How to build a child's pushcart.
This is the Imperial (ft & ins) version
click here for the Metric version
This project shows how to make a child's pushcart.
This type of lumber cart is by no means new. In fact the basic design has been around for many years, which is really a testament to the usefulness of such a toy; a toy that has helped many a child to take their first step to evolve from crawler to toddler. Apart from helping children to learn to walk, it also is a transporter for your child to move toys and blocks etc. to and fro around the room. The pushcart is probably the most practical and entertaining toy a crawler or toddler can have!
A bit of load in the tray can of course help to steady or balance against the child's weight, but we've designed this particular plan with balance in mind! We've given consideration to such things as the rear wheels being placed as far back as possible, the handle being placed as far forward as possible while still retaining easy workability and a block built into the front of the pushcart to act as a counterweight.
This pushcart is constructed using common stock and can be built in less than half a day.
Note: All dimensions are in inches. The lengths referred to below are the exact lengths. When purchasing allow extra for wastage.
[A] 2x3 (approximate finished actual size 1 1/2"x 2 1/2") 2 pieces @ 19" long
[B] 2x3 (approximate finished actual size 1 1/2"x 2 1/2") 1 piece @ 10" long
[C] 1x2 (approximate finished actual size 3/4"x 1 1/2") 1 piece @ 10" long
[D] 1/4" thick plywood (or other similar panel sheet) 1 piece @ 18"x 10 3/8"
[E] 1x2 (approximate finished actual size 3/4"x 1 1/2") 2 pieces @ 18 1/2" long, cut back one end of each piece 25 degrees off square, (see The plans)
[F] 3/4" diameter dowel. 1 piece @ 13" long
Wood screws 8 @ 2" long and 4 @ 1 1/4" long
Wheels, bolts, washers and nuts, (see Step 6 for description)
A dozen little panel pins (very small nails)
A piece of sand paper
Follow the steps below and refer to the plans as necessary
The plans. Click to enlarge.
Cut all the timber as per the cutting list above. Drill a 3/4" diameter hole centered 1 1/8" down from top end of handle arms [E].
Cut a groove 5/16" wide and 5/16" deep along members [A]. Measure so that the groove will be just below members [B] and [C]. The groove can be cut with a router or by repeated cuts with a circular power saw with the blade set to a depth of 5/16".
Or an easier option...
If you think that making the grooves might be too difficult, then don't do them. Instead, cut the bottom panel sheet [D] so that it will fit in between members [A]. The panel can be glued and nailed at the front and rear to the underside of members [B] and [C]. Then cut a couple of sticks of wood about 3/4"x 3/4" @ 12" long and glue them to the underside of the sheet panel and members [A] to stop any sag in the middle.
Glue and screw members [A] to members [C] and [B]. Refer to
for placement. Use 2" long wood screws, 2 at each meeting and pre-drill the holes through members [A] first.
Glue the handle [F] into the holes in the handle arms [E] and then screw the bottom of the handle arms [E] to the side members [A]. Refer to The
for placement. Use 1 1/4" long wood screws, 2 at each meeting and pre-drill the holes through members [E] first.
Slide the plywood panel [D] in the grooves until positioned as shown in
and then glue and nail (with small nails) to the undersides of members [B] and [C].
Step 6. The wheels.
For this project we used 4" diameter wheels which were 3/4" wide with a 1/4" center hole. We used 1/4" gutter bolts 2 1/2" long for the axles. The bolt was first put through the center hole in the wheel, a washer was then put on, followed by a nut and another washer. The shank of the bolt was then put through a 1/4" hole in the side board [A] and then another washer and nut was added. The two nuts were tightened against the side board [A] in such a way that held the bolt rigid yet allowed play for the wheel, thus allowing for it to spin freely. See
There is now a wide range of wheels available, and prices, types and sizes vary from place to place so basically any wheel with a diameter between 2 1/2" and 5" will suffice. The important things to note are:
to use bolts that have the same shank thickness as the diameter across the center hole in the wheel.
the bolt should be long enough to go through the wheel center and the side board [A], and also be able to take 3 washers and two nuts.
The hole size in the side board [A] should be the same diameter as the wheel center hole.
The hole in the side board [A] should be in from both ends the same distance as the radius of the wheel.
The Finishing Touches: A bit of paint if you want (non-toxic of course) and that's it!
Author: Les Kenny
Editor: Maree Anderson