DIYdiy projects

diy wednesdays: wine crate display cases

by Grace Bonney

when i sat down to reimagine the new d*s one of the first things i wanted to add was more diy and craft-based content. i love weekend projects that add character and personality to a house but sadly i don’t have time to do them as much as i’d like these days. rather than give up on the idea entirely i thought that it might be time to introduce a new editor (or two) to the site. i’m certainly not an expert on diy so i thought it might help to bring in two people who are.

it’s my great, great pleasure to welcome lauren smith and derek fagerstrom of the curiosity shoppe to d*s! derek and lauren will be serving as design*sponge’s craft editors and will join us every wednesday afternoon for a new diy project.

before moving to san francisco and launching the curiosity shoppe in october of 2006, lauren spent the previous 7 years working for designer todd oldham in his nyc studio. there she managed his PR department and helped produce photo shoots, television segments, magazine articles and events. she was also involved in the design and production of his book handmade modern, and managed the art department during the production of the accompanying television series for hgtv, where she appeared as todd’s helper on a number of episodes. a dedicated do-it-yourselfer and lifelong crafter, lauren enjoys knitting, crocheting, weaving, sewing and making things out of paper.

derek is a san francisco-based editor, curator, and designer. he recently returned to the bay area after an 8-year stint in nyc where he worked at a variety of magazines including esquire and interview. when he’s not helping lauren out in the shoppe he can be found tinkering around at ReadyMade magazine where he is their projects editor.

i’m so thrilled to welcome lauren and derek and their first DIY project: wine crate display cases! for the full instructions and their post please click “more”.

Hello design*sponge readers! Wow, it’s such a thrill to be posting our crafty DIY projects on one of our very favorite spots on the whole world wide web! We really hope you’ll enjoy our weekly episodes, but our biggest wish is that they’re a little creative kick to inspire you to do some projects of your own.

We thought we’d start with a very timely post. See, we recently moved to a cozy little apartment right above our Shoppe. It’s quiet, clean, has nice floors, there’s even an avocado tree right outside our window, but there isn’t a lick of storage. We need storage. So we whipped up these wine crate display cases to house a few of our favorite knickknacks and doohickeys.

A quick trip to our local wine shop provided us with the majority of the necessary raw materials (wine crates) as well as a bottle of a little something with which to christen the project. We loved the rough hewn look of the wooden boxes, and decided the (literal) branding on the sides only added to their charm. To contrast the raw wood, we chose a rich and elegant print we felt would elevate our objets to museum worthy status.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Metal ruler
Giftwrap or other famcy paper
X-acto blade
Bone folder
Spray adhesive
Sawtooth hanger
Small nails
Rubber bumpers
Hanging hardware

First, use a metal ruler to measure the interiors of each crate to make sure you have enough fancy paper to line all of them. Next, draw out the measurements in pencil on the backside of the paper. In order to avoid any potential gaps along the interior edges, add a 1″ “allowance” as follows:

Long pieces: add 1″ to each of the three sides that border the interior of the box.
Short pieces: add 1″ allowance to the side that borders the back of the box.
Back piece: no allowance necessary

Using a straight edge and an X-acto blade, carefully cut out each piece of paper (five per box). Create fold lines by scoring along your pencil marks with a bone folder. Finally, miter each of the interior corners by cutting a 45 degree angle from the outside edge in, along the 1””allowance.

Now it’s time to glue. In a well-ventilated area, apply spray adhesive to the back sides of each of your long pieces. Carefully place them carefully inside the box, lining up the folded edges with the edges of the box and smoothing out any air bubbles that may appear in the paper. Next, spray and apply the short pieces. At this point, all four sides of the box will be lined, and the back will have a 1″ border all the way around it. The last step is to spray and apply the back piece to the box. Smooth out bubbles and let dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Decide which direction you want to hang your boxes, and attach a sawtooth hanger along the top edge of each box using a hammer and small nails. Apply peel-and-stick rubber bumpers along the bottom corners of each box, to ensure that they hang straight against the wall.

