A little while ago I saw these crates on a blog post by Kit at DIY Diva and I loved them.  She made hers from pallets.  I did not for a few reasons.

  • 1.  I’d have to find some pallets
  • 2.  I’d have to take apart said pallets.
  • 3.  Pallets scare me.  I’m pretty sure that most of them are saturated in all sorts of things to keep the wood from rotting, none of which I want inside or to breathe while I’m cutting, sanding,etc.  Read the comments in the DIY Diva post for safety measures you can take if you decide to use pallet wood.

So I went to Lowes to the furring strip department and searched for really-beat-up-but-straight-as-I-could-find boards.  Really beat up?  Easy.  Straight as I could find?  Not so much.  I could find furring strips for the 1x3s and 1x4s, but the 1x2s were impossible, so I used Top Choice for those.

Materials for 3 DIY Crates:

  • 6—1x3x8 furring strips
  • 3—1x4x8 furring strips
  • 1—1x2x8 and 1—1x2x6 Top Choice boards (they only had a few at 8’—there was enough wood for 3 with these figures)
  • wood glue
  • Brad gun nailer and 18 gauge 1 1/4″ nails

For a grand total of $21.24.  Much, much, much cheaper than the large baskets I was eyeballing at Target 2 weeks ago.  I could have spent $50-$60 dollars on 3 baskets!  Sheesh.  Here’s my version:

Finished DIY crate


For the ends of your DIY crate cut:

  • 12—1x4s @ 11 7/8
  • 6—1x3s @ 11 7/8
  • 12—1×2 @ 9 3/8 (or whatever vertical measurement you get with your boards.  This can vary depending on your actual board widths)

Glue and nail each front and back:



For the sides of your DIY crate cut:

  • 12—1x3s @ 17 7/8
  • 6—1x4s @ 17 7/8

Glue and nail the top and bottom 1×3 and then center the 1×4 in the space left:




For the bottom of your DIY crate cut:

  • 18—1x3s @ 11 7/8

**I do not precut these!  I want a tight fit in the bottom and in a perfect world you could precut all of these and nail them in.  I know it is not a perfect world because I still get pimples at the age of 40.  So I cut each individually and then attached.



Here she is all put together!





Mine don’t have that fantastic pallet patina like Kit’s, darn it.  I used some oil stain we had in the basement that was custom mixed for a mantel when our house was built—kinda a dark cherry.  Ideally I would have went with espresso, like in my leaning wall shelves, but I didn’t have enough to do all three.  And they are going in a closet after all.

Wooden crates stained

Does that blue tarp look familiar?  It’s the ripped bed skirt that just got removed from my son’s room when we put in his new storage bed!  It still had a useful purpose in the Pink Toe household.

I didn’t like the look of the totally stained crates, so I took some 80 grit to them.  That’s pretty rough sandpaper, but I hadn’t sanded these at all before I built them, so that’s what I used to take off some of the stain to tone it down a little.

Crates sanded down a little and distressed.

Crates sanded down a little and distressed.

I loved how Kit labeled her bins.  It gives them that little extra something to make them really unique.  If I had to come up with wording, these would have sat in the garage for months.  Instead I picked cities that had meaning to us and used actual companies from those cities.

There are a lot of transfer technique tutorials out there (Kit shows how she did her labeling also), but most relied on anything BUT an inkjet printer and usual required the purchase of some product that I didn’t have here.  Quick Google search and I found this YouTube video.  If you do this, DON’T wet the wood first.  It made my print run.  I did everything else just like he instructs and it worked great!  I think it will need a light coat of some kind of topcoat in case it would get wet in the future.

Bin labeled Binghamton

Bin labeled Niles

Bin labeled Fremont


I originally planned on adding a pull in the middle, but now I’m not sure.  These might get casters and go on the floor now, so until I figure that out, the pulls will wait.

**UPDATE** As a happy coincidence, these fit a 24 pack of water.  Very tightly fit, but they go in!  I hate buying plastic one-use water bottles, but my kids were not taking water to sport practices or school (and our school’s water tests positive for lead frequently) when they had to fill their own out of our water filter.  So for a few years, I’ll buy water bottles and at least recycle the plastic.

Do you have a place for a few of these in your home?




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