before & after: vintage crate + plant display stand

Sarah’s beach cottage has had its fair share of chic salvaged furniture over the years: we featured Sarah’s chalkboard fridge last fall and her polka dot desk makeover a little over a month ago. Today she tackles a simple old wooden crate and gives it her signature laid-back beachy style. Great work, Sarah! — Kate

Time: 30 minutes

Cost: $15

Basic Steps: First, clean and disinfect the box. Then mix water-based paint with water to a milk-like consistency. Wash the paint onto the box with a paintbrush and allow to dry. Then tape the stencil to the box with masking tape and stencil onto the box with pencil. Last, fill in the stencil numbers with the pencil.

I would advise people to keep their eyes open for old wooden crates and boxes in flea markets and elsewhere, as they can be easily cleaned up and up-cycled without too much of effort. This is also a rewarding project if you are not particularly  “crafty” but want the satisfaction of saving something from the landfill . . . the only skill you really need is the ability to color-in and keep a steady hand when stenciling, and even if you haven’t got that, your mistakes can easily be erased! — Sarah

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Alicia’s crate display stand after the jump!

I love old wooden crates, and when I saw this project from Alicia and her husband, Demetrious, I was instantly inspired to make my own version of this vertical planter display. The piece cleverly allows for lots of storage without taking up much floor space. It looks great with plants, but it could hold a number of things beautifully. Great job, Alicia and Demetrious!

Time: 10–12 hours

Cost: $86

Basic Steps: First, my husband Demetrious took all of the crates and measured how the stacking would work and how far up on the stand he wanted them to go. He drilled a hole in the bottom crate so that it would rest on the pole and be the only stationary crate. He then welded the brackets onto the pole and attached the crates to them. This allows the crates to move around so the piece is totally adjustable! He made the top drawer out of old barn wood to finish the look, and then sanded the base. We are putting it in our store to use as a fun display piece for scarves and accessories, but it would make an amazing end table or office storage unit — really, the possibilities are endless!

My advice is to take your time and measure, measure measure before you cut or make any final changes. Use your imagination to make pieces that you have never seen before come to life. It’s so fun! — Alicia

  1. cool idea! it looks so authentic!

  2. Maggie says:

    I picked up a bunch of vintage boxes from craigslist a few months ago, too! Looks like I’ll be cleaning them out and painting them a nice milky color this weekend – maybe even during the Royal Wedding!

    The only question I have is what do you mean by “clean and disinfect the box”? I’ve gotten pretty good at cleaning, but disinfecting?

  3. Love the Pepsi crate stand! Fun!

  4. Stephanie says:

    crates are the best! Endless creative solutions for storage. That rack in genius!

  5. Aaisha says:

    I’m always on the lookout for crates like this but for the life of me I can never track any down :( Does anyone know of resources in NYC (Queens, BK, and the city)? Thanks!

  6. Anneli says:

    Great projects! I love up-cycled wood but it’s so hard to come by when you live in a NY suburb..

  7. Stacey H says:

    I would also like to know how to disinfect old wood. I have a pile of old barn wood that I would like to do something with…

  8. This is such a great idea – and so my style! I love putting big beautiful ferns in old, rustic crates like that. Beautiful!

  9. Julia says:

    Axman Surplus in St.Paul has tons of old soda crates for 3.95 a piece, if anyone is looking in Minnesota. :)

  10. BeLighter says:

    Wow! Amazing makeovers! Thanks for sharing the creativity!

  11. i made shelves in my bathrooms using vintage crates…. i love them so much and they are super easy to do… you can see them here:

  12. Cute…I wish I was this creative ;)

  13. emily says:

    Looks great – and great idea for bathroom shelves, Sarah.

  14. Sue Gray says:

    What would you do with clean, beautiful wooden wine crated, I have a few with their tops in tack?

  15. I LOVE this idea! I have some of these vintage soda bottle crates myself!

  16. Berton says:

    A great post!! Here are some resources for wooden boxes: The Brooklyn Flea, Trailer Park-in Brooklyn
    The Upper Rust 445 East 9th St in Manhattan

  17. re: the disinfect questions…I just go over items with a cloth and disinfectant solution…you know like floor disinfectant that you would buy at the grocery store…I use Dettol..just swipe it over…

    hope that helps

  18. Barb says:

    One of my favorites things is old crates and boxes….thank you for another great idea. Years ago I painted an old Pepsi crate and I will probably be stripping the paint off this summer….oh well it takes a mistake to be able to learn something sometimes

  19. karen berg says:

    Very, very cool! I have some vintage crates, my son was looking at this with me and asked if I did this project. Ha ha, I wish! What a great idea.

  20. Tina says:

    Love, love, love that painted crate. What color paint did you use?

  21. Ronakyle says:

    Very creative! I like vintage or other old furniture because they are more solid and do not break easily. We have a set of chairs and tables made of Narra tree which is my grandmother’s collection. The wood was so firm that my grandmom was alreadt gone but the table and chairs are still alive. :-)


  22. Jess says:

    Where do you find boxes like these!?

  23. @tishushu says:

    I just love both projects!

  24. Anything involving crates has my vote! Love these before and after shots!

  25. Ronakyle says:

    Very creative! I like vintage or other old furniture because they are more solid and do not break easily. We have a set of chairs and tables made of Narra tree which is my grandmother’s collection. The wood was so firm that my grandmom was alreadt gone but the table and chairs are still alive. :-)

  26. Yay…love seeing Sarah here! She is an endless source of trash to treasure makeovers. I want to curbside picking with her! And…that wooden crate idea is awesome (and making me regret selling two coke crates!).

  27. We source and sell Vintage French apple crates to the trade (farmshops, delis, garden centres etc) here in London – you have some great ideas, very creative! We put together a blog about them recently – I’ll link through to your blog

  28. if everybody recycles and design it ‘s own crates, package’s and product it would be a great initiative for our environment and wastes problem, and besides it looks fun and original


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