m45_DIYKidsFUNiture_Final

Photo by Hep Svadja.

Build this project and more in Make: Vol. 45. Don’t have the issue? Get yours today!

Build this project and more in Make: Vol. 45. Don’t have the issue? Get yours today!

A “few” years back, as a final-semester project at the NC State University School of Industrial Design, I made a kit of plywood parts from which could be assembled several useful pieces of children’s furniture. I called it “FUNiture.”

Thanks to help from my good friend, prolific author and skilled craftsman Phil Bowie, this resurrected easy-to-make kit is now more ergonomically correct, safer, and suitable for ages 2 to 6. (The younger ones will need help with assembly.) The furniture needs no fasteners; gravity and cross-half lap joints do the trick. The parts can be stored flat, taking up very little space. The project takes about a weekend to complete and can cost around $40 – $50.

The author’s cousins Bob and Cheryl — and Mr. Bim — enjoy the original FUNiture more than 50 years ago.

The author’s cousins Bob and Cheryl — and Mr. Bim — enjoy the original FUNiture more than 50 years ago.

Colorful stickers at the joints help kids put the FUNiture together correctly by matching the colors of slots and tabs, to make a stool, chair, chalkboard, “boat,” and rocking chair. Younger kids will probably ignore the color-coding, which can yield interesting, if impractical, creations.