Now that the holidays are almost here, it won’t be long before living rooms, bedrooms and hallways everywhere are buried under a rising tide of new toys. If you’re looking for a way to contain the flood, this toy chest and bench is a fun and simple do-it-yourself solution that will last for years. Not only does it provide plenty of storage for toys and a place to sit and tie shoes or read, but its cheerful stenciled design-featuring Noah’s Ark, three animals and a rainbow-really brightens a child’s room.

Made from just one 4-by-6 sheet of plywood, the entire project requires only six pieces in all. To further simplify construction, the curved cuts for the arms and back are traced directly from full-size patterns. To build, just trace the pieces onto the plywood, cut them out, sand and assemble with nails and glue. Finish with a nontoxic paint, decorate with easy-to-use stencils and you’ve got a great holiday surprise for a special little person in your life.

The project measures 32 inches long by 20 inches deep by 13 inches tall at the seat (about 24 inches tall at the back) and can be mounted on casters for easy mobility.

The Toy Chest and Bench plan with Noah’s Ark stencils, No. 248ST, is $14.95 and includes full-size traceable patterns, assembly instructions, construction diagrams, a shopping list and cutting schedule and a large plastic stencil. Without the stencil, the plan (No. 248) is $9.95.

A package of four plans for children’s furniture, No. C79, is $24.95 and includes this toy chest plus a table and chairs, a rocking chair and a desk. A catalog picturing hundreds of do-it-yourself projects is $2.00. Prices include postage and handling. Please allow about four weeks for delivery (for first-class postage, add $1 per item up to $3 maximum).

To order by mail, clip this article and send it with a check or money order to U-Bild Features, c/o Lewiston Sun Journal, P.O. Box 2383, Van Nuys, CA 91409. To order by credit card, call 1-800-828-2453. Visit U-Bild on the Web at

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