Here’s a fun way to store and display Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars – a DIY wooden crate parking garage!

DIY Wooden Crate Hot Wheels Car Display and Storage

This was really easy to put together, and it looks great in our play room.  We were inspired by this idea on Petit-On that I found on Pinterest.  We own WAY too many Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars!  The boys store them in a large plastic tub, but they are starting to collect favorite models that they don’t want to get scratched up in the big tub.  Now they can park the special ones in our parking garage.

Jonathan (age 3) thinks it’s really neat!  The parking garage is doubling as a toy and storage for him.

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DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage for Hot Wheels Cars

We started with a wooden crate from Michael’s.  They were $13.99, and with a coupon, they’re an even better deal.

Step 1:  Sand your crate.  They come with a lot of rough spots!

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage for Hot Wheels Cars

Step 2:  Cut your tubes.

The original idea featured toilet paper or paper towel rolls for the cars.  We decided to use mailing tubes since they are more sturdy, and because we had several left from our mailing tube ping pong ball shooter project.

The mailing tubes that we used were Duck Brand 2 inch diameter tubes.  The length says 18 inches, but the tubes are actually almost 20 inches – you can only pack them with 18 inches worth of stuff because of the stoppers on each end.  Anyway, we were able to cut five 4″ sections out of each tube. (The last section was just slightly short.)

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage

Dad did all of the cutting with a utility knife.  We used 7 tubes total, so 35 sections.

After he cut the tubes, the edges were a little rough, like this:

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage

A little fine sand paper fixed them right up!

DIY Wooden Parking Garage

Step 3:  Cut a piece of poster board to go behind the tubes.

He realized that if the boys stuck the cars into the tubes and then they fell out the back end, it would be hard to retrieve them. So he cut a piece of poster board to glue to the backs of the tubes.

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage

The poster board is a little uneven at the top, but it doesn’t matter because the parking garage sign covers it.

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage

Step 4:  Glue down your tubes, attaching the poster board to the backs of the tubes as you go.

To get the tubes even, my husband carefully glued the bottom row to the crate, making sure that they were evenly spaced.  Then it was easy to glue on the other tubes, one row at a time.  He used a hot glue gun.

Step 5:  Make the sign.

For the parking garage sign, I used a 12 inch strip of pine that I bought pre-cut at Michael’s in the wood crafts section (near the crates).  I painted it blue and used sticker letters.  We tried to attach it with wood glue, but couldn’t figure out a way to clamp it on while it dried.  So Jordan ended up just screwing it on with wood screws, and that worked great.

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage for Hot Wheels Cars

The finished crate is just so cute!  

DIY Wooden Crate Parking Garage for Hot Wheels or Matchbox Cars

30 Comments

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  1. Tove Maren May 27, 2015

    this is such a great storage idea for the millions of cars that we collect over the years. There are always the treasured cars and this is a perfect solution. The sign you made is so cute too - that's really a great finishing touch!

    Reply
    1. georgina Fitzgerald May 27, 2015

      Hi what a fantastic idea, We would love to know if we can buy the crates in Western Australia please?
      We are going to make these into our hat pockets for our Child Care Centre :)

      Reply
      1. Barbara Sakai Jan 22, 2016

        I was looking at it and thinking the crates that come with clementines in them could work too, though they are smaller. The cars aren't that long, so I think they'd do the job.

        Reply
        1. Jo Mar 24, 2016

          How about fruit boxes. You could stack and screw together.

          Reply
        2. Ray May 28, 2015

          you can also just hot glue the poster board to the bottom of the crate and then do the tubes all the way to the front... saves a bit of wasted space in the back..you can usually get 2 or 3 cars in the each tube this way, you can also put a canvas type cloth over the front that is attached to the bottom inside before add the tubes.
          after installing the tubes put a couple of snaps like on blue jeans on the canvas and the top of the box.. it helps keep the cars from rolling out when the child moves the box around

          Reply
          1. Sarah May 28, 2015

            That's a great idea! We didn't have enough tubes to make them that deep, and we didn't want to purchase more at the moment. If you use paper towel tubes it would be easy to accumulate enough without a lot of cost, but I'm not sure how well they would hold up. If you try it, let me know!

            Reply
            1. Sandra Dec 27, 2015

              If you store 3 cars , how do the kids get them out without tilting the crate?

              Reply
              1. Erin Feb 28, 2017

                That is a cool idea! Thanks for sharing.

                Reply
              2. Pam M May 28, 2015

                The crate is deep enough to do two layers as well for storage. Or get the Half Crate they sell at Mihaels.

