DIY Outdoor Storage Bench, Ana White inspired!

Build your own DIY Outdoor Storage Bench:

Our backyard ends up looking like any other room in our house once my boys take over. TOYS EVERYWHERE!

So when I signed up for the third Instagram Builders Challenge I was excited to see that we were building a bench following plans by Ana White. YAY!

This is a piece of furniture I could really use and it’s by my favorite woodworking blogger ever!

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The contest expects you to follow the plans but make personal modifications. Since I am desperate for toy storage in the yard it was a simple decision. My change would be the addition of storage.

Since most of the builds I have made in the past have been me following a plan or tutorial of some kind this one took me a while to complete. I made many mistakes along the way and had to go back often to make changes. BUT this DIY outdoor storage bench was so worth the build!

Below I have added my adjustments to make my DIY outdoor storage bench:

First I followed the plans, cutting all the wood needed for the original bench (minus the X’s & bench seat top).

Then I made a second “seat” to be added as the bottom of the storage box.

Attach the base of the toy box 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the legs. Then add the seat following the original design plan.

Then attach the front legs.

The mistake I made was adding my seat braces early. This made it hard to install the plywood inside the bench. I managed to fit the plywood in through the sides but I recommend holding off on the top seat braces until the toy storage plywood walls are added.

Before adding the arm rests or plywood add 2 by 4’s inside each of the four legs.

This makes the plywood that will be added look flush against the legs.

Once the frame is complete add the plywood to create the toy box. Measure the inside walls to come up with the dimensions needed.

Start with the sides, then bottom and finally the back. I screwed these all in from the inside. When buying plywood for an outdoor project make sure to find the kind that is treated specially for outdoors.

Keep the front piece of plywood inside the bin for staining but don’t attach it yet as you will need it out of the way when you add the front crosses as well as staining them.

The last step before adding the arms is to put a board along the underside of the arms so when the storage lid is shut it is flush with the bench top.

Then finally add those arms and three braces to hold up the seat.

With the frame completed and the plywood added it’s time for the lid/seat.

Using a Kreg Jig put all five boards together for the seat. Make sure these boards are flat. I had two that had a slight arch to them and I cursed a lot making these two boards work. I probably should have just gone back to the store but I was on a time crunch people!

It’s coming together! Time for the pretty part:

Adding the X’s!

I am still a beginner when it comes to building and these X’s made me sweat.

These X’s were cut at 45 and degree angles to create the X’s needed to fit into the front and top.

The original building plan calls for large X’s that fit the three squares in the back of the bench. However I wanted my crosses all to be the same size so I made all six match and added cross bars in the back to create a finished look.

Next is wood filler and sanding…not much for pictures on this step, pretty self explanatory.

Time for stain! Again, since I was on a time crunch I found this 3X stain by Varathane and I have to say it was FANTASTIC! Nice and thick but when wiped away after three minutes of sitting on the wood you could still see some wood grain left behind.

Once this bench is stained add three coats of outdoor polyurethane in clear. This will protect the wood and help the bench last much longer outdoors.

After everything is dry it’s time to add the storage lid with Rust Resistant Hinges.

I am so glad I was able to have this build completed just as the snow melted away.

Now to teach the boys how to keep a neat and tidy yard by using my DIY outdoor storage bench.

Everything has it’s place, right?!

Another great big thank-you to the hosts of this Instagram Builders Challenge: @desertwoodwrks, @toolboxdivas, and @customgrowthcharts_andmore_ along with the judges: @anawhitediy and @chipwade as well as all the sponsors for making this challenge possible: @ryobipowertools, @spax_usa, @dapproducts, @osbornewoodwork, @besseytools_na and more!

