Creative Island

If kids are going to have fun and have a place to toss their stuff at the end of the day, easy-to-use storage containers are a must. Here's how to make a creative island that serves as both a workspace and a clutter catcher.
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A creative kids' work island made from wooden crates and a plywood top.

Materials and Tools:

wooden crates
sandpaper
tack cloth
spray-paint primer
enamel spray paint in desired colors
wood screws
screwdriver
piece of laminated plywood for top
marker and paint can to draw rounded edge on tabletop
jigsaw and reverse blade
iron-on laminate trim
iron

Steps:

1. Pick up wooden crates at your local home store for less than $10 apiece. Buy the kind of crates you need to make the island the size and shape you want.

2. Prepare the crates for painting by sanding them smooth, making sure to sand the handle area. Use a tack cloth to remove all the dust.

3. Spray-paint the crates outside or inside in a well-ventilated area. Prime them first with spray-paint primer, and when the primer is dry, apply top coat. The durability of enamel spray paint makes it a good choice for kids' furnishings.

4. Arrange the crates as desired to form the base of the unit, and attach them with wood screws.

5. Top the base with a piece of laminated plywood. Laminated plywood, available in 4' by 8' sheets from home-improvement centers, can be ordered cut to size, but you'll have to finish the square corners yourself. Trace around a paint can at each corner, then cut the rounded corners with a jigsaw. Use a reverse blade to prevent the corners from chipping.

6. Cover the rounded corners with iron-on laminate trim.

7. Attach the tabletop securely to the base with screws, inserting them from underneath.

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