Instructables
Picture of The Milk Crate Bookshelf
An affordable way to store, move, and display your favorite books.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Step 1: Acquire Milk Crates

Picture of Step 1: Acquire Milk Crates
IMG_0108.JPG
Locate your favorite grocery store and find some discarded milk crates.  These will usually be hidden near the rest of the waste, in the back of the dairy section, or tucked away into crevices throughout the store.

Step 2: Stack or configure milk crates

Picture of Stack or configure milk crates
IMG_0114.JPG
Place milk crates side by side, or stacked on top of one another.  Zip-tie milk crates for extra security.  Adorn the top of your new bookshelf by placing decorative objects or artifacts such as cactus statues or candles.

Step 3: Place books on your new bookshelf

Picture of Place books on your new bookshelf
Make sure to choose the books that will impress your friends.  Pictured below is a bookshelf hoping to give the impression of an "intellectual."

Step 4: Disassemble shelves

Picture of Disassemble shelves
Bookshelves can be disassembled and books can be moved to a new location.  The books can remain inside the milk crate, this makes them very easy to transport.
moonchylde1 year ago
This isn't just limited to bookshelves. I've made shelves, entertainment centers, bed frames, even a couch (with the help of some big polyfoam blocks). Also, it's getting easier to obtain these legally; I've had a couple of delivery guys tell me that it's actually cheaper to buy new ones then to wash and reuse the old ones.
Zogman421 year ago
I found crates that were marked "Property of XxYyZy Dairy" - but the dairy had gone out of business,.. so they were free, I just had to ask. You can contact a local milk/dairy Co-op they are usually willing to re-purpose the crates rather than pay the money to send them out to be recycled.
Henge2 years ago
Seriously, who cares about stolen milk crates? I got a bunch of them, and the Dairy's can get them back when they pry them from my cold, dead hands. This is a cool project. I made a similar one, and then screwed an old 1" piece of oak to the top as a platform for keys and such.
lime3D2 years ago
Like everyone is saying, those crates that you find at the store are waiting to go back to the dairy... they are not free for the taking.

Also, they are designed to hold weight when they are in the upright position. if you start loading them up while they are on their sides, they will start to bow downward, and eventually, you books will fall out the front.

Best thing to do is place a board between each layer of crates.
ZackBlack2 years ago
Please don't take "discarded" milk crates:

http://www.gotmilkcrates.com/
TieDyedPie2 years ago
I have a setup like this right now. I used to live upstairs, and this was the only shelving option that would fit up a small spiral staircase. So handy when I moved, I kept them.

And for what it's worth, I found crates a a thrift store for a couple bucks each. There are legal options out there.
RMandell (author) 2 years ago
Just a disclaimer: I personally didn't steal/abscond with any of the milk crates.... I have certainly acquired them over the years through moving though.... old roommates and boyfriends have discarded them, etc. They were literally just in my closet holding books, when I realized they could be so much more!

I am not advocating for illegal activity!! Keep it safe, ya'll!!

-r
legally questionable and featured? nice!
Nice instructable. Are you sure the crates "tucked away" in the store are meant to be discarded, though? Most milk crates are reused over and over and over again by the dairies that I know of. Many of them are labeled "property of ____ Dairy" to encourage stores and consumers to return them if found. :)
Oh.. and here's a link with a bit more information on stolen milk crates in case you're interested:

http://www.gotmilkcrates.com/
lsf2 years ago
Next step, attach it on the wall.