The shed holds a special fascination and even excitement for kids. There are many mysterious objects that Mum and Dad use, poisonous and sharp things they’re not allowed to touch, and then there’s what goes on at the workbench! You can introduce your littlies to pretend DIY by making them their own workbench scaled down to their height, so they can be beside you ‘helping’ with the hammering and building. The bench is about bellybutton height for most four- to six-year-olds and is simple to make out of dressed 70 x 35mm pine or spruce.
Gather your supplies
• Legs (4) 70 x 35 x 465mm MGP10 pine
• Rails (4) 70 x 35 x 340mm MGP10 pine
• Top and Shelf (12) 70 x 35 x 900mm MGP10 pine
• Rear uprights (2) 70 x 35 x 965mm MGP10 pine
• Rear top 70 x 35 x 900mm MGP10 pine
• Rear centre rail 70 x 35 x 830mm MGP10 pine
• Pegboard 900 x 500 x 4mm hardboard
You’ll also need
PVA adhesive; cordless drill; 75 and 25mm screws; acrylic paint (we used Dulux Weathershield low sheen in Gogo Blue)
Notes: 1. All joints are glued and screwed. 2. Sizes can be scaled up for taller children.
To make a leg frame, glue and screw a leg to a bottom rail with rail about 10mm up from bottom of leg. We used post and rail construction, with rails on the edge butting against broad flat of legs. As this dressed timber is slightly rounded, set rail about 2-3mm back from edge of leg to give a more professional looking joint.
Complete frame with top rail flush at top and also set back from round edge, then add other leg. Make second leg frame.
To make back frame to support pegboard, screw rear top to 2 rear uprights, then add rear centre rail. This rail is used on edge, with the top edge 535mm up from bottom of rear uprights. To hold rear centre rail flush while screwing onto front of rear uprights, place on offcuts or blocks.
To fix leg frames to back frame, glue and clamp leg frames to rear uprights spaced 10mm in from outer edge of rear uprights, then screw in place.
To prepare bottom shelving, first mark notches in ends of shelf outer pieces by squaring from legs. Overhang shelves over rails equally and mark. By notching ends of shelving they’ll wrap around legs nicely. Notches for back piece of shelving should be 80 x 35mm and notches for front piece 80 x 45mm.
To cut notches, make a series of parallel saw cuts to right depth (35 or 45mm) for length of notch (80mm).
Knock out waste with a hammer, then smooth bottom by paring with a chisel.
Cut a 45° 10mm triangular chamfer off exposed corners of front piece of shelving so they’re less sharp.
Lay out shelf pieces and check they fit. Ease housings slightly if too tight, then predrill and screw down so there’s an even 10mm overhang at each end. Repeat for top and, as with bottom, cut a 45° chamfer off front corners.
Paint pegboard in Gogo Blue, or you can use any leftover bright paint you may have. Allow to dry. Screw to back frame above benchtop using short screws. Now all that remains is to fill the pegboard with loads of toy tools!