                Reply
                1. Sarah May 28, 2015

                  The half crate that we saw at Michael's was smaller overall - only 11.75 inches by 10 inches. Have you seen a large crate that was half the depth? That was exactly what we were looking for!! Although I will say that the nice thing about this size is that it does not tip over easily.

                  Reply
                  1. Ruthann Dec 31, 2015

                    Get a large crate, cut it in half, or however deep you want it. Sand the rough edges. Put a piece of plywood or cardboard on the back of the back-less piece, or just hang it on the wall.

                    Reply
                2. Allison May 28, 2015

                  This looks awesome!! Thanks for the idea!

                  Reply
                  1. Kenny B. May 28, 2015

                    Build your own crate! Make your own dimensions. It is easy and cheaper than buying one from a store. You are making everything else, why not the crate?
                    Love this idea!!!

                    Reply
                    1. Mary Breveleri May 29, 2015

                      You could use a drawer too.

                      Reply
                      1. Marg Jul 30, 2016

                        Exactly what I was thinking. Has the handle on top to tote around, too.!

                        Reply
                      2. Danielle Beaman Jun 21, 2019

                        Most places like Michaels and Hobby Lobby have 40% off Coupons that make the crates cheaper than making it yourself when considering the cost of wood, saw, nails, etc.

                        Reply
                      3. Tina May 28, 2015

                        I shared your idea on my blog: http://twinkleteaches.blogspot.com/2015/05/i-forgot-what-day-it-was.html

                        I think it would be neat to store Barbies in, too!

                        Happy Blogging!
                        Tina Winkle
                        twinkleteaches.blogspot.com

                        Reply
                        1. Laura Dees May 29, 2015

                          I am going to do this for the girls pet shop animals!! Thanks!!

                          Reply
                          1. Rebecca Brewer May 29, 2015

                            I'll cut box in half and use wood shims or paint sticks to create a back. That way both of my boys will have one.

                            Reply
                            1. maryanne May 30, 2015

                              This is an awesome idea.. my two year old has a tub full of the monster trucks.. I wonder if the tubes would be big enough...

                              Reply
                              1. Sarah May 31, 2015

                                Just measure your trucks. These are 2 inch diameter tubes. But the mailing tubes come in many sizes, so you can order larger ones if you want!

                                Reply
                                1. Bernadette Dec 29, 2016

                                  PVC pipe comes in different diameters and is reasonably easy to cut. Could make a mix and match size with different diameters. Could use pallet wood to create your own custom size box as well. Wrapping paper sometimes comes with a cardboard tube that could be used. Such wonderful ideas!

                                  Reply
                                  1. Cora Dec 24, 2018

                                    why use cardboard tubes, I am thinking of making this but using pvc pipes, and they come in any size.

                                    Reply
                                  2. Christine Reese May 31, 2015

                                    this is fabulous! I think we will make our tubes longer so two cars will fit and put a small stop at the front end so they don't slip out tooooo easily. Great idea!

                                    Reply
                                    1. Carolyn Moore May 31, 2015

                                      Will this idea work for toy trains? If not any ideas to store toy trains?

                                      Reply
                                      1. Sarah May 31, 2015

                                        I think it would! We actually have not had our Thomas trains out in a long time - sniff! The "baby" won't play with them because his older brothers won't play with them. I would measure the thickness of your trains. The tubes that we used have a 2 inch diameter. You might need to get tubes with a slightly larger diameter.

                                        Reply
                                        1. Candice Jan 1, 2018

                                          We bought picture ledge shelves from Ikea (Ribba and Lack were the two types I think) for all of our son’s Thomas trains. Works beautifully except he’s out of space!

                                          Reply
                                        2. Sally Casner Jun 2, 2015

                                          I think I will use PVC pipe and make them longer, to fit the whole crate. Seem like a lot of wasted space only using half the crate. My great grandson has all, x2 and x3, the Thomas and Friends trains. This is such a cute ides!

                                          Reply
                                          1. Barbara Hume Jun 2, 2015

                                            Love this idea. I have a couple old wooden Coke boxes that I am going to try. Should work. My grandson will love it. Probably have to make at least two of them,. He has LOTS of cars !

                                            Reply
                                            1. Maureen Jun 26, 2015

                                              I love the idea with one exception ... all that dead space. When we were young they made a case that opened with space on both sides for cars. Could you not do something similar by cutting the crate in two? Then add more tubes for more cars or some way to store other "car" playthings like a gas station. The imagination can soar. Thank you and have and fun

                                              Reply
                                              1. Sarah Jul 1, 2015

                                                Since these wooden crates are not the highest quality wood, I'd be afraid of the wood splitting when sawing it in half. But it might be worth a try - the crates aren't very expensive! You would also need to add a couple of hinges.

