Turn a laundry detergent bottle into a toddler toolbox

Picture 1.pngLooking for a long weekend craft project? How about Steve's brilliant laundry detergent bottle toolbox?

A couple of nights ago I was watching my son, Evan, playing with an empty detergent container. I was impressed with how easy it was for him to handle the big container, and how the handle seemed to be just the right size for his little hands. So, I decided to do a little experiment.

I took one of our steak knives (Apologies to my wife…) and made two big openings, cutting off the detergent spouts. Then I put it in the dishwasher (Apologies to my wife…) and made a huge mess (apparently it had more detergent than I previously thought). The next day I took it to work, and on my lunch break ground all the edges smooth and rounded the cuts. I think you could do the same with a palm sander, or if you cut carefully the first time you could round the edges with a by gently melting the plastic with a lighter. On an impulse I took some spray paint and covered up the detergent label (I couldn’t remove it with water or acetone…). The result? A new little tool box for Evan. This is just an early prototype, but he loves it. Future models might have interior compartments (one liter bottles?) or exterior webbing to contain the tools better.

Steve's blog has more description and prototype photos. I love it.


  1. Rosie@parentingissues says

    A brilliant way of recycling plastic waste. There are probably many more ideas that could develop out of this one.

    Great stuff!

  2. Nutmeg says

    I’m totally going to do this simply to make yet another container for my son to put things into and carry around. His absolute favorite thing of all time.


  3. Phasic says

    What a neat invention! You could probably also cover the sharp edges with duct tape, instead of sanding. I like how the sides are high enough that all the “collectibles” and tools don’t spill out. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Kara says

    We’ve done something similar with a laundry detergent plastic box – it’s a sturdy, perfect container (with a lid!) for storing extra diapers, food and supplies in the car to supplement whatever we forgot to pack in the diaper bag.

  5. mamabunnyco says

    Oh, wow! This is such a great, creative idea!
    I’m going to get my husband to help with this (I’m not so good with knives).
    These would be great to hold categories of toys – Legos in one, toy cars in another.
    Super cool!

  6. steve says

    Thanks for all your great comments. I would love to add photos of your creation to the website, so email them along to me at steven @ stevenrutledge.com