These DIY nested apple boxes are a multi-purpose variation of the traditional design. They’re deeper than the norm and made from sturdy 1/2″ birch plywood. Easy to build, light weight, stackable, and a breeze to store. Follow the tutorial below and build a set or two!
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My daughter Andrea is a drama teacher in a public elementary school. She needed a set of “acting blocks” (as she called them) for the school production of The Lion King. We scoured the internet, but anything we found in wooden cube form was decorative, and not sturdy enough to hold the weight and abuse of forty 3rd graders.
Besides strength and height, she also wanted the boxes to be light enough for kids to carry on and off stage. She wanted them stackable, and nested for easy storage.
I’m used to it, though. I’m reminded of the time she wanted a custom secretary desk for the set of Thoroughly Modern Millie. We built sixteen of those. And that other time she talked me into reupholstering dining chairs.
What can I say. I’m a good mom:)
In the end, we were happy with how these boxes turned out. So, if you’ve been wanting “all purpose” cubes like these, and the traditional apple boxes don’t fit your needs (or your budget), read on and see how easy it is to put these DIY nested apple boxes together.
DIY Nested Apple Boxes
Hint: Below are the cuts for each size box. I recommend you measure and cut the bottom piece once the sides are put together for a closer fit.
Step 1Because I didn’t take progress photos, I created the image below step 1 , that hopefully helps you understand how I put the boxes together.
Once your cuts are made, attach the large sides to the small sides with 1- 1/4″ wood screws and wood glue at the seams. Notice the two smaller pieces will be “sandwiched in” the larger pieces.
Once all 4 sides are together, attach the bottom in the same manner. The bottom piece will be large enough to cover the edges of all other pieces. This is crucial to make the boxes sturdy. I recommend you measure and cut this piece to size once the sides are put together.
Use plenty of screws for a tight fit. To avoid splitting of the plywood, drill pilot holes prior to adding the screws. Don’t forget the glue!
Once the boxes are made, cut holes on two sides for the handles. You may choose to do this before attaching the pieces.
Mark the placement on the handles by drawing a straight line. Then drill 2 holes using a 1″ Drill bit and trace a line joining the holes to make the shape of a handle.
Then using a jig saw cut slowly around line. The plywood will be pretty rough in there. After the holes are cut, make sure you sand well in there to avoid cuts later.
Another hint: We ended up cutting two handles for the big box. That made it easier for the kids to pick up the box no matter which way was facing up.
My daughter took these to school and painted them black to blend with the stage. I built two sets for her and she’s loved them. She used them in their production of Lion King and she’s finding plenty of other uses for them.
It was the cutest production!
These are so versatile. How will you use them? Tell me in the comments! And before you leave be sure you join the other thousands of DIYers who like my teaching style and enjoy easy woodworking projects! As part of my tribe, you get access to free plans in my resource library!
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