This playstand provides hours of creative play as children can them it as a grocery store, puppet theater, a post office or as a work bench. It is very easy to make. Dimensions: 40″h 40″w 15″d

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Drill – either an electric drill or hand drill will work nicely
  • Pilot hole bit for drill
  • Screwdriver – Phillips for deck screws
  • Band saw, scroll saw or jig saw
  • Carpenters Square or Adjustable Square
  • Dowel Peg kit *see text
  • Sandpaper in the following grits 60, 100 and 150.
  • Hand sanding block
  • Wood glue
  • () 1 5/8 inch drywall or deck screws
  • () 2 1/2 inch deck screws
  • 48 inch aluminum ruler or straight edge
  • Goggles, ear protection, dust mask.
  • Download and print these drawings:


  • (1) 38 1/8 inch piece of a 1 x 10 board (center piece)
  • (1) 38 1/8 inch piece of a 1 x 4 board (center brace)
  • (1) 38 1/8 inch piece of a 1 x 1 3/4 board (top bar) cut from 1 x 4 board * see text
  • (1) 4 1/2 inch piece from a 1 x 4 board (hook)
  • (2) 15 1/8 inch pieces of a 2 x 4 board (feet)
  • (2) 36 1/2 inch pieces of a 1 x 12 board (sides)

Optional tools:

  • Compass or circle guide
  • Router, router table, 1/2 and 3/8 inch bead/corner bits

Before You Begin

Be sure you understand how to operate your power tools. Read the manual(s) that were included with them. You should NOT work with out proper eye protection, ear protection and a dust mask. Since I don�t know what tools you have, or the quality of materials you are able to purchase, you will have to use these plans and your finished play stand at your own risk. If you feel uncomfortable with power tools or are not comfortable with the safety of your finished product, you may return these plans for a full refund.

Selecting Wood

Your wood should be chosen carefully. While knots may add character to a project, warps and gouges do not. Inspect all sides of your wood. Make sure that the wood does not bend, twist or cup. The time honored method of sighting down a length of wood is still the best to gauge it�s straightness. No wood is perfect. You may have to select an imperfect board with a good section. If you have it cut at the store, you may even be able to purchase just the section you want.
Wood is a living thing. Even after it is cut, your wood will change. I�ve had wood develop warps on the trip home from the store. Wood may bend, twist or cup after it is cut. You should use your wood as soon as you can. If you have to leave it after it is cut, do not store it at an angle. Lay it flat on the floor, or make sure it is vertical.


Many of the larger lumber outlet stores like Lowe�s and Home Depot will sell wood by the foot. You can purchase only what you need. These stores should be able to cut your wood to the appropriate length for you and charge a minimal amount per cut. Read the section on cutting to know which cuts to have done and which to do your self. Remember to take your scraps home (which you will need to make the hook).
You will need:

  • 4 feet of a 1 x 10 inch board
  • 8 feet of a 1 x 4 inch board
  • 3 feet of a 2 x 4 inch board
  • 7 feet of a 1 x 12 inch board


All dimensions in the text of this project have a 1/8th inch sanding allowance. You will sand off about this much (1/16 from each side). The drawings show finished sizes!
Most saws cut a 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap in the wood. You will need to make sure you cut on the waste (side you are not going to keep) side you of the line you have drawn. Otherwise, you will be cutting your sanding allowance away. When measuring, measure one piece, cut it and then measure the next, again, because of you don�t know exactly how wide the saw gap is.

Main cuts

Cut (1) 38 1/8 piece from a 1 x 10 board. This is the center piece, Cut (1) 38 1/8 inch piece from a 1 x 4 board. This is the center brace. Cut (1) 38 1/8 inch piece from a 1 x 4 inch board. This will be the top bar. These three pieces should be the same length. Any minor differences (up to 1/8 inch) can be corrected with sanding. Cut (2) 15 inch pieces from a 2 x 4 inch board. These will be the feet. Cut (2) 36 1/2 inch pieces from a 1 x 12 inch board. These will be the sides. The best tool for this job is a radial arm saw. If you don�t have one (I don�t) have the wood cut where you purchase it. The rest of the cuts you will have to make on your own.
Rip (cut lengthwise) the top bar to 1 3/4 inches. Make 3 or more measurements before drawing your line to be sure it is straight. Use an aluminum ruler or straight edge to draw the line.
At this point, the center piece, top bar and center brace are cut and can be set aside.


On the top of the feet, make a mark 1 3/4 inches from each side.
Find something round that is about 10 to 11 inches in diameter (pot lids and bowls work well). Lay it on one of the feet with one edge touching the bottom corner and the other touching the 1 3/4 mark. Trace the edge
Move to the other side of the foot and repeat. Repeat entire procedure on other foot.
Cut the feet with a jig, scroll or band saw.