                                                Reply
                                              2. BlueCat Aug 11, 2015

                                                What a fantastic idea!

                                                Reply
                                                1. Marsha Aug 14, 2015

                                                  Great idea, but we bought white 3 inch white sewer pipe plastic tues and cut them 8 inches and put a scrap piece of wood for the back. This way there is a longer pipe for the cars or trains to store.

                                                  Reply
                                                  1. tammi Dec 23, 2015

                                                    This is a great idea how ever I made something similar I use or pictures and certificate from here school projects

                                                    Reply
                                                    1. Susan Dec 24, 2015

                                                      FINALLY a website for boys!! Everything is for girls and their hair bows and dresses and dolls. My youngest is almost 10 but would love the garage!!

                                                      Reply
                                                      1. Faye Dec 29, 2015

                                                        This is totally awesome! If you don't want to purchase a tube, Family Dollar brand toilet paper (the one compared to northern i believe) has nice heavy tubes as compared to the flimsy tubes of name-brand toilet paper. I save millions of tubes for projects that come up like this one, but kiddos are rough on things so the tubing is a great alternative...just giving my frugal 2 cents LOL

                                                        Reply
                                                        1. Sarah Dec 30, 2015

                                                          That is good to know! Most toilet paper tubes are pretty cheap these days!

                                                          Reply
                                                        2. Lorenda Koerner Jan 30, 2016

                                                          This was a great Idea, I made one for my grandson. I used pvc pipe and particle board. I think it will last a lot longer than cardboard.

                                                          Reply
                                                          1. Chris White Feb 2, 2016

                                                            This is a awesome idea.I am going to build 2 of them to your plans,but add color to the crates.Thank you again.

                                                            Reply
                                                            1. Gayle Mar 27, 2016

                                                              I bought just caps on eBay and I wonder if I used the caps instead of poster board would it work ok? Also I thought if I took the boards off the back of the crate and put tubes and caps back to back and just have a two sided garage would that work?

                                                              Reply
                                                              1. Erin Feb 28, 2017

                                                                I was just debating cutting the crate and attaching the top half to the back half to do a double sided garage. Onther poster mentioned using snaps to create a lid of sorts so it can be transported without spillage

                                                                Reply
                                                                1. Tanya Apr 4, 2019

                                                                  That sounds like a genius idea!!

                                                                  Reply
                                                                2. Karen Moody Dec 26, 2016

                                                                  I love this idea for my grandsons. They have so many cars. How many cars can you fit in one tube?
                                                                  Thanks for the idea.

                                                                  Reply
                                                                  1. Nikki Jan 12, 2017

                                                                    My 4 year old daughter loves Hot Wheels..so much so that was her theme for her birthday in November. She is starting to get a good amount and with plans to re-do a lot of our rooms I was looking for a DIY to store them and google brought up your website. Great inspiration.. I have some pvc pipe from a previous project I did and I think I will use a bee hive box (I am a beekeeper) and use your method to put it together. I am really excited to try this. Thanks for the post!

                                                                    Reply
                                                                    1. Dianne Thompson Jul 2, 2017

                                                                      That is a great idea for little boys to store all their hot wheels in and the cost to build this Parkin garage is very affordable thanks for sharing this idea Dianne.I would like a list of all materials needed to make this for my Great-Grandson he would love ❤️ it

                                                                      Reply
                                                                      1. Cindy deRosier Jul 19, 2017

                                                                        I'm the Editor of Fun Family Crafts and wanted to let you know that we have featured your cool car garage! You can see it here:

                                                                        https://funfamilycrafts.com/wooden-crate-parking-garage/

                                                                        If you have other kid-friendly craft tutorials, we'd love for you to submit them. Thanks for a great project idea!

                                                                        Reply
                                                                        1. Half Hour Hank Jul 9, 2018

                                                                          Great idea! Adding this to the list of projects to do with my son. He's got so many Hot Wheels and no great way to organize them all.

                                                                          Reply
                                                                          1. Mandisa Crichlow Jan 19, 2019

                                                                            My son will love this,it's really cool.
                                                                            We have to make one!

                                                                            Reply
                                                                            1. Tina May 13, 2019

                                                                              The parking garage idea is amazing. Will have to make this for my 5 year old!

                                                                              Reply

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