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Welcome! I am Tamara and I love teaching beginner sewing projects.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Shea wrote:

    Hello! I just wanted to know if you used 1x material or 2x material for the seat/lid. I’m in the middle of making this with a few modifications for a friend 🙂


    Posted 7.19.17 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      Hi Shea,
      I did use 1X material for the lid. I attached them together using a kreg jig. However I regret one thing, I filled in the Kreg jig holes with wood filler. I wish I had not done that as the wood did shrink a little as it weathered. I wish I could just cinch it up by accessing the screws again! Also, make sure the boards are flat. Let me know how it goes!

      Posted 7.25.17 Reply
  2. Wow! what a brilliant idea. I like this creative, space saving, clever and amazing thought. I have to apply it for my kids’ huge toys. I am really tense because of my kid’s huge toys which are scattered here and there. I have to follow your ideas. Thanks for sharing an intelligent toy storages ideas.

    Posted 7.28.17 Reply
  3. Matt wrote:

    Hi do you have a materials list for the sizes of wood you used?


    Posted 8.7.17 Reply
  4. Ron wrote:

    Please report this account [] on Pinterest for stealing images of other peoples content and linking them back to there own website without credit. I’m not sure how this account has over 110k images that are others peoples content and nothing has been done to ban the account. This PIN is one of them and belongs to Tamara.

    Posted 12.8.17 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      Well I am late to see this but thank you for alerting me to it! I have notified pinterest.

      Posted 12.24.17 Reply
  5. Kaleigh wrote:

    How much did it cost to make?

    Posted 3.2.18 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      It cost around $200 Canadian. I don’t have an actual cost as I did use as many scraps as I could find. The most expensive part is the stain and poly.

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  6. Kaleigh wrote:

    Also what are the dimensions of the bench after it’s finished? thank you!

    Posted 3.2.18 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      This bench is very LARGE, Dimensions are as follows: Width: 64 3/8″ Front Arm Height: 24″ Back Height: 43 1/2″ Depth: 27 1/2

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  7. tal steiner wrote:

    Could you please make a list in centimeters?
    In my country they use only centimeters and I can not get along with an inch.
    Thank you very much

    Posted 6.10.18 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      I will let you do the math 🙂 There are 2.5cm in 1 inch

      Posted 6.22.18 Reply
  8. Sam Shelby wrote:

    How much did the materials cost? It looks fantastic by the way.

    Posted 9.4.18 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      Thank you! It cost around $200 Canadian. I don’t have an actual cost as I did use as many scraps as I could find. The most expensive part is the stain and poly.

      Posted 11.14.18 Reply
  9. Cheryl Dawsey wrote:

    I absolutely love this bench . i will build one – put a couple of decorative pillows on it and put it in my kitchen area for two purposes – one for extra seating, but its main purpose will be used to store my winter throws.

    Posted 11.10.18 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      That’s a fantastic idea! May I recommend making the depth a half a foot shallower for in home use? Measure it out and see how that would feel in a kitchen. Mine is outside and I do find it quite deep. This is helpful to store outdoor toys but for blanket storage a bit smaller may be desired.

      Posted 11.14.18 Reply
  10. Shawn wrote:

    Hi, I am curious as to where you attached the hinges? For some reason, I keep struggling with hinges on my projects.

    Posted 3.16.19 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      If you look at the last picture where my boys are holding up the lid you can kind of see the hinges. I attached the rectangle part of the hinge to the back of the unit and the rounder part of the hinge to the bottom of the lid. I hope that helps!

      Posted 4.18.19 Reply
  11. Charity Pilch wrote:

    I am working on a variation of this bench and I have cut my X pieces. It looks great laid out but I was hoping you could give me more details about how you screwed them together to keep everything square and not have screws run in to each other.

    Posted 6.15.19 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      Hi Charity,

      To make them a little easier you can pre-drill holes for the screws, but make sure the hole is much smaller then the screw. It will just help the wood not to split. I didn’t do this step however and all was good. As for your question: Just drill the screws in a vertical line and they shouldn’t hit each other. A small clamp and some wood glue can help hold them in place while you get ready to screw them in as well. Hope this helps!

      Happy building!

      Posted 6.19.19 Reply