This little table/storage bin/stool/stepladder has been handy in so many ways and it was so easy to put together. To put it in the simplest terms, it’s a couple of stacked wooden boxes with wheels. One of ours is currently a table beside the couch where our laptops stay close by and miscellaneous items can be kept inside. The other is being used in the office to raise a space heater up to keep us warm while working at the desk. Games and decks of cards are stored inside. I can take off the larger box to use as a stool or stepladder in a pinch. If they’re in the living room, they make great TV trays, as the wheels make them easy to move around. They make great bedside tables because you can move them closer to the bed at night, and they’re easy to move aside when you need room to make the bed. They’re awesome in the craft room. They can move around to wherever you’re currently working and you can store … I’ll bet you’re already thinking of all the craft items you could store in them. So let’s get to making one!
- two wooden crates
- four casters
- 14″ x 20″ piece of wood/MDF or whatever works for the top
- additional: screws, corks (read the “assembly” section)
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You can use any kind of crate you like. Mine are vintage soda and beer crates that we found at local flea markets for around $12-$25. You can also find fruit, vegetable, dairy, and wine crates, among others.
The price will likely vary depending on where you purchase your crate and how valuable it is (antiques and vintage tend to be a bit pricier). If none of those fit your décor, you can purchase plain wooden crates at a craft or home improvement store and leave them as is or paint them to match. I’ve seen them priced as low as $7. Your two crates can be the same height or different heights. I chose the ones I did because when put together, they were approximately the height I wanted for the finished table.
Casters can be purchased at home improvement stores starting at about $10 for a set of four. The nylon type is cheaper, but I prefer the rubber ones. The nylon ones don’t roll smoothly and are more likely to scratch a delicate floor.
The top is actually optional, as you could position the upper box upside down and voila, the bottom becomes the top! I made tops for mine, but one was needed elsewhere, so I turned the top one over. Also, you can’t use the box for storage if it’s upside down. I mean, you knew that, but, yeah.
Anyway, if you do need a top, MDF is fairly easy and cheap. At my local store, I can buy a 2′ by 2′ piece and have it cut down. Be sure to coat generously with a water proof sealer, though, because MDF and moisture are mortal enemies.
Wood is always a good choice. Mine is made of three 5″ pieces of oak glued together.
If your crates are small, you might find a ceramic tile that will fit. If you want to be able to see what’s inside, which could be very cool depending on the contents, you could have a piece of glass cut. Similarly, a picture frame would work. A serving tray would be great too. Use your imagination! Walk around the home improvement store or even your own home and see what you can come up with.
Also, if the wood your crates are made of is somewhat thin, it will be a bit hard to stack them. You may want to place another “top” piece in between the two to make it stable, or connect the two with some hardware, such as a hook and eye.
Step 3: Assembly
Decide which crate will be the bottom. I used the shorter ones because they were made of thicker wood and I knew that would be a sturdier place to attach the casters. Turn the bottom crate upside down and attach the casters. If the wood is thin, you may need to use shorter screws than the ones that came with the casters. Or you can use the longer screws and then turn the crate over and push a cork onto the part of the screw that’s exposed.
Turn your newly-castered crate right-side up. Place the second crate on top of the castered one, and then place your top piece on top of that! Really, this is all you have to do. I had dreams of connecting the two crates with some sort of latching hardware (which would look super cool) and attaching the top with a hinge, but none of that has happened yet. And still these two little guys have been used every day for quite a few years now. I hope you find yours just as useful!
Remember when I listed the different places you could use this table and I mentioned beside the bed? I just moved mine in there and I love it! I previously had stacks of books (from Goodwill) beside the bed, which were nice but hard to move and not always sturdy. I turned the upper crate on its end and put books in it so I still have the look AND it made the crate more stable. I love when an easy project is useful in so many ways!
Participated in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016