On the sides, measure 12 inches from the bottom on each edge and mark. On the top of the sides, mark the center. If your side pieces are 11 1/4 inches (standard for 12 inch boards) this will be 5 5/8 inches from the edge. You can mark 5 5/8 inches from each side to the center to be sure. The center will be between your marks. You will now need a 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inch diameter pot lid or bowl to use as a circle guide to make the curve at the top of the sides. Measure your circle guide at its widest part. Divide this in half. Measure down from the top of the side by this amount, from your center mark and leave a mark. Measure from this new mark toward the sides by the same measurement.(With a 4 inch bowl, measure down 2 inches, then 2 inches left and two to the right)
Place your circle guide so it touches the top edge of the side and is between the last two marks (or is centered over them if they are not exact). Draw around the top �. Lay your ruler or straight edge so it touches curve at the top and goes to the mark which is 12 inches from the bottom of the edge and mark. Repeat for the other � of this side.Repeat your marks on the other side piece.
Cut the Sides You will have to use a jig, scroll or band saw.


Cut out the pattern for the hook. Use a straight edge and razorblade to cut the straight edges to be sure they are straight (rather than scissors). Trace it onto your wood.


Things that are important when sanding:

1. Use the appropriate grit

2. Change your sand paper often

3. Sand with the grain.
Start with the 60 grit. Use this to shape the wood, remove imperfections and mistakes from cutting (that�s why even the experts add an 1/8 inch sanding allowance).
Do NOT round the following edges:

The bottom of the sides, the edges of the top bar, center piece and center brace which will connect to the side pieces or the top of the hook or the edge of the hook that connects with the side. Also note that the bottom edges of the feet are not rounded all the way, only the center.

Optional (router): On everything but the feet, use a 3/8 inch bead/corner bit (leaves a nice round edge). On the feet, use a 1/2 or 3/8 inch bead/corner bit. Do NOT try to route the hook piece unless you have a router table. The hook piece is NOT big enough to clamp down and route.

Round or route the sides marked in yellow

Top Bar

Center Piece

Center Brace


Once the wood looks the way you want it, switch to 100 grit sand paper and smooth it out. If you find that the sandpaper �glides� over the wood very smoothly, you need a new sheet of sand paper. You can switch to 150 grit when you have removed the cuts and gouges left by the 60 grit.
Pine is a soft wood, which makes it difficult to get it as smooth as a hard wood like maple. Your pieces will have pine �fuzzies�, which look like sanding dust, but are stuck to the wood. Don�t worry. If you are applying an oil finish, they will disappear. With Polyurethane, you will have to sand between coats to remove them.


Use the pilot hole bit or a drill bit that will almost allow the screws to be pushed through the wood, drill at the intersections of the marks (see drawings). If using a pilot hole bit, pay attention to the sides. One side will only have two holes at the top, the other will have four, two from one side and two from the other.


Smooth the holes you just drilled. Also, remove any extra pencil marks left.


First attach the feet to the sides with the dowel kit. If you haven�t used a dowel kit before, they are very easy.
The one I purchased contained a drill bit, rubber ring, some dowel pegs and two aluminum plugs.

Put the drill bit in your drill and slide the rubber ring so that it is 1/2 the length of a dowel peg from the tip of the drill bit. Drill your hole into one piece of wood. Place the aluminum piece into the hole and use the point of the aluminum to mark the other piece of wood. Drill the 2nd hole.

Excess glue can be removed with a damp cloth. Try not to soak the wood or smear the glue. It is better to sand off a dry bead of glue than sand off a dry smear. Dry beads of glue can also be removed (carefully!) with a sharp chisel or knife.

Shelf and Shelf brace 1
Place screws into the holes in the shelf so the tips are just protruding out of the other side (protruding enough to keep the two pieces of wood aligned, but not enough to keep them apart). Apply glue to non-rounded edge of the shelf brace. A second pair of hands will really help with this next step. Put the shelf and shelf brace together (they will form a T) and tighten the screws.Sides to Shelf 2
Place screws into the 4 holes of one side, indicated by ?, to attach the side to the shelf unit assembled in ?. You will need another pair of hands to hold up the other end of the shelf while you attach the first side to it. Apply glue to edge of the shelf to be joined to the side. Press the side and center together and tighten the screws.Before attaching the second side, be sure you are working on a flat floor. If not, the sides will not be aligned properly and the whole thing will wobble. Attach the other side to the shelf following the same procedure.Top Piece 3
Place two screws into the holes for the top piece into each side. Remember that the center two holes on the side with 4 holes are for the top piece and the outer two are for the hook.You will want a second pair of hands to hold one end of the top while you attach it to the first side.Apple glue to both sides of the top piece. Position one side of the top piece at a time, pulling the tops of the side pieces apart enough to keep glue from smearing while positioning the final side of the top piece. Tighten the screws.Attaching the Hook 4
Place two screws in the holes for the hook (one above the top piece and one below). Apply glue to the side of the hook, press on to the screws and tighten.


Use a wet rag to wipe off the glue drips and smears. Try not to soak the wood. Use just enough water to remove the glue.


  • See Finishes for tips on oil and polyurethane finishes.

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A computer geek with a taste for sustainable living, organic food, green products, buying local, woodworking, bicycling, running, yoga, recycling and doing-it-yourself.