I was looking for a storage solution apart from the typical bookshelf for storing books, games, puzzles, etc. I wanted it to be modular and easy to store or transport if I didn't need the whole thing. I decided on making some jumbo crates that nest together when not used. This project does not require any fancy tools, but certainly could be done easier if you have access to them.
A Sketchup file is included for the dimensions I used, although I would make them smaller, both depth and height.
Boards (I used 1x12s and some scraps)
Screws (2" wood screws)
Nails (I used wire nails 1 1/4")
Step 1: Join Boards, Sides
If the boards you have available are not wide enough you will have to join the boards to meet the width needed for the bottom and side pieces. They are many ways to join boards, I used dowels and glue. You could also use biscuits. I am not going into detail on that here as there many good videos on different techniques to use.
I cut out handles at what will be the top of the crates. I used a drill and jigsaw to create the slotted hole in the sides. If you are not sure what size to make the slotted holes just make a test piece and see how well it fits your hand.
I used 2" wood screws and a countersink bit to joint the sides to the bottom. If you don't have a corner clamp or other method to square the edges to the bottom, just use two clamps and a thicker square piece of wood to hold the edge piece to the bottom piece until screwed together. If you don't have a countersink bit use a larger bit for a shallow depth to allow the screw to be flush with the wood.
Step 2: Slats
The slats I made were 2" wide. The scrap I used ended up being about 1/2" thick after planing, so the 1" nails worked fine. I also put some glue on the slats before securing with the nails. I used clamps to help hold things in place and keep things square until nailed in place.
Step 3: Finishing
Before painting or staining you may want to sand everything down, especially around the handles and edges.
I tried something different for the finish on these crates. The attempt was to create a mix of stain and painted look. I first stained a side, wiped it down, then painted, then wiped it down.
Step 4: Done
There are multiple ways to use these. As a storage solution they could be stacked in different ways or used as a side table. They could also be used upside down as a foot stool or even as a place to sit. In the beginning I said I would make them smaller if I were to make these again. They are rather large and heavy to be able carry all together in the nested position. I would reduce the height by two slats and start with the smallest size and then make 3 crates to nest smaller.
Hope this inspires you to figure out a unique solution to your storage needs.