We've been really busy around here, working on all of the small projects that complete the BIGGER projects that we are excited to show you soon! One of our projects came to a screeching halt when we realized that we needed some very specific sized storage boxes for something. Silly us, we didn't think to build our project around an existing storage box or container, so we had to improvise and come up with our own solution.
We knew for these storage baskets/boxes we wanted a really unique, rustic, vintage look. We checked around online for something that would fit the bill, but everything was either too small or too expensive! So I had the idea of whipping up a few vintage looking boxes on our own. Here's how they turned out!
And this is how we did it!
First, you need to visit your local Lowe's home improvement store. They have these fabulous pre-cut boards in all different sizes that we use for TONS of projects.
These are some not-so-great iphone shots, but I wanted to show you exactly where to find them, because I get asked ALL the time. They are in individual little slots BELOW all of the other standing wood. They are easy to miss, if you don't know what you're looking for.
(hence the grainy visual, here. ha!)
We decided to stack the crates 4 planks high. So we picked up 16, 22inch planks for the fronts and backs, and then we bought some longer 3ft planks that we could cut, for the sides of the crates. I think all of this wood cost us about $45 or so dollars. Normally we would try to find wood that was a bit less expensive, but this wood is REALLY light, and our kiddos will be accessing these boxes a lot, so we wanted to make them easy for them to pull out.
(please don't mind the crazy mess, known as our garage/workroom. gah!)
We also picked up some $.47 cent a yard rope, a piece of this small square board ($1.97) to put inside the corners of our crates and a thin piece of plywood ($8.00) for the bottoms of the boxes.
We didn't have to do much cutting, because the front of our crates were going to be the same size as the smaller pre-cut boards. So we just cut the small square piece for the corners at about 9.5 inches and started nailing away, with our finishing nails.
There really was no science to this process, and remember, it DOES NOT have to be perfect. In fact, you don't want it to be! These are suppose to look old, used and "vintage"! So it's okay if everything isn't totally square or lined up perfectly.
After the front and the back of the crates were built we started in on the sides. We wanted a rectangular shape so we made the sides a bit smaller then the front and back measurements. About 18 inches.
Nailed those ends into the square corner pieces, and you have a four sided box!
Next, we took our box, set it on top of a piece of plywood, drew a square around the shape and then cut it out to make a simple bottom that would be the perfect fit...
turned the box over, nailed the bottom to the 4 square posts, and you have a completed box!
As you can see, we didn't overlap the planks, because we wanted to give the box a little more character with that extra groove. We also used a little saw and edged out the plywood on the bottom, to accentuate the notch, so it wouldn't be completely square. And we didn't worry about filling nail holes or doing much sanding, because all of those nooks and cranny's are what makes these crates have lots of "personality" :)
Next, I took a large drill bit and drilled four holes in the fronts of each crate for handles.
I measured mine at about 3 inches and 8 inches in, from the side of the crate.
After I drilled the holes Cason went in with the rope to make sure that they would be big enough to get the rope through easily. After we made sure that the rope worked well, I took them out and started working on sanding the boxes with my palm sander. Sanding only took a few minutes because the pre-cut wood is already perfectly smooth. (that's what we love about it!) So basically I just sanded all the corners to give the crates a more finished, worn look.
Now for the wood staining process.
This was probably the most frustrating part of the ENTIRE project. I have NEVER STAINED ANYTHING before, and although I knew it was really easy and fool proof, deciding on a color of stain wasn't.
I went through two different choices before I wound up with my perfect color.
First I tried Ebony stain, hoping to get a more grey finish, but hated the look. Then I decided that a more natural look would be nice, but alas... it was TOO light and "natural looking". ha! SO by a stroke of luck I eyed a discounted can of Early American stain from Rust-Oleum, and I LOVED it! So armed with some super sassy gloves and a cheap little paintbrush from the dollar store... I was ready to go!
(oh wait... they don't sell "super sassy latex gloves" at YOUR home improvement store? hmmm... weird.
I'm sure you could probably just use regular latex gloves too. hee hee)
Once I got going my staining process was simple and really, staining is probably the EASIEST thing to do ever! All I did was brush it on with my paintbrush and then after I was done with a section I used a dry cloth to wipe of any excess stain.
After that, I added my rope handles and I was done!
Super simple, large, customizable wood crates for under $30 each. I'm sure that if you wanted to make smaller ones that you could get an even better bang for your buck too. But being that these needed to be quite large AND lightweight for our project, we thought this was a pretty great price, for getting exactly the look we wanted.
I'm excited to show you the permanent home that these crates will have soon :)
I can think of about a million places that I could use more storage crates like these. It's SUCH a great option for all sized spaces, and costs about the same as your traditional run of the mill basket that you can pick up at your local home decor store. Also, think of the possibilities...
You could add a cool stencil and then sand it a bit to jazz up the front or sides, some decorative hinges, or paint the crates a fun color and add some pretty pulls for a little girls room!
What do ya think? Could you find a way to use this simple planked box tutorial to build a crate of your own, for a space in your home!?
I'm headed out to The Creative Connection Event tomorrow in Minnesota, and I'm so excited!