Picture of Apple Crate Coffee Table
An apple crate coffee table is a quick and easy, you can finish in a day or two tops, project that can add a lot of character to any room as well as being a good way to up-cycle unused crates. Don't worry though, you can buy crates at a lot of different stores if you don't have any laying around. It's also a very effective storage space, allowing you to fill almost the entire footprint twice, inside and on top.
This is a project my wife saw somewhere and wanted to do. To be honest she did most of the work while I really just helped out, putting it together for the most part, and documented.
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Step 1: Materials & Tools

  • 4x Apple Boxes - If you can upcycle actual apple crates that's a plus but they are also available from most craft/fabric stores.
  • Wood Screws - The necessary size depends on the thickness of the wood in the crates and the actual construction of the crates.
  • Wood Filler
  • Primer - We went with a distressed sort of look so the primer color was important as it shows through.
  • Paint - A semi gloss or glossier paint is recommended as it aids in keeping the table clean.
  • Wood Blocks (Optional) - Depending on the furniture around where the table will be placed you may choose to attach feet to put the table top at a more usable height.
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Countersink Bit
  • Paint Brush (Optional) - Used to apply the paint in a non uniform manner for stylistic reasons. Also necessary if you aren't using spray paint.
driskelljbm5 months ago
I made this. Turned out pretty good.
bwrussell (author)  driskelljbm5 months ago
Looks good, thanks for sharing!
patsheldon9 months ago

I like the simplistic look but it still does its job. I also liked how you can cut the labor down by not sanding but using a foam brush. ;)

bwrussell (author)  patsheldon9 months ago

Thank you, as an engineer function is paramount but it's always nice when looks good too.

docmurray10 months ago
gonna give this a shot before I head to Texas, give it to my parents.
bwrussell (author)  docmurray10 months ago

Awesome! Make sure to post a couple of pictures of the final product.

valkgurl10 months ago

I saw these crates---or very similar---at WalMart this weekend (1-24-14) for about $8 and change (USD) Didn't get to check the "quality" but at that price you could re-do your whole house storage wise with these.

IF you add castors tho re-inforce with real wood blocks. And plexiglass on the top would be nice---sold at Lowes and can be cut with fine edged jig saw or similar IF you TAPE the area to be cut. Might be in 'ible on that here somewheres if not on Pinterest. OR Lowes can cut it for you for a small fee.

bwrussell (author)  valkgurl10 months ago

That's a good price and I'm guessing the quality matches that of the ones at most craft stores.

Yep, I learned that the hard way on one of my other Instructables.

Preval10 months ago

This is great! We've added it to our collection, "spray paint." Cheers :)

pmeador11 months ago

I just made one of these and stained it with steel wool in vinegar (gorgeous dark aged wood look) and sealed with beeswax and olive oil (no fumes and looks great!). I put mine on a base with casters as mine!

bwrussell (author)  pmeador11 months ago

That's great! You should definietely post a pic or two, I'd love to see how it turned out.

teethlikelions11 months ago
I would also suggest possible considering a spill barrier under the top. a spilled drink will quickly ruin a compartment full of books/games/controllers.
bwrussell (author)  teethlikelions11 months ago

That is something to consider, haven't had that issue personally yet. Wood sheets on the underside of each compartment or across the entire top would work but kind of ruin the aesthetic. The best solution would be a sheet of glass except the cost could be prohibitive.

teethlikelions11 months ago
My wife made this last year and let me just say that you should NOT expect to put your feet up on it. Apple crates (especially from the craft store) are not strong toward the center of the slats.
bwrussell (author)  teethlikelions11 months ago

It's true that single slats are not particularly sturdy but at the ends or if the weight is distributed across even two slats then you shouldn't have any problems.

TOO COOL. Can wait to try it. Perfect for my farm house den

bwrussell (author)  countrysister Deb11 months ago

Thanks. Make sure to post some pics here when you've completed yours.

Wroger-Wroger11 months ago

It's a pity that so much great wood is wasted - but where do you stop? Recycling toothpicks?

Because the crates are only designed to be a once off transport system, thus the staple only jointing, and the cheapest of nice timbers, I usually double joint them - by this I mean I pull out the staples, and use good wood glue and nails or small screws to rebond all the joints.

It makes them immensely stronger and far more durable.

This looks so great and it seems functional! Do you keep anything in it like books or maybe dvds?
bwrussell (author)  alexisanayamurphy11 months ago

Absolutely. We've got a compartment full of card games, one with baby things, my wife keeps her knitting stuff in another, and the last one has books and just random stuff. We also keep the dog's toys in the the hole in the center.

babybayrs11 months ago

looks beautiful!

bwrussell (author)  babybayrs11 months ago

Thank you!

westonfrontss11 months ago
Good job ?
bwrussell (author)  westonfrontss11 months ago

Thank you?

butler41211 months ago
dmott111 months ago
Why didn't I think of this?? Great idea!!!
bwrussell (author)  dmott111 months ago

Thanks, I can't take credit for the idea, that goes to my wife.

tonid4z11 months ago
Thanks for the awesome idea!... You could also put some wheels on it for added height & mobility, if you wanted to.. 8 )
bwrussell (author)  tonid4z11 months ago

Great idea, particularly if you have hard floors.

batonas11 months ago

The pictures alone tells it all, no special skills required, stunning result, the kind of instructable I like, respect.

bwrussell (author)  batonas11 months ago

I'm glad you liked it.

HollyMann11 months ago

This looks really nice - great job!

bwrussell (author)  HollyMann11 months ago