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DIY Projects

DIY Vintage Wooden Crate

Wood Crate 7

Those ugly stacks of bottled water in the kitchen were driving me nuts, and I needed a solution fast.  So off to Michael’s I went!

I found these two wooden crates – half-crates, to be exact – for $8.49 each.  I also picked up some Minwax and some chocolate.  Because every project needs chocolate. 

With the help of the Minwax and chocolate, I was able to come up with a couple of vintage-looking wooden crates that could be used for almost anything!  Can you imagine these crates with a newborn’s name and birthdate as a baby shower gift?  Or how about using them to keep the remote controls contained in the living room?

Wood Crate 1

I figured that, like everything else in this house, these wooden crates would quickly become very well-used.  The distressed, vintage look works well in our house for exactly that reason — if it isn’t already distressed, it will be soon.  So why not make it look that way in the first place?

With the help of my husband and my 7 year old, I put some bumps and dings in the crates.  We used a fork and a can opener (because that’s all the searching I wanted to do) but you could use a hammer, nails, screws, chains, an awl … basically anything that leaves a dent and looks interesting.

Wood Crate 2

I used the power sander to smooth out the wood and round the edges and corners.  Word to the wise: sanding outside at -20C is not recommended.  While it keeps the mess at bay, it does tend to get a bit nippy.  Especially when you’re wearing thin gloves.

Anyway, then I rubbed Minwax WoodFinish in Golden Oak into every surface with an old towel. Wood Crate 4  I tried to make sure a little extra stayed in the divets and holes that we had created.  The Minwax dries quickly, so even though the directions say to rub off the extra with a clean towel, mine had already soaked in and dried by the time I got back to the beginning.

I left the crates to dry for a few hours, but they already looked amazing!  Exactly the type of aged, worn look I was going for.

Wood Crate 3

And then came the fun part!

A few years ago I discovered, probably on Pinterest, a super easy way to do ink transfers onto wood.  All you need is a printer, a graphic or design, wax paper, cardstock, tape and a flat-edged spatula or ruler for rubbing the design.  This method is perfect for vintage wooden signs, crates (of course), or anything else you can think of!

1. Prepare your transfer paper.  Lay a large piece of wax paper down and place a piece of 8.5″x11″ cardstock on top of it.  Fold the edges of the wax paper over the cardstock.  The cardstock is only there to help the wax paper go through your printer, but because of that, you’ll need to make sure your edges are folded down tightly.  Tape the folded edges down.

Wood Crate 5

2. Design your graphic or the text you’d like to put on the wood and reverse it.  I used Picmonkey to type out my text (“Elford Family Since 1996”).  I inserted it into a blank Word document and reversed it.  This step is essential.  You’ll be transferring the words or image directly, so you’ll need to print it out the opposite of how you’d like it to appear.  I suggest printing out a test copy on regular white paper so that you can line everything up and make sure it’s going to look the way you want it to.

3. When you’re ready to print, make sure everything is close at hand.  The ink dries quickly, so you’ll need to be prepared.  You’ll need your prepped transfer paper, your wooden crate (or other wooden object), and your metal spatula or ruler.

4. Print the design onto your homemade transfer paper.  Quickly place it face-down on your wooden crate and rub the back of it firmly with the spatula or ruler.  Try to go over the entire surface at least 4 or 5 times.

Wood Crate 6

5. Take the transfer off and admire your work!  If you wipe off your transfer paper, you should be able to use it a few more times.  I ran mine through the printer 4 times in total, using each end twice.

You may want to add a coat of clear polyurethane to protect the transfer.

There you have it — an easy way to add to your decor (and hide less pretty things) with a DIY Vintage Wooden Crate!

DIY Vintage Wooden Crate - Welcome To The ZooShared with the amazing bloggers at #MeetUpMonday at The Quintessential Mommy!


Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    That came out awesome. I absolutely love it. I would pay good money for one 😉

  2. Jennie @ Little Girl Designs

    Wow, these look great! I’ve seen those cute crates at Michael’s before and wanted to pick some up to organize our stuff as well. I love that you made that transfer…pinning!
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  3. Rosey

    This is awesome! My oldest made me CD cases when he was about 12 and he dented and dinged it intentionally before staining. Those are still on my bookshelf, still holding CDs, still looking great….15 years later. 🙂

  4. Sherri S

    These are great! Have you thought about selling them on Etsy? I bet they’d be a HIT! Thanks for sharing the detailed instructions too.
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  5. Clare Speer

    Wow – love these!!! My husband could do this – and would love it – I’m going to be sure to show him this!

  6. Amy G

    Wow, you did a great job. I’m going to have to try this!

  7. listen2mama

    Oh I love how these came out. I love the vintage look and fun DIY projects.
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  8. Jamie

    How cool – I always see those crates at the store, but didn’t like them because they looked too new – now I can personalize it. Perfect!!
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  9. RUBY

    Wow! I admire your creativity! I wish I can do stuff like this. I am not creative.
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  10. Tina Marie

    This is an amazing idea. I love the look!

  11. crystal

    I love, love, this!!!!
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  12. Holly Marie

    HOMEMADE TRANSFER PAPER?!? You are one smart cookie! I love how your DIY Vintage Wooden Crate turned out! I want to make some for our family room to help with storage. LOVE this craft!

  13. Kim Uliana

    Those are great. I love this. Great idea.

  14. maggiesblog2

    wow, what a cute idea! I really love the idea of a baby shower gift!
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  15. Everything Home Life

    Ok I’m so guilty of loving using crates! I think they are so cute and totally versatile! Thanks for sharing!
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  16. Theresa (Tee)

    Such a great project. The words definitely make all the difference. Thanks for sharing “transfer” process!

  17. Tesha Fritz

    This project is beyond cool. You must be very comfortable with power tools. Where did you learn that? Thanks for sharing.
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  18. Liz Mays

    I never would have thought to do that, but it is INCREDIBLE. I completely and totally LOVE the way it turned out.
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  19. Carly

    These look amazing, that finish is perfect!

  20. Laura Prater

    What a neat idea! I need to get my hubby to make one for me! 🙂

  21. Dhemz

    wow, what a pretty neat idea! Now, I need some woods….:)
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  22. firststepstogreatstrides

    Love this! I need to find a Michaels close to me. I can order online I think. This is brilliant!

  23. Megan Adams

    I love this so much! I’ve been working on a diy cabinet project & these would be perfect in it! Thanks so much!
    Go check out Megan Adams’s latest post! Surprise! Free Printable!My Profile

  24. Lisa Rios

    I love your creative work to find a solution to get rid of those ugly stacks. The wooden crates really look good & definitely with a vintage theme on it.

  25. Debi- The Spring Mount 6 Pack

    I love it. I always love those crate. I love what you did with them
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  26. Yona Williams

    Ha! Love how chocolate played such an important role in creating your wooden crates. I really like the personalization aspect of this craft. This is really cool, and came out fabulous!
    Go check out Yona Williams’s latest post! 6 Creatively Colorful Gift Ideas that Incorporate Bottle CapsMy Profile

  27. Esther

    I actually have a wooden crate that I store some toys in but it is not personalized like this one. I would love to try and do this to it.
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  28. dickvincedorry

    i so love the look.. you can sell it online or to your friends
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  29. Natalie @ Threads & Bobbins

    I love the stain and text on these crates. It’s great to have something more personalised for your home!
    Thanks for linking up at the Talented Tuesday Link Party! Hope you join us again tomorrow 🙂
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  31. Cindy Hoffman

    Hi there Megan, I must say that you are a genius. I have been wondering what to do with my old wooden pallets that have been laying in my backyard for a while now. Some of them could have that vintage look without needing a lot of work. Thanks for the inspiration; I think I am going to make something similar to yours.


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