Safety must come first, so inspect the hinges on the toy box, drill a few holes into the box and remove any locking hardware. Safety hinges allow the child to safely open the toy box without fear of smashing her fingers or the box lid coming down on the her head. Spring hinges hold the toy box lid in an open position when raised to prevent it slamming shut on little fingers. Spring hinges can be installed on a toy box that has no lift mechanism as well.
If you're particularly worried about your child opening the toy chest, consider purchasing damper or gas spring hinges. These tubular-style hinges work like a shock absorber to hold the heavy lid open. They gently raise and lower the lid in a measured fashion. Some damper hinges have adjustable settings to control the tension and speed of movement. You can find both spring and damper safety hinges at your local hardware store.
If you've got just a few hours to restore your old toy box, grab the nearest can of semi-gloss paint and a paintbrush. Wipe down the whole toy box to remove any dust and start painting. You'll probably need two evenly applied coats with an hour drying time for each coat. The paint will be tacky for about 24 hours. A coat of paint provides a simple and neat addition to your child's room with minimal effort.
Simple decorations add just a little color and pizazz to an otherwise plain toy box. Stencils of your child's favorite animals provide plenty of color with minimal fuss. Just place the stencil on the box lid or sides, and sponge on paint for an immediate decorative accent. Allow the paint to dry for at least 4 hours.
Maybe you're considering allowing your child to decorate the toy box. Grab a paintbrush, paper towels and some craft paint. Paint a solid coat of paint onto your child's finger and palm. Have him place random hand prints on the toy box. Add multiple colors that match the color palate of your child's room for a heartwarming and personal addition.
Most craft stores sell unpainted flat wooden letters. Purchase the correct letters for your child's name and paint with coordinating craft paints. Arrange these letters on the toy chest lid to add a personalized touch. Craft stores also sell a variety of wooden figures such as flowers, bugs, clouds, animals, cars and boats. Choose a combination of letters and figures. You can easily stick these to the painted wood surface with a hot glue gun.
If you have any leftover wallpaper or border paper, cut out some of the designs on the wallpaper. You can cut just a few to place on the corners of the lid or randomly place the designs all over the box. Plan your design and then wet the back of the wallpaper and stick it to the toy chest. Apply a small amount of craft glue to any edges to help prevent lifting.