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DIY Outdoor Storage Box with Plans

Hide clutter and package deliveries inside this DIY outdoor storage box! Get the woodworking plans for this project and get building!

DIY outdoor storage box

I seem to have a thing for storage boxes and benches. They're just so handy, especially to hide away all those toys! One of my first big woodworking projects was this outdoor storage bench for our front porch.

DIY storage bench on front porch

But after years in the wet Seattle winters, the paint was peeling and the trim was falling apart! Not exactly the curb appeal I was going for...

outdoor storage bench after years in the rain

But the lid was made of solid cedar, so I took the time to strip the paint and bring it back to natural wood so I could stain it for my new project.

cedar planks after stripping off paint

This porch box is an elongated version of the planter box I recently made for the same space. The matching set really brings the whole front porch together and looks so much better!

Here's how to build your own outdoor storage box!

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Materials needed for diy outdoor storage box

How to Make an Outdoor Storage Box

Download the woodworking plans

Click on the box below to get the woodworking plans for this project! The plans have all the dimensions you need, plus step by step instructions with clear illustrations to help you along the way.

download box for DIY outdoor storage box woodworking plans

Build the frame

Cut all the 2x2 pieces according to the cut list in the plans. If you're planning to use this storage box as a bench, you might want to switch to 2x4's so it can support more weight. We discovered that we usually sit on the steps instead of the bench, so I went with 2x2's because they're lighter and cheaper!

DIY outdoor storage box frame pieces cut out and arranged on a workbench

Drill pocket holes in the ends of the boards. Make sure the pocket hole jig is centered, so you don't end up drilling off the side of the board. These narrow 2x2's can be a little tricky!

drilling pocket holes in 2x2 boards

Build the identical front and back frame pieces first, using waterproof wood glue and 2 ½" pocket hole screws. Don't forget to check for square as you go!

side frame of DIY outdoor storage box
download box for DIY outdoor storage box woodworking plans

Attach the connecting pieces to one side of the frame.

connecting pieces added to one side of DIY outdoor storage box frame

Then flip it over and screw the other side in place.

completed frame for DIY outdoor storage box

I sanded a bevel on all four legs to prevent the corners from splintering in case the box is pushed across the rough concrete porch.

sanding bevel on bottom of legs of outdoor storage box

I recommend staining the frame now, instead of waiting until the entire storage box is assembled. It's much easier to reach all those tricky spots when it's open like this! I used leftover Ready Seal stain in Natural Cedar from when I stained our deck last year.

staining frame of DIY outdoor storage box with Ready Seal

Prep and cut the outside cladding

I love using cedar fence pickets for projects like this. They're an inexpensive way to enclose a box or space (like underneath deck stairs) with weather-resistant lumber. Dig through the pile to find the best pieces with minimal knots and flaws. I've unearthed some beautiful cedar from those giant stacks!

western red cedar fence pickets at Home Depot

If you don't have a table saw to rip these boards to the different widths, you can buy 5 ½" and 3 ½" fence pickets to get a similar look. You'll just have one narrow strip in the middle instead of two. I've used this pattern in lots of other outdoor projects (like the umbrella stand side table below), and it's become my signature look!

attaching slats to sides of umbrella stand table base with brad nails

Cut the cedar fence pickets to roughly the length of the sides of the box. You'll be trimming them all to fit later, but the shorter lengths are easier to handle. I just stack them up and chop 'em all at the same time!

cutting stack of fence pickets at the miter saw

Sand down all the boards to remove the rough, splintered surface. I went one step further and used my jointer and thickness planer to flatten the boards and reveal the gorgeous grain underneath.

cedar fence picket passing through thickness planer

Next, cut the pieces to the desired width. The pattern I used has 5" strips on the top and bottom, with two 2" strips in the middle.

download box for DIY outdoor storage box woodworking plans

I ripped them down to size on the table saw, using a Grr-ripper to hold those small pieces tight against the fence.

using a Grr-ripper to cut pieces for outside of storage box

Those rough fence pickets clean up nice! I picked out the best ones to be installed on the front and left side of the storage box where they'll be seen from the street.

