Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to build the Barn Wood Style Fold-n-Go Tote...

Need a fun tote for Summer BBQ's?  I've got my Barnwood fold-n-go tote instructions for you right here… 

This tote is designed after this Pottery Barn Kid's Art Cubby below...

I Designed this particular tote a little bit smaller and more compact, making it easier to use for travel and different occasions than the Pottery Barn Kid's version above.

I also modified my design to have Handles,  Hinges and a Latch for the convenience of folding, closing and storing it as demonstrated above.

I also modified the cubbies on this design to accommodate larger items such as plates.

Finished measurements:
Unfolded: 29 1/2 in. Long x 8 in. High  x 3 3/4 in. wide
Folded: 14 3/4 in. Long x 8 in. High x 7  1/2 in. wide

To see more photos of this tote and another white tote I built and the many different ways you can use these totes, you can see that here or by clicking on the photo below:

*There are also more photos of this tote and some ideas of the different uses for it at the end of this tutorial...

This is how I built the smaller Barn wood tote:

2 - Pieces of 1/2 in. thick plywood.  Cut at:  8 inches high by
     14 3/4 inches long
3-  8 ft 3 in. wide Pine Boards   (These boards will be cut at 
     different lengths)  I also did not use all of the boards, I had 
     some extra left over from the third board.
1 pkg. 1 1/2 in hinge (The one I purchased had 2 hinges.  You 
    will need both hinges)
1 pkg of 1 inch hook and eye latch
Stain of your choice
Paint of your choice
      1 1/2 in Brad Nails

Miter saw
Table Saw
Jig Saw
Brad nailer
Air compressor
Palm Sander
1/2 in drill bit 
Stencils for numbers 

***Note Before I made any cuts to my pine boards, I pre-painted them white, sanded them down lightly, and next stained them to make my tote look like barnwood.  I did this before I made all of my cuts because it is easier to do all of the painting, sanding and staining before the tote is assembled.  I highly suggest doing this if you are doing a barn wood look.  If you would like to see a tutorial on how to make a barn wood look, you can see that here on a Cubby organizer tutorial. 

Once the 2 pieces of plywood were cut and the handles were cut into them: I also painted, sanded and stained them too at the same time I worked on the pine boards.

Once all of the boards are painted and stained its time to make some cuts.

Here is a Picture of all of the Cuts you are going to be making:

***** One other big note!  The 3 in. wide pine boards technically measure 2.5 in wide from the factory cut.  Do not make any cuts on the width of the pine boards except for 2 pieces that I will tell you about later.  All other cuts of the 3 in. pine boards will just be cut in lengths.

Cut List:
From the 3 in wide pine boards you will need:

4- Pine Boards cut at 14 3/4 in long.  Keep the width of the board.
7- Pine Boards cut at a 45 degree angle at 5 1/2 in. long.  
    (The 5 1/2 in. is the HIGHEST  point of the 45 degree cut for
     each of the slots.) Remember no cuts to the width of these 
      boards also!

Now this is the part where you will need to cut the width of the pine boards:   :)

2 - Pine Boards cut at 14 3/4 in. long  AND 1 1/8 in. wide.
       (This is How I did this: I ripped one 3 in. pine board on the 
         table saw  1 1/8 in. wide at least 30 inches long.  From this 30
         in. long board, I cut 2 boards measuring 14 3/4 in long.  
         These 2 boards will be the top front boards of the tote.)

Cutting out the handles:

I next cut the handles into each of the plywood pieces.  (I will say, this was the most time consuming part of this project for me, BUT, I LOVE the handles!  They make the whole project.  They are just a little stressful.  Once you get passed this point, its really just all assembly!

So you have your two pieces of plywood that you have cut at 8 inches high and 14 3/4 wide:

On the long side of the board, I found the center of the board near the top.  I measured down from the top 1/2 in.  I made a rectangle measuring 3 1/2 in. wide by 1 1/8 in. tall.    I next drilled a couple holes inside this rectangle with a 1/2 in wide drill bit so I could get the jig saw blade inside this rectangle to cut it out.  Next I cut the rectangle out with the jig saw.

