Pallet Crates & Inkjet Image Transfer to Wood





Introduction: Pallet Crates & Inkjet Image Transfer to Wood

About: Instructables got me started on an incredible DIY journey, which turned into a blog, which replaced my day job in 2 years. Anything is possible here at Instructables.

I can never pass by an antique wooden crate without stopping. Crates are so useful, they make instant storage that is also stylish!

These crates are inspired by the character of pallet wood, farm and orchard crates, old stamps, and weathered typography. They are made from discarded pallets, and personalized with a easy image transfer method using only wax paper and inkjet printer.

At the end you will also see some fabulous diy failures so you can get a more consistent result with this technique.

I also have a detailed step by step plus video tutorial and all the stamps and images I used on these crates as a free download here -download the decorative elements for these vintage inspire crates.

Step 1: Make Crates

Now we can size and cut the pieces – see diagram above. Depending on the size of the crate you want, you will need 2 or 3 boards for the bottom(orange). Mark them to the length you want, and also mark 2 side pieces(yellow) at the same length. Finally, use these pieces to determine the end pieces(blue). Sand each piece with either a sanding pad, or a electric sander. We also used a Multitool to trim and sand smaller irregular edges.

After all the pieces are cut and sanded, nail or glue the 4 side together first, then nail or glue the bottom to the sides. You can also use pocket hole screws to attach the pieces. We chose nails because of the rustic look we want. If you do use nails, a little pre-drilling helps to prevent cracks. Now we are ready to add our personal designs to the crates with image transfer!

Step 2: Finishing Wax

After the image transfer dries for a couple of hours, the final step is to protect our crates with a nice furniture wax. After some geeky research I used the recipe from Amber Dusick. She makes this luscious wax for her wooden toys. It’s 1 part bees wax, 4 parts jojoba or olive oil (I used olive oil). Place the shaved bees wax and olive oil in a bowl, and slowly heat over a double boiler till the wax is melted. Stir and transfer into a jar.

This wax is non toxic, and so nice to work with. It’s actually a great hand lotion - so no gloves here!

You can see from the photos that the color of the wood and images become richer and deeper once you apply the wax. Let sit for 24 hours, and you are ready to use them or give them as gifts!

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Third Prize in the
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Runner Up in the
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44 Discussions


2 years ago

I heard one can use the backing paper of inkjet printable label sheets. it is waxed on the side the labels were stuck ... Remove all of the left over label material and you have 8.5x11 wax paper which should run through your inkjet printer. Print on shiny side. So the story goes since I have not tried.

Does it matter which side of the wax paper you use? One side is shinier than the other.

do you have a favorite inkjet printer to recommend?


2 years ago

I can't believe how beautiful these turned out! Thanks for the detailed instructions on the wax paper transfer and for the Image Fairy links. Well done!

Thank you for sharing your method to transfer. I have been seeing many different methods, but yours makes the most sense.

Where do you get the wax paper? Ebay link?

Wow what a great idea and tutorial :-D. I love the Graphic Fairy!

Thanks for sharing!♡


most tutorials leave out the...oh yea, wax paper jams...why didn't that dawn on me prior to fighting with my printer. I've read that parchment paper works well too.

3 replies

Nice project and I am going to have to try your method on some photos I want of the grand kids on wood

Congrats on making finalist! How was your sleep until now?Are you waiting for the big announcement? What prize would you like to receive? :D

This has to be one of the coolest instructables I've seen. Good job...

This is WONDERFUL! But knowing nothing about printers, is an inkjet different from a laser printer? The inkjet printers are just regular printers right? I got so discouraged 8 (or so) years ago when I wanted to transfer to fabric, because everything had to be done on $500 laser printers?? LOVE this, got my 'bedroom' vote!!

3 replies

You can usually tell what type of printer you have by the prints it puts out. An inkjet uses watery ink, so it will naturally soak into plain printer paper. A large block of ink such as a picture or large bold text will leave the paper damp, and the image quality usually isnt that good. Laser printers are usually much crisper since the toner is literally melted to the surface of the paper. Generally laser prints are more even, crisp, and vivid than inkjet.

You can also tell by the ink/toner cartridges. Inkjets are usually small blocks with liquid ink that are set side by side in the printer. Laser toner packs are usually large and wide and must be set in a tray.

Hi, do not try this in a laser printer it will ruin the printer. Inkjet ink is a liquid that gets sprayed onto the waxed paper by the printer. Laser printers use a powered toner that is fused (melted) to the paper with heat. If you try this with a laser printer the fuser will melt the wax off the waxed paper and probably ruin the fusing unit.

A great Instructible, I have not seen this transfer method before.