Aiden standing in his Irish-themed Standing Box at the Assistive Device Center.

How to build a standing box

Step by step directions on how to build a Standing Box, from the Perkins Assistive Device Center

The following directions are one way the Assistive Device Center has successfully make a Standing Box, but adaptive design is more of an art than a science, so feel free to explore alternative designs.

Measurements to take:

A: Distance from bottom of child’s foot to bent elbow when in standing position

B: Largest width across child’s hips plus 1-2 inches 

C: Depth of child from toes to back of buttocks

D: Distance from bottom of child’s foot to widest part around hips/buttocks

E: Desired width of tray (determined by space/activities student will do)

F: Desired depth of tray
diagram of box with measurement areas marked

Building Instructions

The Box

  1. Orient a large piece of cardboard with the flutes running up and down.
  2. Measure the height to match the desired finished height of the standing box (A).
  3. The central section will be the desired width of the box (B), and the two side sections will be the desired depth(C). 
    cardboard with marks measured and showing a 3/4 section of removed cardboard
  4. Mark  ¾” strips between the sections.
  5. Clamp a ruler along the first line of this ¾” strip. Cut along the line with a box cutter. Clamp the ruler and cut along all the other lines with the cutter. Using needle nosed pliers, pull out the top layer of cardboard from the strip.
  6. Fold along the strips so that you have 90 degrees at the corners.
    ensuring 90 degree angles
  7. You will now make an outside piece to make sure that your stander sides are solid.
  8. Measure the distance across the back of your folded inside piece.  This will be the width of the center of your outside piece.
  9. Measure the outside side length of the inside piece. This will be the width of the sides of your outside piece.
    measuring the distance of the folded piece
  10. Again orient a large piece of cardboard with the flutes running up and down. Using measurements from steps 7 & 8, mark your slightly larger piece with the 3/4 inch strips separating the panels.  Remove the top layer of cardboard as you did before.  Fold.
  11. Place the larger square shape outside the smaller one to make sure it fits. Trim or sand to make an even match as needed.
    aligning the inner and outer squares
  12. Glue the two box pieces by first gluing the two center sections. Put a liberal amount of hot melt glue in the center section of the larger outside piece. Place the smaller one on top making sure it is centered.
  13. When secure, glue each of the sides together. Use of a clamp is recommended so that the folded pieces will not open up. You want to make sure that you have nice 90 degree corners.

The Base

  1. The base will be the same width as the desired width of the tray (E).
  2. The length of the base will be equal to the desired depth of tray (F) plus about 6 inches. This additional 6 inches added to (F) is to ensure the stander does not tip forward (add more for a larger stander) and to make sure that it is stable.
    base with measurements displayed
  3. Round the corners of the base so that they will be less likely to crush.
  4. Center the box between the sides of the base. 
  5. Draw a line across at the distance that will be the depth of the tray (F). This is where you will line up the edges of your box. 
  6. Trace around the inside and outside of the box. 
    tracing the box
  7. Use a serrated knife or a jig saw to cut out this shape. Be care not to make the opening too big, or the fit of the box into the opening will be sloppy (if the fit it too tight sand or file the edges of the opening as needed).
    cutting out the shape of the box
  8. Cut out a second layer for the base that matches the first one but does not have a cut out.
  9. Glue the two base pieces together.
    two base pieces side by side

Attaching the Box to the Base

  1. Check to make sure that you have a good fit for the box into the base.
  2. Put a liberal amount of hot glue into the opening in the top layer of the base.
    adding hot glue to the base
  3. Push the box down into the base. 
    pushing the box down into the base

Filling in the Corners of the Box

Your standing box would be functional as a square, but when the tray is added it is nice not to have gaps at the corners of the child’s belly. Therefore pieces will be added to the inside of the box to close in some of the space. 

  1. Measure the inside corner of the box to determine the desired width of the insets.
    measuring and cutting the corner inserts
  2. Angle the cuts of the sides of this piece to 45 degrees.
    45 degree angles on insert piece
  3. Check the fit in the corner, and glue into place.
    checking the fit in the corner and glueing
  4. Repeat this process for the other corner.

Strap Slots

  1. You will want a good wide strap to fit snugly around the child’s hips (typically 4 inches for a toddler or wider for a larger child).
  2. The center of this slot should be the height from the bottom of the child’s foot to the widest part of their hips/buttocks (D).
    slot in the side of the box
  3. A general rule is to make these slots about 4 inches x 1/2 inch for small children and a bit longer for larger students.
  4. The slot for the strap should be about 1 inch in from the edge of the standing box.
  5. Use a serrated knife to carve out the slot. 
    cutting out the slot with a serrated knife

The Tray

  1. Cut a piece of Triwall that is the desired size of the tray that you have been planning from the start (E x F). Make sure that the flutes run across the tray so that is is less likely to bend if the child leans on the middle of it. 
    tray with tracing on it
  2. Place the stander upside down on the center of the edge of the tray.
  3. Trace the inside shape of the structure to make the belly cut. 
    tracing the inside shape
  4. Cut where marked. 
  5. Cut strips for the lip that will go around the outside of the tray. 
  6. Curve the front ends of these strips to minimize crushing.
  7. Glue the strips in place. 
    gluing the strips

Tray Supports

  1. Next make several vertical support pieces to hold up the tray.
  2. The flutes in these pieces should run up and down and two pieces of cardboard should be glued together for extra support. 
    flutes running up and down
  3. Supports extend from the outside of the box to within several inches of the edge of the tray. 
  4. Typically there are two supports in front of the box and one on each side (more can be added as necessary).
  5. Glue the side supports 1 inch behind the strap slots.
    gluing the side supports
  6. Glue the front supports 2 inches from each end of the back of the box. 

Final Assembly

  1. Quickly apply hot glue to all the top surfaces of the standing box and supports.
    applying hot glue to all top surfaces
  2. Carefully place the tray on the top.
  3. Tape edges with water activated paper tape.
  4. Paint sander with semi-glass acrylic paint. 
    completed standing box

How to build a standing box. Photo shows boy standing behind Irish themed custom wooden stander.

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