edge or just leave it alone.

Once the book box is complete you can begin using it right away or have your child paint it. My boys painted their boxes. Then, they applied a couple coats of Mod Podge. Their boxes are on the left and right.

Take it a step further and have your child write out how to build it.

Here’s a guided lesson to help your child write his/her own instructions.

Next month, I’ll be posting how to build The Surprisingly Simple Sustainable Shelf!