Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to Build the Pottery Barn style Fold-n-Go wooden Tote... Large Size

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

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

Finished measurements:
Unfolded: 38 5/8   in. Long x 8 in. High  x 3 3/4 in. wide
Folded:   19 3/8  in. Long x 8 in. High x  7  1/2 in. wide

To see more photos of this tote and another smaller tote with a barn wood finish and modified compartments I built, you can see that here or by clicking on the photo below:

This is how I built the Larger White Wooden Tote:

2 - Pieces of 1/2 in. thick plywood.  Cut at:  8 inches high by 
     19 3/8 inches long. (I just used some scrap plywood I had)
3-  8 ft long 3 in. wide pine boards   (These boards will be cut at 
     different lengths)  
1 pkg. 1 1/2 in hinges (The one I purchased had 2 hinges.  You 
    will need both hinges)
1 pkg of 1 inch hook and eye latch
Paint of your choice
      1 1/2 in Brad nails (You can use longer Brad nails also if you
               have them)

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.  I did this before I made any of my cuts because it is easier to do all of the painting before the tote is assembled.  I highly suggest doing this. Now if you want to build this larger tote and want it to have a barnwood finish, you can see my tutorial on how to make the wood have a barn wood finish before you build the tote.  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 them too at the same time I worked on the pine boards.

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

***** 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.

Here is a Picture of all of the cuts you will be making:

Cut List:
From the 3 in wide Pine Boards you will need:

4- Pine Boards cut at 19 3/8 in. long.  Keep the width of the board.
10- 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 19 3/8  in. long  AND 1 1/8 in. wide.
       (How I did this was: I ripped one 3 in. pine board on the table 
        saw 1 1/8 in. wide at least 42 inches long.  From this long 
        board, I cut my  2 boards measuring 19 3/8 in long.  These 2  
        boards will be the top front boards of the tote.) Refer to the 
        Picture of the cut boards above.

From the 1/2 thick Plywood:
2- Boards cut 8 in. high x 19 3/8 in. wide
Once these 2 plywood pieces are cut, you will next cut out the handles in them and then paint them.

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 19 3/8 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! Once the handles are cut in the Back Pieces, you can paint these boards.

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

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


 Slot Assembly. To nail the Left side of the tote:

Take one pine board cut 19 3/8 in. long and 2.5 wide.  You are going to nail 5 slot boards that are cut at the 45 degree to your bottom board. (Remember the top of the 45 cut should all be lined up the same way.) 

 My slot boards did not end up exactly 4 in. in between slots.  I had to visually space them any where from 3 3/4 in. to 4 in.  Nail them to the top of the bottom board. This is what the slots will look like nailed to the bottom board.

This is how mine ended up spaced in between slots. You can space them however you visually see them them best.  Draw lines with a pencil on each side of each of the slots to see where they will be nailed.

Nail your first board on the end.  Lay the bottom board on its side. Put some glue on the the bottom of the slot board and anchor it with some nails using the brad nailer. 

Once the first board is nailed on.  Measure over to the right 3 7/8 in. or wherever you marked the 2nd board to go and glue and nail the 2nd board.

Do the same steps for the 3rd board.

Do the same steps for the 4th board... Nail the last remaining 5th slot board onto the end.

Next you need to nail the slots to the back board that has the handle cut in it as it appears in the photo below...

To nail it, place the row of slots up against the plywood board with the handle at the top, line up your brad nailer to the slots from behind and nail, careful not to shoot through to where the nails show in the front. Nail the plywood piece to the slots. 

 Once you have finished the Left side of the tote, You will need to do all of the above steps again for the Right side of the tote.

Front Boards: Once the Right side of the tote slots are assembled and nailed to the plywood back, you will next nail on the front pieces to Both of your Left side and Right side of the tote. Take the long board measuring 19 3/8 in long and 2 1/2 in. wide.  This will go on first on the front at the bottom. 

Next take the last remaining board that you ripped to 1 1/8 in. wide and cut 19 3/8 in. long and nail it to the front above the board you just placed.   Do this for both the Left and Right sides of the tote.

 Now that you have both the Left side and Right side of the tote assembled, Next you need to anchor each sides of the tote together with the hinges.  Here are the hinges I used...

Place 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 shot from the back fully assembled...

Once your hinges are screwed in place, 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!

Hook and Eye Assembly:
You can attach your hook and eye latch onto the ends.  Fold  or swing your tote closed, measure and mark where you want your hook and eye to go and place it.

Do any touch up paint on any unfinished boards showing, such as the front of the slot boards that were cut at a 45.

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.  Painted them with black paint and peeled off the contact paper to reveal the painted numbers.

Project complete!  WE have been so thrilled with how these totes have turned out!  They are fun to use for so many different things!

 It looks great together with the barn wood tote also:

If you would like to see a tutorial on how I built the smaller, barn wood finish tote, you can see that here or by clicking on the photo below:

With Much Love & Gratitude,

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  1. This is adorable! So many uses: scrapbooking, scrapbooking or even scrapbooking! I have so many supplies to store. Robn S

  2. I like this post. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting such blogs. I’ll keep coming back and will suggest you to my friends as well. Adrian G


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