****Note My handles did not turn out perfect.  I did sand them down with my sander and sandpaper.  I think even one handle is different in size than the other handle.  I just made sure they were lined up as best as they could could be once they were cut so they could be used as handles.  So don't get discouraged if they don't come out perfect.  As long as they line up when the two boards are placed back to back and you can use them as a handle then you will be just fine! Now that your handles are cut, you can paint, sand, and stain the plywood to have the barn wood finish.

At this point, this is all of the cuts you will have made:  

***Notice that there is only 3 slot pieces cut for the right half due to the fact that one of the slots is going to be wider when it is assembled.  If you do not want a wider slot, then you will need to cut one more pine board at a 45 degree at 5 1/2 in. tall.

Now that you have all of your pieces ready and the handles are cut.  It is assembly time!


Left Side Half Slot Assembly.

Take one pine board cut 14 3/4 in. long.  You are going to nail 4 slot boards to your bottom board. Space your slot boards 3 7/8 in between slots and nail them to the top side of the bottom board. This is what the slots will look like nailed to the bottom board.

I marked mine with a pencil so they stayed inline while I glued and nailed them.  (Some of my pics are from a white tote I also made, sorry to confuse)  ***note  the slots are just laying on the back piece in this picture below.  They are not nailed to it.  They will be nailed to the piece with the pencil markings on it, the bottom piece, they are just laying there for spacing at this point***

Place some glue on the bottom of the slot and nail it to the bottom board...

I nailed my first slot onto the end.  I measured over to the right 
3 7/8 inches and nailed my second board.

From there, I measured over from the right side of the 2nd slot board another 3 7/8 inches and glued and nailed my 3rd board.

Next the last slot board was placed at the end and the left half looks like this.

Now that this is assembled, nail these slots to the Back Piece.  Take your slots you just nailed to the bottom piece, line them up against your Back Piece. From the Back side of the Back piece, use the brad nailer to secure the slots to the back piece.

Make sure you line up your brad nailer with the slots so you do not shoot nails through that will show in the front of the tote. Your nails want to go into the slots from the back of the back piece. (Again, the pic is from my white tote)

When finished with that step, the Left side should look like this:

Now you can do your Right Slot Assembly:

For the right slot side assembly do it just like you did the left side, except you need to make one slot very wide for plates or larger items.  I measured the largest regular sized paper plate and made my slot 10 1/4 inches wide.  Leaving 2 1/4 in. wide for the last slot.  Perfect for straws etc. 

Once the slots are nailed to the bottom board for the right side.  Now you can nail it to the Back Piece just as you did for the Left side above.

When Finished with that step, the Right side should look like this...

Now all you have left is to nail your front boards on to the front of the tote for both sides. Take a long pine board cut at 14 3/4 in. long and 2.5 in. wide and nail it to the front at the bottom of the tote.

Next take one of the boards you ripped to 1 1/8 in. wide and cut at 14 3/4 in. long and nail that just above the lower front board.

Repeat the last two steps for the Right Half and both tote sides will be assembled.  Next you will need to anchor them together with your hinges.

I turned both tote halves over face down butted right up tight to one another and placed the hinges on the Back side in about the middle to lower region  3 inches down from the top.  You can see the placement of the hinges by noting the handles in the picture below. 

Here is a wider shot of the hinges:

A shot of the hinges close up folding:

Once the hinges are placed.  The tote should be able to swing open and closed at this point! hooray! Also, my totes do not line up exactly due to the hinges, but they are close enough, so if yours do the same thing, don't be discouraged!

At this point, do some touch up stain on all of the rough cut ends on the tote such as where you cut the slot pieces at a 45 degree angle and anywhere else you may have un-finished boards showing.

I next swung the tote closed so the back pieces were back to back and chose a place to anchor my hook and eye latch.

Next unfold the tote and lay it on its back.  I cut my numbers on my Silhouette Cameo using Contact paper and placed the numbers in front of the tote cubbies.

I next painted them in and my numbers were complete!  Project Compete!

So thrilled with how these totes have turned out!  We have been using ours everyday!!!

We have been using them for different purposes too!  Crafts...

Baby Items...


or used together with the white tote...

If you would like to see a tutorial on how I built the Larger White Wooden tote, you can see that here or by clicking on the photo below!

With Much Love & Gratitude,

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  1. awesome! I love it. thanks for the step by step pictorial directions too!

  2. I LOVE this! Now I need one! Thanks for the detailed tutorial.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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