DIYdiy projectsmatt pierce

diy project: record crates

by Matt

I’ve been needing some more room for my growing record collection and all the while have been looking for the right sized vintage box. I was hoping for something somewhat military surplus, but never found the right size or condition. If I found something, it was always a one-off and typically poor shape. Here’s the plan to make some for yourself, and they’re easily replicable when your collection floweth-over — Matt

See the full how-to after the jump!

One crate can be made from a 2’x4′ piece of plywood, typically called a project board. If you have the room and the need, you could get 4 crates from a 4’x8′, but boards that big don’t typically fit in hatchbacks. I used 7/16” plywood, some small trim screws, wood glue, crate hardware and paint for this project.

Because thin plywood isn’t good for making sturdy boxes unless you have fancy joints, we’re going to have to use a table saw to cut some channels with a dado. If you don’t have a dado blade, or just lost your dado throat plate in a recent move, you can cut these with a single blade and just move your fence to cover the channel with a few passes. Because I am using 7/16” ply, you’ll need to make your dados 7/16” in from the end and of course 7/16” wide. Dados are indicated on the cut sheet diagram. Information on cutting a dado is here.


  • 2’x4′ of 7/16″ plywood
  • crate hardware: corners and a pull





1. Cut all pieces according to the cut list with the table saw. You’ll need one with at least a 15inch fence. After pieces are cut, you’ll need to cut dados as specified. They’re all the same, so save time by cutting in an assembly-line fashion.

2. Next, you’ll need to cut clearance out of the front panel to install the hardware pull. Depending on the type you use, you’ll need a different cut, so I won’t detail it here. You could put handles on the sides, create a lid, make them taller and stacking… any option you might want for your particular use.

3. When all pieces are ready, you can start the glue-up. Clamps are necessary to get a solid joint, and I’ve added some small screws for added heft. Use wood glue spread with your finger on both boards to properly assemble and use a damp cloth to clean up any glue that’s squeezed out during the clamping. Let sit for the recommended amount of dry time. Once the main panels are assembled, you can add the side rails, and the triangle pieces to the underside. Triangle pieces ensure that you get a solid structure and a good area to mount the corner hardware pieces.

4. Final step is to sand to your preference and paint. Since I was going for a rough surplus look, I sanded all sharp edges soft and left some mars and chips in the wood. You can make it soft and smooth as you want, but for my purposes, I spend almost no time sanding. Some flat latex paint brushed on, and I’m done.

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  • i wish i had any idea how to saw or how to afford a table saw or a dado (?) or whatever blades are included. or how to do any of that in/around my tiny apartment and not chop off everyone’s fingers. because our (my boyfriend’s) record collection is huge and the ikea storage we have is perfectly sized, but ugly. i think about how to make it not ugly about 800 times a week.

    i love all the woodworking DIY posts, but i feel helplessly clueless about achieving any of them. how can i avoid being any-type-of-wood-project clueless or avoid the feeling that projects like this are a total lost cause for me/others like me (although honestly i assume most of you are cooler than me and know about this sort of thing)?

    of course i don’t expect d*s to only have DIYs that everyone can do … that would probably result in popsicle-stick-doll DIYs every week. but any guidance anyone has would be appreciated.

  • A friend of mine repurposed old road signs into containers for his records. Très cool.

  • as someone who has hundreds of LP’s I’d like to ask if anyone has suggestions for an LP shelving system that ISN’T the expedit from IKEA. That thing is so awful yet it has been in every place I’ve lived in the last 10 years.
    Cool boxes though!

  • We use Ikea Expedit for storing 12 inch records. Its ideal and simple. You can get a lot in a small space.
    The 7 inches are also in Ikea storage that has been discontinued (not unlike this though, but smaller in plywood with a white finish on the outside) and then put sideways on Billy bookshelves.

  • @BONNAVENTURE – one of the cutlines is green because I’m a little colorblind and missed it!

    @INGRID Watch your fingers at all times. Maybe there’s a tool library in your town or even places for shared project space?

    @JENNIFER That’s a vintage Lafer chair I found recently… needs some work, but quite interesting, huh?

  • @chelsey – it’s a slightly modified Project Debut III. I highly recommend if you’re shopping for one.

  • Awesome project Matt, I’m really looking forward to giving it a go! So cool having bespoke furniture etc in the home.

  • Im def going to try this this weekend as a present, my only concern is just how matte and plain it looks that you cant see the records that are inside of it, wouldnt it be WAY better if its turned on its side… or make the two sides with slits in them, i think itd be so rad! thanks for the tutorialllll

  • I have two problems with this design. The crate MUST be taller than the LPs. It’s the rule; it protects the sleeves makes the crates stackable. Wheels are for lazy people.

  • I have some problems with the cut sheet, however I am pretty ignorant so the problem probably lies with me. It seems to mark the front and back pieces as 13″ wide, some 330 mm, however the side pieces will slide into dados on the front and back losing some 40 mm or one and a half inches. Am I to assume that the 13 inches marked on the front and back pieces are within the dados, and in fat the total width of these pieces is 13 inches + 2x(width of dado+width of side rail)?
    As to the sides being taller than the sleeves. I guess it all depends. From a decorative point of view the shorter sides are better, as long as you keep your record room well dusted, but from a conservation point of view, well, you would want your boxes hermetically sealed I imagine, which would be overkill for most of us.