This project requires a small amount of woodworking skills and a few tools. I happen to own a table saw to cut my MDF sheets up, but you can carefully use a handsaw or circular saw and some sandpaper to do a pretty good job too. You'll also benefit from owning a jigsaw to cut out the round shapes and a drill.

You'll need some MDF sheets or similar to make this out of, some very strong glue (I used a product called Liquid Nails), sandpaper, paint, hinges and screws.

toy cupboard

With the assistance of your little helper, sketch out a shape on a piece of MDF. This will be the cupboard doors. I used 6mm MDF so the doors are very light. I restricted the overall width to around 800mm purely as we don't have much spare wall space in our children's rooms, plus this seems to be quite a nice size to work to. Our theme we have gone for is clouds, with a sun peeking out from behind.

toy cupboard

Cut your shape out using a jigsaw.

toy cupboard

toy cupboard

Cut out the back board- this is the part that will attach to the wall and will support the rest of the cupboard so it needs to be quite rigid, hence why I used 15mm MDF. Cut it into a shape that fits inside the shape of the cloud doors, keeping in mind the thickness of the side, top and bottom panels which will glue to the outside of this shape.

toy cupboard

Cut out the panels which will make the sides, floor and ceiling. I used the same 15mm MDF for the side pieces as the hinges will screw onto these panels. For the top and bottom panels I used 10mm MDF, and for the internal walls (see further down) I used the same 6mm MDF I used for the doors.

toy cupboard

This photo shows all the side panels cut out and in place. Before glueing them together I checked once more that they all fitted inside the cloud shape of the doors.

toy cupboard

Here it is with all the side panels glued together onto the base. I know this sounds obvious, but be careful not to glue everything down to the surface you are working on.

toy cupboard

toy cupboard

When the glue has set give the joints a good sand to smooth everything off. If you don't have an electric sander then doing it by hand is just as good, although make sure you use a block to wrap your sandpaper around. I rounded my corners off too as seen in the photo below.

toy cupboard

Start making the internal floors and walls out of the thinner 6mm MDF and glue into place. We had an old doll's house lying around which was past it's prime, so I raided the stairs from it and based my internal layout on them (together with 'advice' from my daughter). The clamp and extra pieces of wood are there to hold a couple of extra 6mm side panels I glued to the inside of the 15mm side panels until the glue set. I decided to put these pieces in to give the internal floor a bit more strength.

toy cupboard

Before glueing the rest of the internal walls in place I laid it all out to check it looks ok.

toy cupboard

Here is another photo of the extra internal wall panel mentioned above. It provides some extra strength to the floor where it joins the wall, plus cutting it to the same height as the other internal wall ensures that the floor panel is level.

toy cupboard

Glueing the remaining internal panels into place... I have purposely left the stairs off for now as I want to paint the whole cupboard gloss white apart from the pine stairs which I'll glue on at the end.

toy cupboard

Tadaaaa- the finished shell of the cupboard...

toy cupboard

If you haven't already done so, sand the edges of the cupboard doors nice and smooth.

toy cupboard

Find the centre of the door panel- to do this I traced the outline of the cupboard and found the midpoint with my measuring tape. The outline also makes it easier to ensure I keep this centre line of the panel parallel to the sides of the cupboard for when I cut it in half.

toy cupboard

Using offcuts of the 15mm MDF I made some blocks for the hinges to screw into, and glued these down to the inside of the doors.

toy cupboard

Note how I left a couple of millimetres between the inside edge of these hinge blocks and the outline of the cupboard. This is to accommodate thickness of the paint, plus you don't really want these 2 surfaces pressed up hard against each other.

toy cupboard

Waiting for the glue to dry.....

toy cupboard

Getting ready to put on the hinges- one last check to make sure this lines up well and the doors overhang the cupboard on every corner.

toy cupboard

About to screw on the hinges. I put a bit of cardboard a couple of millimetres thick between the doors and the cupboard to give a nice little gap before mounting the hinges.

toy cupboard

The hinges screwed into place... I decided to mount the hinges on the outside using this type of hinge as it enables the doors to be opened slightly more than just 90 degrees. There possibly is a better way of doing this, but this suits me...

toy cupboard

Yippee- the cupboard with the doors attached!

toy cupboard

All ready for painting- now if only I can get my spray gun to work! Check back for photos of the finished painted cupboards sometime real soon...

toy cupboard

Yay, finally got it painted and up on the wall! Oh, I'm the best dad in the world right now.

toy cupboard

toy cupboards

Yes, I still need to paint the sun peeking out from behind the cloud yellow, but that can wait til another day.

Here's another cupboard I made for my son...

tree cupboard

..that's a lift shaft up the trunk....

tree cupboard

Send photos of your cupboard creations to enquiries@schoolholidayprojects.com or post them on our Facebook page!

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