DIY Hot Wheels Car Storage Jar

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Hot Wheels car jar tutorial
This past week, I received a sweet comment from a reader about our youngest boys’ bedroom.

“I just discovered your blog and I keep coming back to this page because this is a GREAT KIDS BEDROOM!!! I love all of the ideas, especially the bookshelf and the jar of toy cars, but will you please give a few pointers on how you made it (or where you bought it)?”

Boy's shared bedroom by Simplicity In The South. Hot wheels jar.

Now seemed like the perfect time to show all of you how I made the Hot Wheels car storage jar for the boys back in August. Since I wanted to do a tutorial, I made another one in navy.

But first, to answer the question about the bookcase, you can see the tutorial from Remodelando La Casa on how to add crown molding to the top of a bookcase.

In addition to the crown molding, we added 1 x 4s to the base of the bookcase. We cut down a piece of bead board  and nailed it to the back to replace the flimsy cardboard back that came with the shelf. The bead board was painted with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Provence.

Kids room beadboard backed bookcase

Now, back to the jars.

After seeing the colorful toy animal storage jars from House to Home, I had an idea to glue cars to the lids instead of using plastic animals. The height of the cars make them perfect for small hands opening the jars. Most importantly, the boys love them and don’t mind putting away their Hot Wheels when they’re done playing.

Storage jars for Hot Wheels

supplies you'll need

Supplies to make a Hot Wheels car jar

1. The obvious: Hot Wheels car and a jar. I bought the jar at Wal-Mart. 

2. Sandpaper 

3. Gorilla Glue

4. Masking tape

5. Spray primer and spray paint

instructionsAfter I made the first jar, our youngest son, Mason, almost cried when he realized I had spray painted and glued his favorite car to the lid. I had no idea, but I felt really bad about it. So, the first step to this project would be to let your child pick which car he is willing to give up.

Lightly scuff up the lid with sandpaper. After that, wipe it clean with a paper towel and vinegar to get the dust and fingerprints off.

Lightly dampen the underside of the car and the center of the lid with water. Since the Gorilla glue expands like crazy, apply just a small amount to the underside of the car.

Let the glue sit for 5 to 10 minutes before placing it on the lid.

how to glue a toy car to a jar lid
Tape the car down and let it dry for a couple of hours. Since the glue expands, you don’t want the car to look like it’s levitating off the lid.

use tape as a clamp as the Gorilla Glue tries

After a coat of primer and a couple of coats of spray paint, you’re done!

how to make a hot wheels car jarI love how they add colorful storage to the boys’ bookcase.

Storage idea for a boy's room- Hot Wheels car jar

This is how their bookcase is organized. I had to grab a quick shot while it looked neat. Kids room storage ideas
You can see how I made the decoupaged fabric-covered polka dot pail here and the decoupaged map crate here. To see our boys’ room reveal, click here.

hot wheels car jar
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  1. So this might be a silly question…but approx. how many cars did you fit into each jar? Just trying to inventory before I head to the store. What a fun idea!

    1. Not a silly question at all. It’s good info for others to know as well. The large jar car holds approximately 32 and the small jar holds 18. You might be able to fit 20 if you threw in a couple of convertibles. I bet my husband thinks I’m crazy counting hot wheels out at 10:00 at night. Glad you like the project! Hope the little one does too!

  2. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this project!

    I recently started writing for Treehouse TV in addition to my own blog, Sew Creative. I did a post for Treehouse with a roundup of my favorite Hot Wheels projects. I included this in the roundup. I’d love for you to take a look:

    I also wrote about it on my blog:

    Best Wishes,


    1. Thank you! You’re doing better than I was. Before I made the jars, their cars were at the bottom of 4 toy bins.

  3. Super fun Tricia! Love these. Too bad Austin doesn’t play with toy cars anymore… darn. I saw this at Easter with bunnies, and I’ve been wanting to try it with something ever since. Just so cute!!!! Looks darling on thier shelves.

  4. These are so cute! I just did something similar with my boys lego figures. But I didn’t paint them! I’m going to have to now,,, love it!

  5. Just picked up a pile of old toy cars at a charity shop and was wondering how to store them. This is so cool – thanks for the idea.

  6. I absolutely love this. I have seen lots of spray painted figures on the jar lids…but the cars are perfect for a little boy’s room. Pinning for my son’s room!

  7. Love that! What a great idea! I have no one the right age for toy cars right now (or at least no one who’s interested in them), but I’m pinning this for if the baby gets into them later 🙂

    1. Thanks for pinning, Gretchen! If they’re anything like mine, once they get started, there’s no going back. Even my husband still collects Hot Wheels. He just can’t take them out of the box. 🙂

  8. This is such a cute idea, I still have hot wheels that belonged to my now 37 year old son and my grandchildren play with them! I am going to make some of your jars and organize them! Thanks so much!

  9. You ROCK!! With two 5 year old boys that are infatuated with matchbox cars, this would be so cute in their room. With the bazillion cars we have, we might have to organize them by color. Just sayin’… we REALLY have that many! 🙂 Love how you organized the bookcase. The boys room has always been the hardest for me to decorate. Thanks for inspiration Tricia!

    1. I was just talking to my friend at work and she said she was going to sort her son’s cars by color, too! That would look amazing on a shelf!

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