Introduction: How to Make an $11 Crate With a $3 2x4

I was passing through a home improvement store the other day and saw a simple wooden crate that was being sold for $11. I decided I could make one from a $3 2x4 and show you how.

Step 1: Gather Materials

What you'll need:

  • Safety gear
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • a 96" 2x4
  • Table Saw
  • 3/4" staples (narrow)
  • Hammer or staple gun (staple gun recommended)

You can build one crate from one 2x4 but the pictures you see in this Instructable show me making two crates from two 2x4's.

Step 2: Take Off Those Rounded Corners

Set your table saw at 3/16" and lob off the rounded all 4 rounded corners of your 2x4's

You will end up with 3" x 1.5" stock

You can do this in 2 cuts.

Step 3: Cut Thirteen (13) 3/8" X 1-1/2" X 18" Slats

At this stage you'll want to exercise some material management because you are using most of the 2x4 and wasteful cutting can leave you short at the end.

Because you'll need a 3" wide piece later, resist the urge to rip a few 3/8" strips off of the entire board

I started by cutting 36" off of my 2x4 and making 12 slats from that piece and then cutting the remaining slat from the remaining material after I made my 3" piecess

Step 4: Cut Four (4) 3/4" X 3" X 9-1/2" End Pieces

To do this you'll need to set your table saw blade as high as it will go (if your using a 10" blade)

Rip two 3/4" lengths off your stock and then cross cut them to meat the 9.5" dimension

Step 5: Cut a 1/2" Rabbet

To cut a 1/2 x 1/2 'rabbet' out off your 3/4" pieces set the fence 1/2" away from the blade and the blade 1/2" out of the table. Its better to error on the side of less (15/32") and trim out the remaining piece with a utility knife later

Step 6: Cut Six (6) 1/2" X 2-3/8" X 7" Cross Members

Here the 1/2" dimension will sit inside the 1/2" rabbit you just cut.

The 7" dimension makes your crate a nice even dimension and the

The 2-3/8" dimension is not critical - it may be a little more or less.

Step 7: Inventory Your Parts

Qty 13 = 3/8 x 1-1/2 x 18"

Qty 4 = 3/4" x 3" x 9-1/2" (with 1/2" x 1/2" rabbit)

Qty 6 = 1/2" x 2-3/8" x 7"

Step 8: Make Sure Your Staples Are 3/4"

Step 9: Staple Pieces From Step 4 and Step 6 Together

The top cross member will be functioning as a handle for your crate.

This joint should probably be glued and stapled but mine have held up pretty well by just remembering to staple them from both sides. (Two from the outside in and two from the inside out... at each end

The other cross members can be stapled from one side only.

Step 10: Critical Step - Make Sure Your Handles Are Both 'up'

Make sure your handles are both at the top then attach side slats

I'm speaking from experience here.

Step 11: Critical Step, Make Sure You Know Which Way Is Up

Make sure you know which way is up before stapling the bottom slats to the crate.

I'm speaking from experience here also.

Step 12: ...and the Finished Product

In complete fairness this $3 crate took about 45 minutes using a $300 table saw and $90 staple gun which was getting fed air by a $350 compressor. You would have to make nearly 100 of these crates to make your money back - don't do it for the money do it for the joy of making things :)