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Picture of A simple 8 - beer crate (for gift boxes)
Now that Halloween is over, and Christmas decorations have only been in stores for about 8 months now, you may want to get down on some holiday shopping.

For about six months, a couple of friends and I started brewing our own beer.  We have gotten pretty good at it and decided that giving out some of our beer this Christmas to friends and family would be nice considering we already had most of the gift ready.  We thought it might also be nice to make some inexpensive sliding top plywood gift boxes to present our gifts in, and I thought you might like to know how I did it (because it was easy and fairly cheap).
 
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Step 1: Gathering materials and supplies

Picture of Gathering materials and supplies
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Tools you will need or may want to make it easier:

1.  Table saw
2.  Drill with 7/8 paddle bit
3.  Random orbital disc sander
4.  Pin nailer w/ air compressor (OR) hammer
5.  Measuring tape

Materials you will need (keep in mind, I made 9 of these boxes, so I can't tell you exactly how much wood to buy for just 1.  I will give you the dimensions.

1.  1/2" Plywood cut to the following dimensions:
         a.  2 of 5" x 10"
         b.  2 of 11" x 10 1/2"
         c.  1 of 5" x 10 1/2"

2.  1/4" Plywood cut to 5 1/2" x 10 3/4"
3.  1" pin nails (OR) finishing nails if you are using a hammer


If you don't have a pin nailer and air compressor, you can use a hammer and some finishing nails - but it will be a little harder







Step 2: Cut the wood and the grooves

Picture of Cut the wood and the grooves
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I wanted these crates to have a kind of industrial look to them, so they aren't very pretty, you can always dress them up and make them look nicer.  The internal dimensions are what is important - If you want to hold 8 beer bottles (5" wide x 10" long x 9 1/4" tall)

I mentioned this on the last step, but here it is again:

1/2" Plywood cut to the following dimensions:
         a.  2 of 5" x 10"
         b.  2 of 11" x 10 1/2"
         c.  1 of 5" x 10 1/2"

1/4" Plywood cut to 5 1/2" x 10 3/4"

Now that you have the wood cut, you have to make some cutouts for the lid to slide into.

1.  Take your two sides and the back piece and set them aside, these are the three pieces you will be cutting.

2.  Set the blade height on the table saw to 1/4".

3.  Take your front piece (or bottom, since they are the same size) and set your rip fence on the table saw with it (see picture).

4.  Saw along the short side of the back piece, and the long sides of the side pieces.  You can cut all the way along the sides, but it will leave some holes in the back.  Like I said, I made these quickly, but you can plug them with some pieces of wood or wood putty - I'll leave that to you.

5.  Set the rip fence so that your groove will be at least 1/4" wide.  You may want to give it a little bit extra, so that the lid is not too tight.

6.  If there is wood left in the gap, line up the blade with it and set the rip fence to cut it out.

Step 3: Assembly and finishing

Picture of Assembly and finishing
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1.  Time to break out your sander and give the pieces a once over, or until you are comfortable with their smoothness.

2.  Grab you pin nailer and attach the front piece to the bottom piece.  I find it easy to put them on the edge of the table and pin them from the side (this step will be  a bit more difficult with a hammer and nail).

3.  Attach the back piece the the bottom piece.

4.  Attach each side, making sure to line up the grooves for the lid.

5.  Now that the crate is assembled, push the lid into place and make sure it fits.  If it is too tight going in, don't force it or it may get stuck.  Just use the table saw to cut off about 1/32".  Check for fitment, and keep cutting until it is easy enough to get in and out.

6.  Set the lid on a piece of scrap wood and use a 7/8" paddle bit to put a hole about 2" away from one end.  Sand the hole smooth.

7.  The label on the box are also on the bottles, I had the made at http://www.myownlabels.com/beer_labels/ .  The design is my own.

parafoil2 years ago
I'm curious about how well they hold up with out glue?
I've found my pin nailer is a good way to hold the wood together till the glue drys.
Have you tried pulling one of the boxes apart to see how well the nails hold?
AND how many 1" pin nails did you use per wood box?
knoxmj19 (author)  parafoil2 years ago
I haven't had a problem with durability, but usually use glue. I didn't really mean for these to be permanent, just quick and a bit fancier than a cardboard box. Glue would make for a nicer, sturdier box - as would using nicer wood than siding ply like I did.

I did stress test them a bit and if I really wanted to, I could break them, but with all sides attached they could still take quite a beating.

I used about 36 nails per box (5 along each edge). I just pinned each corner, then pinned the middle and put a nail in between each corner and center.

JKPieGuy2 years ago
You should add some straw in there to make it look like something you'd find in an old crate. Plus it would help the bottles from smashing into each other.
mikethegeek2 years ago
Very nice idea, great thing to bring over for dinner instead of the usual wine bottle.
These came out really nice, I have a bunch of friends that make all kind of home-brewed concoctions, I will definitely be letting them know about this.