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The Ultimate Lego Organizer

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My mother-in-law saved all of my husband’s Legos from when he was little.  I mean seriously–entire, complete sets preserved for the last 20 years.  That’s some serious care.  All the Legos from my house growing up are missing tons of pieces and my mom probably threw the rest out.  Anyway, so one day she pulled them all out for my 5-year-old son to start building with.  They would spend hours building Legos together.  And she started to sort through all of them, organizing them by size and color.  Then one day she told me to take them all home so they would stop crowding up her craft room.

I knew that these Legos would be instantly strewn around my house unless I did something to keep them all organized–it had taken my MIL hours and hours to sort them out.  So before I took them home, I constructed a plan for the Ultimate Lego Organizer.

The Ultimate Lego Organizer

I love this thing.  Mostly because my blood, sweat, and tears went into it.  It is FAR from perfect, but for my first build without any definite plans, I think it’s okay.

how to organize legos

I even sawed some of the wood with my circular saw but then realized I really needed some uniform cuts which I couldn’t get with the c saw.  So Home Depot cut the wood for the rest.  I am saving up for a table saw which will allow me to get the straight and uniform cuts I need for future projects.

lego drawers

This isn’t really a tutorial because lots of mistakes were made.  But I will try to tell you what I did.  My original inspiration was the Laundry Organizer on Ana-White.com.  I first found some plastic bins for $1 each (the bigger ones were a little more) but I only paid about $30 for all of them.  I knew I would need a lot for this project because SO many Legos needed their own box.  I considered buying similar toy organizers but they just weren’t really what I wanted.

lego slider drawers

You could use plywood or MDF for the sides but I wanted to use some free wood I got from SNAP! and so I ended up using some 1×6 boards, four in a row on each side.  Then I used 1/2×2 for the slides (the pieces that hold up each bin and that the bins slide on.)  Here is a rough mockup plan which is very basic.

Lego Organizer plans

Basically you just build four of these side pieces and attach the 1/2x2s to each, depending on how many drawers you want. You will have to measure and do some math to figure out where each slide will go. And even as hard as I tried, they aren’t perfectly even. Like I said–my first build.  You also need to use two 1x2s and the slides to make a middle structure for the double drawer side.

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After you’ve assembled the sides, you will make a box from them with some 1x2s on top and I used more 1x6s on the bottom. I just screwed these right in.

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But before I put the box together, I used my new Kreg Jig to make some holes on the top of each side so I could screw the table top on. I got the table top at IKEA and it was like $25.  (And PS I HEART my Kreg Jig.  You HAVE to get this tool.)

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After the Lego Organizer was assembled, I stained them in a Walnut stain from Minwax. They sent me some cool new products to try out. I used their pre-stain conditioner, which you paint on first and let dry. This helps the stain to take to the wood better and not allow the stain to appear blotchy.

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You might notice on the 4-drawer side I did something different with the top. This was to achieve a small shelf to put the Lego plates on. But I probably wouldn’t do this again because it ended up kinda wonky.

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I also tried out their new Gel Stain. This product is very different to use than regular stain, which is watery. Gel stain is very thick, like jelly. You have to stir it up a lot to get a smoother consistency. I painted it on like a thick paint and then near immediately wiped it off. If you wait too long, the gel starts to dry and then you have a thick and sticky mess on your wood. This is a bigger problem if it’s hot outside–or if you let your kids help you paint and can’t monitor everything. Both of these happened to me and so the stain job is not the best.

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That being said, now that I’ve used gel stain, I’ve learned a little more about how to make it more effective and it’s nice to get a dark and rich color. Also make sure you wear gloves when staining and use chip brushes that you can throw away after. You can get rid of stain by washing with mineral spirits (and you can also use a little of this if you get stain on the carpet.)

I’m still getting my kids in the habit of actually sitting at the table to play with Legos since they seem to prefer the floor, but I really hate Legos on the floor–they get lost, vacuumed up, and stepped on.  Not to mention found by my 1-year-old=enter mouth.

lego luke

Once all the stain had dried, I moved them inside, placed the table top on, and used my Kreg Jig drill attachment to screw in the tabletop. Then we moved it into place. I am planning on hanging shelves above the table to display all the finished Legos (because we seriously have more Legos now than I EVER thought we would have.)  This new Lego Organizer is my pride and joy–I built it all from scratch and it serves a very excellent purpose.

kids play table

I completed the whole thing with some cute little silver bar stools I got from Overstock.com. They were 2 for $80–good deal! I love them, they are the perfect chair for this little table.

A big thanks to lots of companies for helping me with this project:  Home Depot for cutting the wood and being super helpful, Lowes for providing some of the wood and hardware, and Minwax for providing the stain.  All opinions are my own.

28 Comments

  1. This lego desk is awesome! I am a mother-in-law who has saved all the Lego’s! I totally forgot that I have them. Thank you so much for jogging my memory and providing such a great idea to share with my son and his wife. The grandchildren will love them!!

  2. Danielle Brendle says:

    Oh my goodness I LOVE this! I have the same problem with LEGOS, they are everywhere all the time! We have our own LEGO room, at one time my husband had every single set completely built and we put shelves up and it was great. But my boys have since them disassembled every single set and it’s just CHAOS!! Thanks for posting this, I really want to make one too!

  3. Your Lego solution is fabulous Heidi!! We have a giant bin of them that is getting out of control 🙂 this would be wonderful!

    xo, Tanya

  4. Leslie Wallace says:

    Heidi! I am soooo impressed! My kids are all grown up, but I think this is going to be a summer project for us. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful ideas and inspiration!

  5. This is AMAZING!!! My husband & I plan on making this for our son for Christmas. What are the size of bins you used on the right (smaller bin) side?

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      They are the standard ‘shoe box’ size. Usually they cost about $1 each at Walmart or Kroger.

      1. Thanks! I showed my husband your creation and he used it as inspiration for the desk he made. I also linked your post to my Lego Desk post in my blog. 🙂

        1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

          Awesome, thanks!

  6. This is fantastic. Can you please tell me where you got the table top? Was it from Lowes and did they cut it down for you?

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Actually that was from IKEA and it came exactly as you see it.

  7. Love this!! Plan on making this for my son. He is 12 and still loves his Legos. But he is to the point that he likes sitting or standing at something to build them. This will be perfect. I can figure how deep the table is because you are using 4 1×6 but how tall were your 1x6s?
    Thanks for your help.
    Ann = )

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Thanks! They were about 30″ I believe.

  8. I love this so much! My daughter would really like something like this to organize her art supplies. Thank you for sharing.

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