DIY Décor: How to Customize a Wooden Storage Crate

Posted by: on February 11th, 2013 | 30 Comments
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Finished DIY wooden storage crate with pillows and blankets inside

 

On our website (and in some stores), you can find unfinished wooden storage crates that are often handy for out-of-sight storage, like in a garage. But their unstained finish may not make them a great storage option for your living room. With a bit of stain and some cabinet pulls, however, we were able to customize a DIY wooden storage crate to give it a more finished look.

 

Supplies needed to build a DIY Wooden Storage Crate

 

For this project, you’ll need the following supplies:

Image of sticker residue left on wood

 

Start by removing the sticker residue from the wood using a residue cleaner, and then sand the area thoroughly.

 

Hammer being used to tack scrap wood to the inside of a wooden crate

 

Next, use a couple of small shims or scrap wood (I used cut pieces of paint stirrers) and gently tack them to the inside of the crate. Because you’ll be filling the hand hole with wood filler, you’ll want a flat, even surface on the inside of the hole to fill.

 

Image of wood filler layered over hand holes in wooden crate

 

Next, fill the hole with wood filler. I wasn’t careful on this side about getting the filler onto the surrounding wood, and unfortunately this can leave you with unevenness when you start staining later. If you want, be a bit tidier with the wood filler!

 

Sanding wood filler with a sanding block

 

Let the wood filler harden overnight, then begin sanding the side of the crate. I prefer to use a sanding block rather than a piece of sandpaper because of its hard, flat surface. The block ensures the flat crate front will be smooth. Go “through the grain,” starting with a low-grit sanding block and slowly moving up to a high-grit (fine) sanding block.

 

Smooth-looking area on wooden crate where wood filler was sanded

 

The side of your crate should look like this — smooth, with no bumps or unevenness.

 

Brown stain being applied to wooden crate with a staining pad

 

Next, begin staining! I used Minwax Jacobean stain and applied it with a staining pad.

 

Clean staining pad being used to wipe away excess stain

 

Wipe the stain onto the wood, then use a clean staining pad to wipe away any excess.

Because I was filling my crate with pillows and throw blankets, I did not stain the inside of the crate. If I had stained the inside and any stain residue remained, it would have ruined my pillows and blankets.

 

Pencil being used to mark where cabinet pull screws will go

 

Once your stain is fully dry (I suggest waiting at least a full day), mark where you’ll need to screw in your cabinet pulls.

 

Electric drill being used on outside of wooden crate to drill holes for the cabinet pull screws

 

Drill holes where you’ve marked, being sure to drill all the way through the wood filler.

 

Electric drill being used on inside of wooden crate to drill holes for the cabinet pull screws

 

You may need to drill from both sides.

 

Screws being inserted into holes for cabinet pulls

 

Next, begin screwing in the screws for the cabinet pulls with a screwdriver.

 

Cabinet pulls being attached to wooden crate

 

Finish screwing in the pulls, and you’re done!

 

Finished DIY wooden storage crate with pillows and blankets inside

 

DIY Décor is a series about small, affordable design and décor projects for home and garden.

 

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  1. Shelley says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say Thank You HD for teaching me so much through your website; your in-store classes; and your helpful staff. I wouldn’t have such a beautiful home without all your help and wide selection of great products. You changed the way hardware stores used to operate. From just selling basic hardware to much bigger selections of great products; ideas; and DIY Projects, and your tutorials showing people it’s possible to DIY and save money too. You are Americas #1 store. That’s why I love the Home Depot!

  2. Shelley says:

    This is such a cute idea and useful too. I have learned a lot of DIY projects from Home Depot (HD). I’m always looking for the next fun idea from HD. I just love the Home Depot.

  3. [...] this tutorial from the Home Depot blog you can rough up a crate in the prettiest way possible and use it to store your cozy throws and [...]

  4. [...] Photo Credit [ext.homedepot.com] [...]

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  8. Morgan says:

    I bought two of these from Home Depot.

    Would I have to sand the wood first? Before I stain.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Caroline only sanded where there had been a sticker and where she used some wood filler. Otherwise, it’s probably not really necessary to sand the rest of the crate before staining. The naked wood should be ready to go as is.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  9. [...] more stained wooden crates for things in the living [...]

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  11. [...] Want to learn how to make this wooden crate? Click here.  [...]

  12. Ginger says:

    I’m a bit baffled at why Home Depot would feature such a badly done project. The stain is uneven, and it looks unfinished without the interior being stained. A mat varnish would keep the stain from rubbing off and improve the way the crate looks. Doing a terrible job of using wood filler is really not acceptable if you’re staining rather than painting. It would have made more sense to find a pull wider than the finger hole.

    • Hi Ginger,

      You’re right, you could certainly find a pull that is larger than the existing hole in the crate. That’s a really great idea!

      The purpose of this project was just to remind people that you can customize our unstained storage crates to suit your functional needs and your style. I didn’t stain the inside of the crate because I knew it would always be filled with blankets and pillows, so you’d really never see the inside. But, if you were to fill it with other items like kids toys or magazines and you want the inside to be finished, then you’re right a stain with a topcoat is a great option.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Best,
      Caroline
      Senior Editor, homedepot.com

  13. Alissa says:

    I love the pillows! Where did you get them?

  14. I really like this cute little crate. I’m actually alerting you that this site has scraped your tutorial. I just found it when I was alerted that they scraped one of my tutorials too: [link removed]

  15. [...] Outfitters Polka Dot Boxes/ Pillow & Blanket Crate/ Column Bookcase/ Tea Cup Jewelry Storage/ Bathroom [...]

  16. SHIRL SMITH says:

    DO YOU SELL THESE CRATES IN CANADA

  17. Mary says:

    I would suggest using some thin wood (like underlayment) for the outside and wood putty on the inside only for a cleaner look. I’m sure someone at Home Depot would cut it to size for you.