DIY Bike Porter Crate

by Amy Azzarito

To end our May Bike month, we asked Alison Lucien of Eleanor’s, a Brooklyn bike shop specializing in stylish bike details, to show us how to amp up our bike style. Launched in 2012, Eleanor’s is named after Alison and her husband’s grandmothers, who shared a name, an enthusiasm for bicycling and fashion sense. Alison spent ten-years in the fashion industry, and was so frustrated that she couldn’t find the right accessories to compliment her vintage Schwinn, that she started Eleanor’s. Here at Design*Sponge, we have a bad habit of buying up vintage crates at flea markets – and in our defense, we do somehow mange to find uses for most of them. But this has to be one of my favorite uses for a vintage crate. –Amy Azzarito



  • electric drill
  • nylon brush
  • white cloth
  • plastic gloves
  • screw driver & wrench

Step 1: Select a vintage box preferable the size of a soda crate or food box measuring about 16 inches by 11 inches by 9 1/2 inches and less then 5 pounds. NOTE: When selecting an older box, look for dry rot, water logging, evidence that a few termites or ants made it their lunch in the past, or other obvious signs of structural weakening of the wood.

Step 2: Use the nylon brush to rid the crate of any dirt, cobwebs or dust.

Step 3: Seal the crate, both for aesthetics and for weather
proofing. Grab an old T-shirt or other soft rag. Ball it up so it looks sorta like a lump of pizza dough, and moisten it with the Tung Oil. Generously apply the oil to the surface of the crate. Blot when you
get close to designs. Most of the designs are just surface stamping, and wiping will smudge the ink.

Step 4: Let the crate dry for at least 24 to 48 hours. Repeat the sealing process until oils no longer are absorbing into the wood and begin to pool on the surface (anywhere between 2 to 6 coats). Wipe off any excess oil (unless you like the shiny look.)

Step 5: Once dry and sealed, you’re ready to attach the finished product to your bike. We used a standard metal rear-rack assembly available on our site here or at most bike shops. Attach the rear rack to the back according to instructions.

Step 6: Grab the mending plates, bolts and nuts. (Links above) Place the oiled crate upside down and drill four holes aligned with the holes in the mending plates. The easiest way to do this is to mark the position of the plates with the crate on the race, then remove and flip it over, laying the mending plate on the underside of the crate to mark the hole position. Most mending plates have uneven hole positions, so use the plate as your template.

Step 7:  All that’s left is to tighten the mending plate under the rack and the crate. It’s important that you tighten the nuts the same way you’d tighten lug nuts on a car. Use a round-robin process so that you get an even, snug fit.

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