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.

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.

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)

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:

For the ends 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 (I used 18 gauge 1 1/4” nails) each front and back:


For the sides 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 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.


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.

The right crate is 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.

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…

Linking up to:

Oganized on a Budget at

Whatcha Got Weekend @ Lolly Jane
SNS @ Funky Junk
Weekend Wrap Up @ Tatertots & Jello
Sundae Scoop @ I Heart Naptime
Sister Sunday @ Sisters of the Wild West
Sunday Showcase Party @ Under the Table & Dreaming
Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl Creative
DIY Fall Festival @ The DIY Showoff
Made by You Mondays @ Skip to My Lou
Making the World Cuter @ Making the World Cuter
Nifty Thrifty @ Coastal Charm
Tuesday Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Tutorials & Tips Tuesday @ Home Stories A to Z
Good Life @ A Beach Cottage
Delightfully Inspiring @ Delightful Order
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Strut Your Stuff @ Somewhat Simple
Share Awesomeness Thur @ The 36th Avenue
Flaunt it Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring
Tickled Pink @ 504 Main
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
SAS @ Just a Girl
Feathered Nest @ French Country Cottage
Remodelaholics Anonymous @ Remodelaholic
inspiration board @ Carolyns Homework
coffee & conversation @ passionately perfect

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About Pink Toes and Power Tools

I'm a DIY girl with a blog. Trying to complete one project before I jump into the next one!

17 responses to “Crates”

  1. Jaime says :

    K they’re so perfect, solid build, size you need, price you can deal with. Love it. Glad you sanded to distress the stain a bit, looks really natural. And the labeling is great, I vote for casters. Nice work.


  2. ann says :

    Well done and so creative of you! I love the cities and companies that have meaning to you on the roughed up finished crates. You did a great job on these.


  3. michele@hellolovelyinc says :

    looks fabulous, and i have pallets! i am also lazy!

    love that these have function too. stopping by via abeachcottage.



  4. sherika alston says :

    Wow what an awesome project! I also have been eyeing some boxes that were a lot more than 20 bucks…I might definitely have to try this! Thanks!
    I would love you to link your project to our party today!


  5. kit @ DIYdiva says :

    Love your take on the crates! I think they look great stained.


  6. Anne says :

    Wow, great job! New follower here!


  7. Heather T says :

    This is so sweet! My dad worked at Singer Link in the 1980’s…love this project :)


  8. Jaclyn McCord says :

    The stain turned out great! And I love the custom cities. The “free stuff” section of Craigslist often has pallets, and I’ve heard that some businesses give them away, although I don’t know which.


  9. Michelle says :

    You have some amazing projects here! Thanks so much for commenting on my blog. I am so happy I came and checked you out. New follower :)


  10. Christina says :

    Love your crates – and the stain is stunning! I’m always eying up way too expensive pre-made crates myself… maybe it’s time for me to also give a DIY version a try (yours are just fantastically inspirational!)

    Take care,


  11. hollyll says :

    I love crates in all shapes and sizes and resorted to making my own too (but different than yours). I like this style so much! Thanks for linking up to Tickled Pink. I liked ya on FB and shared it on my wall!


  12. Dave says :

    I am a perpendicular admirer and greatly admire the perfect 90 degree joinery.


  13. Jean-Marie says :

    Can you tell me where you gt the black right angles from? Love and van never find what I am looking for….brand, where! Thanks in advance!


  14. Bruce Johnson says :

    These look great! I enjoy the distressed stain look you achieved by sanding them a little. Nice work.


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