cedar fence pickets cut to size for outdoor storage box

Attach the cladding to the frame

Start with the short ends of the storage box first. I stood the frame upright to make it easier to work on.

end slats of DIY outdoor storage box

Mark the exact width of the top slat from underneath with a pencil, then cut it to fit. It should be flush with the outside edges of the frame.

marking ends of slats from underneath

Apply wood glue on both ends where it will come into contact with the frame. Make sure you use waterproof wood glue like Titebond III, or your box will start to come apart after the first rainstorm!

applying wood glue to cedar slats

Use a clamp to hold the slat aligned with the top and sides of the frame while you nail it into place.

nailing first slat onto frame of DIY outdoor storage box

The slats are ¼" apart, so I used a scrap of ¼" plywood as a spacer. Place the next slat tight against the spacer, mark the ends, and trim them to fit.

using ¼" plywood as a spacer between slats on outdoor storage box

Repeat the process down the side of the box. The bottom slat should be at or slightly below the bottom of the frame. Then flip the frame over and complete the other short end.

short end of DIY outdoor storage box complete

The longer sides cover the cut ends of the shorter cladding pieces. These fence pickets can vary slightly in thickness, so it's always better to cut them to fit rather than all at the same time beforehand! Line up one side flush with the end first.

front slat lined up to cover side pieces

Mark the other end from underneath like before. Cut the slat to fit, then attach it to the frame with exterior wood glue and brad nails.

marking front slat of outdoor storage box before cutting for a perfect fit

You don't have to use the spacer for these long pieces. Just line up the edges with the side pieces!

front and side of outdoor storage box complete

Now it's starting to look like a storage box!

DIY outdoor storage box sides complete

Cut and attach the bottom of the box

The inside of the box isn't quite wide enough for three full fence pickets. I cut the first two down to size, then measured the gap in between. I wanted a bit of space between the slats to make it easier to clean out the bottom (there was a ton of grass in the bottom of our old one), so I subtracted ½" from the gap measurement to allow for ¼" spacing on either side.

two slats in bottom of DIY outdoor storage box with gap in the middle

Attach the bottom slats with brad nails along the supports.

download box for DIY outdoor storage box woodworking plans

Cut and assemble the lid

I'm reusing the lid from my old storage bench, so all I had to do was cut it to size! I didn't put a lot of effort into sanding down that section when I stripped the paint, since I knew it would be cut off later. Allow for at least ½" of overhang on three sides so you have something to grip onto when you lift the lid.

cutting bench lid on the table saw

Since you probably don't have a random cedar plank lid laying around, you'll need to edge join three pieces together with exterior wood glue and pocket hole screws. You can see how I made the lid here. Wait until after you've stained the rest of the project before attaching the lid to the box.

Stain the outdoor storage box

Since I already stained the frame, the rest was easy! Make sure to work the stain into the grooves between the slats, and don't forget the bottom!

staining slats of outdoor storage box

Attach hinges

I was hoping to reuse the hinges from the old bench, but they were getting pretty rusty! Stainless steel hinges will hopefully hold up better to our wet weather. If you're planning to use this as an outdoor toy box, I recommend installing a soft-close mechanism to prevent little fingers from getting slammed by the lid.

download box for DIY outdoor storage box woodworking plans

Fill up your new DIY outdoor storage box!

I cleared out most of the junk from the old box, so we're just left with a few umbrellas and my son's play swords.

DIY outdoor storage box with lid open, showing umbrellas and toys stored inside

Now there's plenty of room for packages, which are hidden from view from the street.

packages hidden on front porch inside DIY outdoor storage box

From the front, you can't tell that there's anything inside.

DIY outdoor storage box on front porch

Our front porch looks so much better now! The planter and the storage box tie in with the doormat and my newly built screen door perfectly, so the whole space feels more cohesive.

front porch with DIY planter box, screen door and outdoor storage box

So what are you waiting for? Download the woodworking plans for this DIY outdoor storage box and get building!

download box for DIY outdoor storage box woodworking plans