DIY Kids Workbench Plans

Last week, my friend and I built a goat milking stand in her garage, while simultaneously chasing around her 15-month-old daughter. It was a ton of fun, but you know what I thought would make it even more fun? If her daughter had her very own DIY kids workbench to play at! While 15 months might be a little young for workbench set, I figured if we planned it right, the workbench could be something she grows into. 

(Plus, I am philosophically opposed to any child thinking building is only for boys. Am I brainwashing kids from the cradle? Maybe.)

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

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Ideas and Planning

Since I was making this for a child so young, I really wanted to make sure it was something that would both be fun now and yet still relevant in 1-2 years. There are a couple of ways I accomplished this:

  1. There are two lower shelves in this plan. The lowest shelf holds a box of scrap wood. At 15-months, stacking is still a lot of fun. The scrap wood pieces I grabbed are a variety of basic shapes- rectangles, squares, triangles and trapezoids, that can be stacked in interesting ways. When she gets older, the scrap pieces can be used as "building material."
  2. The DIY kids workbench is built with the tabletop at 24" tall. This is a little tall for her right now, but her mother assured me that we can put a block or stepstool in front of it for her to stand on until she's tall enough.
  3. I intentionally chose an interactive toolset that had large pieces. There are a number childrens' toolsets available on the market. Some are realistic. Some have screws and nails that can be attached to other pieces. At the moment, large play tools are what is age-appropriate, but in a year or two, I want her to have an interactive experience. Thus, the toolset I chose has large tools, but also contains screws and nails that interact with the top. For now, the smaller pieces live in the toolbox underneath the workbench, but someday....
  4. I painted the top with chalkboard paint, so it can be drawn on with chalk. I was doing everything I could to make this an entertaining toy, so my friend could get some work done in the garage!

Materials and Tools

  • (4) 2 x 2 x 8 Foot Boards - For the frame
  • (1) Half Sheet of 3/4" Plywood - For the shelves and top
  • (1) 2' x4' Pegboard Piece - For the back
  • (1) 1" x 2" x 8' or Thin Scrap Wood - For securing the toolbox top
  • 2 1/2" Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1 1/4" Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1" Screws
  • 2 1/2" Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Battat Builder's Toolkit (or other play toolset)

For the full cutlist, cut diagram, including all dimensions, download the free DIY Kids Workbench printable plans!

Get Started!

Know exactly how to build your own DIY Kids Workbench with our FREE printable plans! Simply click the button below to get your DIY Kids Workbench Plans delivered straight to your inbox!

DIY Kids Workbench: The Process

Step 1: Cut and Prep All Frame Pieces

Cut, sand, and add pocket holes to all 2x2 pieces that will make up the frame. For cut diagram, exact dimensions, and pocket hole placement, download the free printable plans!

Step 2: Build Sides

Lay out each the side pieces on the ground as shown below. I faced the pocket holes toward the middle of the structure, but it would probably be better if they faced down. 

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Notice that the long pieces are on opposite sides. This ensures that when the workbench stands up, my pocket holes will face the inside of the structure, and therefore wont be seen. This is a non-issue if you faced your pocket holes down as I mentioned above.

Attach the middle pieces to each of the legs using 2 1/2" pocket holes screws and wood glue. Be sure to clamp each joint securely before driving screws.

Step 3: Connect the Two Sides

Balance the sides on the long legs, so that the sides are perpendicular to the ground. Lay two middle pieces between the sides, making sure the two new pieces have the pocket holes facing down.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Clamp to secure, the attach each piece with pocket hole screws. Then flip the frame over, and attach the two front pieces using wood glue and pocket hole screws.

Finally, stand the structure either upright or on its front, and attach the remaining two back pieces using wood glue and pocket hole screws. The pocket holes should be facing the back of the structure as to not be seen.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking
Get Started!

Know exactly how to build your own DIY Kids Workbench with our FREE printable plans! Simply click the button below to get your DIY Kids Workbench Plans delivered straight to your inbox!

Step 4: Cut and Install the Lower Shelves

We held off cutting the shelves in step 1 because they go in the middle of the frame we built. Because of this, they need to be very accurately sized, else they may not fit. While I've provided approximate measurements in the free DIY Kids Workbench Plans, you should definitely measure your space before cutting.

Once you've measured and cut the 3/4" plywood shelves, add pocket holes to the back. I added three pocket holes on each shorter side, and four on each longer side, as shown below. I 100% eyeball the pocket hole placement. Nobody's going to see them, and it doesn't affect the structural stability of the workbench.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

You'll note that I painted the frame and shelves before moving on. I thought that would make it faster, since they were going to be different colors. But honestly, it really slowed things down, and I'd recommend painting the piece at the end, not in the middle like I did.

Start by attaching the upper shelf to the frame using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. I started with what I thought was a clever setup:

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

But honestly, it was easier to just lay the frame on its back and use my hands to make sure the plywood was aligned with the frame.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking
Step 5: Prepare Top

Once again, this piece needs to be measured to fit the frame you've built. If in doubt, cut a little bit to be sure the top fits around the frame. Once you've measured and cut your top, add pocket holes to all four sides of the plywood. If you're embedding a pre-built piece into the top, and the piece comes close to the edges, make sure to shift your pocket holes as necessary.

Since I embedded the Battat toolbox top into the the workbench, I had a bit of extra work to do. I started by tracing the toolbox top on my plywood.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Then I drilled a hole in each corner, and cut out the rectangle with my jigsaw.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

After I had a general rectangle cut, it took me another 10-15 minutes of trimming the cut (still with the jigsaw) to get the toolbox top to fit.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Once I knew the toolbox top fit, I took it back out, and attached the plywood piece to the remaining frame pieces (with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.) This allowed me to lay all the pieces flat on the floor, which wouldn't have been possible if I'd already secured the toolbox top.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Finally I secured the toolbox top. Since the sides were angled (the top footprint was smaller than the bottom,) it would be difficult to pull the top out. Therefore, a little glue on the sides and some scrap wood pieces screwed underneath the toolbox top were all that was necessary to keep it in place.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

I actually ended up removing the Home Depot paint stirrer in the middle; it could be seen from the top of the workbench, and I didn't like how it looked.

Step 6: Install Top

Place the top in its spot on the frame. Mine fit snugly, so I was able to make sure it was level in the upright position, then turn it on its back to drive in the pocket hole screws.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Then I turned the DIY kids workbench upright, and drove one 2 1/2" screw from the top down into each front leg. I was careful to countersink these screws so that they could be covered with wood filler, sanded, and painted.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Finally, to make sure the 2x2s surrounding the top were connected to the main frame in the front, I drove one 2 1/2" screw through each front leg and into the 2x2 on the front of the top.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking
Step 7: Attach Pegboard

Truthfully, I did this before I attached the top, because I was waiting for the paint to dry, but I think attaching it last makes the most sense otherwise. Lay the workbench on its front, place the pegboard in place on the back of the workbench, and drive a 1" screw into each corner of the pegboard.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

If you have a brad nailer, add brad nails along the sides of the pegboard for extra support. If you don't have a brad nailer, adding more 1" screws works as well. 

Final Photographs

I am obsessed with how cute this looks. I thought it'd be a fun toy for the garage. I didn't think it'd look adorable enough to take inside. I was wrong.

I haven't had the chance to deliver it yet, but I think it's going to be very loved!

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

And hopefully, it'll be entertaining enough to give my friend a couple more seconds to get something done without being interrupted!

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

If you like this post, and think there's a child in your life who could totally use their own workbench, download the free printable plans and save this post to Pinterest!

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

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