Learn how to build a simple and stylish rustic wood crate out of reclaimed wood, to store tools, grow plants, or for anything desired! Easy instructions.
Hello there old crate woodworking friends!
If this doesn’t describe you today, I sure hope it will tomorrow! Because making your own old sturdy wood crate is fun, easy and oh so very cheap! 🙂
I LOVE collecting vintage crates or wooden boxes for decoration. Who doesn’t? Old crates are also fun to use as shelves, shadow boxes, flower boxes and to store anything desired.
But sometimes you just can’t find the right size, or at a price that’s affordable. Or perhaps you wish to modify a crate to suit, however you don’t want to tinker with the value of old wooden crates.
So that’s where making your own durable wood crate comes into play. And this little wooden crate box turned out really cool! Using whatever scrap wood you have.
Here’s the tutorial on how to build a DIY wood crate with a rustic look that has you believing it’s the real antique deal!
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How to build a reclaimed wood crate
Cordless drill, drill bits and screws
Wood glue is optional. I didn’t use any.
Building the frame
1. Cut 4 boards (2 sides, front and back) to the desired width and length and height of your crate.
This will become your frame, which creates the 4 sides of your crate.
Now… if you study vintage crates, most have thicker ends and thinner fronts and backs. So if you have the choice, you can follow those guidelines.
However being that I used pallet wood, I used 4 boards of the same thickness.
Tip: It’s ALL about the wood patina. New wood will not result in an old looking crate unless you really work it over. Reclaimed wood is best.
2. Pre-drill holes in all four corners on two of the opposite ends.
Reclaimed wood tends to be brittle. So to avoid the wood splitting when using screws, pre-drilling holes is encouraged.
If you use a Kreg Jig or air nailer, you can skip this step.
Read why I prefer to use screws for building HERE.
Assembling the crate
3. Load screws into the holes.
Starting the outer frame is always the trickiest part because there’s nothing yet stabilizing it.
So loading in your screws, then driving them in just a little before the build really helps.
I use screws just long enough to do the job.
Any longer and you attach your project to your table. Ask me how I know.
Hold or clamp the corners together, and pump the screws in slowly with a cordless drill.
Drill in the screws just enough to secure the wood.
Installing the bottom of the crate
5. Select wood for the bottom.
Anything will do. I nearly did these tongue and groove planks I had painted. But then decided I needed more woodsy wood. So I chose simple cedar strips instead.
Take apart part of your funky kitchen cupboards in order to get it if you must… because you have lots of spare time to redo the kitchen anyway, right?
6. Measure, then cut the bottom wood to size.
- Place frame good side down.
- Position bottom planks across the top of the crate.
- From underneath, pencil the wood along the outside of the crate frame. Or simply measure each plank to the proper length of the crate.
7. Sand before attaching.
If using screws, pre-drill holes first.
If your nail gun works, you are most fortunate.
For true authenticity? Use rusty nails with big heads! Too bad I couldn’t find mine.
Isn’t this mix of wood gorgeous?
Now that’s a sturdy looking crate! Or to use as sturdy wooden boxes!
Finishing the crate
At this point, you could add details to the crate such as:
- crate-styled stencils
Where to find crate stencils
HERE are plenty of crate-styled stencils to choose from!
I ended up stenciling this crate with a small Farmers’ Market sign.
The finished crate
This little crate happened to be the perfect size for legal sized paper, so I choose to use it for paper storage beside the computer. It’s perfect, and makes the cutest file box ever!
However crates can be used for absolutely anything! And this isn’t’ the only one I’ve built. Here’s a few more to make or how to use them!
Think you’ll give a hand made crate a go?
More crate projects to make: