Introduction: Turn an Antique Crate Into a Neat Shelf

About: I'm a 29 year old guy who's passionate about building and fixing things, sometimes if they aren't even broken. I get a great sense of enjoyment out of creating, designing and building new things. I also love t…

I went to the flea market today and saw this crate...I couldn't resist. I knew I had to make something out of it!


-Hand saw
-Claw hammer
-Drill (optional)


-Old crate of some kind
-2 picture hangers or some other suitable hanging hardware
-A couple of drywall anchors and screws (If you are mounting it on a drywalled wall)
-Wood glue (May not need it)

Let's get started!

Step 1: Gather Supplies and Remove the Bottom

Get your crate and your hammer ready!

Now, you want to as gently as possible pry off the bottom boards of your crate. I took a long flathead screwdriver and pried the boards up a tiny bit, and then slid the claw end of my hammer under and did the rest that way. Then just hammer the nails out from the pointed ends. Also, if you want to keep your shelf looking really vintage, try and keep 8 nails that aren't too bent and you can reuse them to nail your shelf planks in! I was extremely careful, but one of my boards still broke on one corner, so that's where the wood glue comes in handy. You're less likely to break your crate if it's not too old and is made of a harder wood. I think mine was made from cedar and is also very old, so the wood just started splitting very easily.

If yours does break, no big deal. Just use your wood glue sparingly (it's extremely strong and you don't need to put much on at all).

Step 2: Cut Off Any Excess Wood

My crate had a few small ends of wood protruding out of the bottom after the boards were removed, so I just had to use a hand saw to cut them off. You may not have this issue as every crate is different. The most important thing is to make your bottom as flat/level as possible, because it will become the back of your shelf and will be against the wall. 

They generally didn't make these crates to the highest standards either, so make sure at this point there aren't any rogue nails or staples coming out. If so, grab some pliers and take them out.

Step 3: Cut Your Bottom Boards and Drill a Few Holes

Now, grab the boards that you pried off of the bottom and cut them down a bit so they will fit inside your crate and serve as the shelves. Once you've cut them down with your saw, decide where you want them to be exactly and mark the sides of your crate for the holes you will need to drill.

Then, grab your drill and make your holes. Since I was reusing nails and also nailing into extremely thin, old wood, I drilled small pilot holes into the sides of the boards for my nails. Another good trick to avoid splitting wood when you are driving a nail into it is to take the nail, put the head on the ground and give the pointed end a few light taps with the hammer before you drive it in.

Step 4: Nail/screw in Your Shelves

Now you can simply line up your shelves and nail or screw them in!

Step 5: Put on Your Hangers and Hang It Up!

Now you just need to find a good sturdy place on the back of your new shelf to mount the hangers. I put mine on the rear near the top.
Then just drill a couple of hole in the wall and drive in some drywall anchors. Then just put in the screws and hang it up!

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