Mark the position of each box on the wall with a pencil, and attach them using the appropriate hanging hardware for your wall.

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  • Welcome aboard Lauren and Derek! I love this project, thanks for sharing :)

  • what a cute project from a equally cute (and talented) couple. sounds like a sneak peek of their pad will be coming soon. i guess i know how i’ll be spending my wednesday afternoons!

    looking forward to the shoppe grand opening tomorrow, too! :)

  • Oh, I love it! I even have a wooden wine box kicking around that cased a wine wedding gift. I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, but haven’t done anything with it either. This looks great!

  • I love everything about this section, what a great idea. For me, this is like the feeling I used to get when it was “craft time” on Mr. Dressup. Just love it. Thanks Grace, way to make “hump day” a day to look forward to!

  • so cool, welcome you two! you are officially invited over to my house to decorate :) see you tomorrow at your opening party!!!

  • The perfect addition to your blog! As if I don’t already have a long list of DIY crafts to complete..what’s one more!!? And a great one at that..thanks! :)

  • I’m so excited about this new feature! These look wonderful & I can’t wait to try it out myself. Yippee for the new Design*Sponge!!!!

  • awesome x 100. Already thinking where to do something like this at home. Can’t wait to see more projects.

  • Bring it on! Glad you are contributing. Lauren as a fellow weaver (& various crafter) I’m really proud to see you strut your crafts!

  • Yay, I love their smarts and crafts blog and I am excited to see them all over at the design sponge blog. :)

    Can’t wait until they open their shop in SF.

  • Funny, I just read this in a DIY design book. Recently moved from NYC to SF myself. Fun project, especially with Sonoma and Nappa County making excellent wine crate suppliers.

  • I love the new web design and diy wednesday is surely something I will look forward to each week. I just have one complaint (and I truly am sorry to complain at all on this wonderful site!)—the ads on the right that jump all over make my eyes sooo tired and it is hard to read the very words you took the time and thoughtful care to write—I wish they could just be still. Is there any way?

  • crazyfordesign

    i feel your pain. flash ads definitely aren’t my favorite thing on the site. unfortunately in order for me to keep up the site and pay for the redesign i have to have an advertising program. most advertisers use flash ads because they’re more effective so they seem to be a pretty popular choice.

    i’m looking into flash options that are less abrasive and have a lower rotation speed that won’t be quite as well, flashy. ;)


  • hooray for derek and lauren. i’m psyched to see more of their projects on ds, as they are THE coolest. i miss them since they moved out west.

  • Your new blog design is really fabulous. Love the three dimensional and layered look. And the little bit of lace peaking out is so unexpected. All the elements of really great design. And I will look fprward to your DIY wednesdays. Best of luck with your new site. k

  • joseph

    you can usually pick up wine crates for free at your local wine or liquor store. if that doesn’t work for you just let me know and i can find some online for you.


  • grace, this is such a wonderful addition to your already fabulous offerings….and what better choice than lauren and derek. the curiosity shoppe has been a longtime favorite of mine. LOVE it!

  • Thanks so much for this project. I needed some fun ideas for a wall in my office and this is absolutely perfect! Once I am done – I’ll send in some pictures :) Thanks again!

  • Found you via the CRAFT blog…I work at a wine retailer so I basically have unlimited access to wine crates! This is an awesome idea, especially since I’m always collecting pretty papers.

  • Excellent!

    This is perect for me as a poor student, I can afford to beg a wine store owner to give me crates, and I have a flatmate with piles of vintage wallpaper to use to line it!


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  • You guys did a fantastic job. You wouldn’t believe how many posts are out there that duplicated this exact idea. This is definitely wine crate magic. Im always amazed by how creative people can be with wine crates..

  • There were few articles around explaining the same thing. But you elaborated the topic with additional information which is very useful. Thanks for your efforts

  • WOW, I can’t believe wine crates could be used in such creative manner! You guys really did a fantastic job. These are magics, believe me!