IKEA Trofast Toy Bin Storage Hacked- Playroom Project 1!

Submitted by redhead_61 on Mon, 09/19/2011 - 21:44
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I got this idea to turn my den into a playroom and get all the toys out of my living room. So this was my first project tackled. I love the idea of the IKEA Trofast storage bins and was ready to just buy them outright (Ikea not too expensive ya know) until I drew up the plans and decided that I could STILL build it for cheaper, like three times cheaper. So these are the exact same measurements to fit the trofast bins bought from their store. I built three of these for $30! YEA!!

This is basically the same idea as Ana's laundry dresser, just with grooves routed in to the wood instead of a tract.

The awesome thing is too, that it is such a simple design, that when I am done using it like this, I can throw shelves in there and it is an automatic bookcase.


Shopping List

1 sheet 3/4" plywood, MDF, or melomine
1 sheet 1/4" plywood
1 1x2

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch screws
3/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
paint brush
Cut List

1 sheet 3/4" plywood into 4 11 3/4" strips
1 sheet1/4" plywood into 17 3/8 strips
2 1x2 @ 15 7/8"

Tape Measure
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Here is your cut list for your 3/4" plywood

Step 2

I used a router to cut in the groves to a 1/2" depth with a 1/2" flat bottom bit.

Step 3

Step 4

Next up, repaint those bookshelves!

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Sat, 09/07/2013 - 08:31

I love this system, but the wall I have needs to hold toys and clothes and it's not very wide. There is however plenty of depth, so I wanted to design these so that the bins slide in the deep way instead of the wide way (so that the 11 1/2 in side is front to back) but I am so bad with figuring out the math! I also want to us square dowels on the inside instead of routing as I know these are going to get banged around and the cuts would weaken the end result.

My "plan" was to get some 3/4s plywood ripped into 16 inch pieces, and build my boxes. The interior width of each box would be 12 inches... that makes the outside 13.5 right? and since the depth would only be just shy of 16, I was going to put them all together on the wall, and use 1x2s to face the boxes, which should add just enough extra depth to keep the bins flush with the units. Then I just cut the 1/2 inch square dowels into 16 in pieces and place them 4 1/2 inches apart (I'd probably put the bins in and measure that way)

Alternately, to save on wood, could I just make one long unit with only 1 piece of wood for each wall? So that each "unit" shared box walls, with the dowels on either side? Or do you think that wouldn't be sturdy enough? I wish I could figure out how sketch-up worked.


Tue, 05/26/2015 - 13:16

Did you include the cost of the ikea bins in your estimated cost of the project? It does not appear you did, so you're not really saving as much as you lead one to believe since I think the ikea storage bin units include the bins if you buy them direct from ikea...


Fri, 01/08/2016 - 21:39

To buy three of this sized trofast frame with bins included direct from ikea would cost between $108-$132 depending on if you chose the melamine type material or wood...yet you can build all three frames for $30 and spend another $30  or less to buy the bins to fill all three bringing the DIY version to $60 TOTAL or less...so its kind of a moot point that she didn't include the bin price in her $30 total cuz ikea doesn't give the bins away free with the purchase of the frames either you get charged the same whether u buy them as a set or individuallly...


Mon, 12/30/2019 - 10:03

The Trofast bins are on sale currently (12/30/19) and you are saving money because just the 37"x20" storage shelf costs $60 for the plain plywood one. 


Fri, 05/20/2016 - 18:32

Ana White, it seems we are missing some assebly steps for this project. I built one of these a couple years ago and cut all the pieces to build a second one and now im trying to assemble the second one, but I don't see how everything attaches. 




Tue, 06/09/2020 - 20:14

Does anyone know if the white TROFAST bins from IKEA are clear or opaque? They look semi-clear in Ana's photo...which is great for seeing the items inside! However, on the IKEA website, the white TROFAST bins look very opaque - can you see anything through them?
Grateful for any help or advice!
Thank you,


Sun, 12/13/2020 - 10:25

Just built these & added 3/4” iron-on veneer to the raw edges of the plywood. It really looks nice and disguises the fact that this was an inexpensive build! I also shortened it up by one 4.5” section to fit it under my son’s low loft bed. I also modified the plan to become an art desk for my visually impaired nephew. My sister is going to put clear bins so he can see his supplies. 2 of these “towers” will be the sides with a 2’x4’ desktop.