Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crates...my new love. And a tutorial.

Introducing my newest obsession...


I love crates...especially the old, vintage-y ones. I love the color and the lettering on the side. I see these bad boys and my mind goes crazy.
Just look at some of the amazing vignettes you can create with them.







I'd love to get my hands on a dozen or so of them, so I could create my own shelves (how fun would they be in a playroom?), but I've had a hard time finding some and the ones I have found are a little pricy so that dream will have to wait...for now.

I did, however, come across these little guys at Joanne's the other day. They were $9.99 each.


I know...blah. But look at these. With a little stain and some glaze you can turn a drab "new" crate into a fab "old" one.



I started out by staining the crate. The stain I used was ebony (it's all I had on hand), but I would recommend something a little lighter, like walnut.







Next I glazed over the stained crate. I mixed up my own glaze using











After the glaze was dry, I stensiled on some lettering and...of course, numbers.






These bad boys are sitting at my shop currently, but I have my fingers crossed they don't sell. I think I might want to use them in my bathroom as shelves and to replace the boring old towel rack. I'm in the process of revamping my bathroom, so I'll be sure to post the before and afters when I get it done. Could be awhile, but...

P.S. If any of you have used crates in fun and different ways I'd love to see your pics. I'm always up for fabulous decorating inspiration.

47 comments:

  1. Brilliant!!! Anything you love, I now, magically, Love love love!!!

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  2. Very cute! I can't wait to get my hands on some crates!

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  3. I have so seen those as Joanne's! WOW those are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! I say keep em : )

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  4. LOVE those ideas!! I haven't seen them used as shelves before and it's awesome! I currently use one of my old crates for a "shoe box" by the front door. We put all our regularly used shoes in it. I don't know how to show you the picture but I'm sure you can picture it :)

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  5. I really love this idea! I'm going to save it in my head for my next real house :d

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  6. Absolutely wonderful - just what I have been looking:)

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  7. Awesome! I think I have my first summer project decided on!!
    Thanks for the tips!

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  8. Are they easily tipped over? Would you recommend screwing them into the wall if you stack them like shelves?

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  9. Curious how big the crates are? I want to measure and plan how many I need! This is great!

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  10. This is so cute! Thanks for the awesome tutorial! Question...where did you find the first vignette picture?

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  11. @ Tonni. I tried contacting you through your photography blog, but was unsuccessful. Hoping you stop back by and see my comment. The crates measure 18w x 12 1/2t x 9 1/2 d...that's in inches. I know you're in Canada and I'm not sure how that converts into cm. Anyhoo...good luck!

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  12. I need help-I used your idea and have some brightly painted ones in the works for a kid's room bookshelf but how do I stick them together? Did you attach them at all? Since it is for my 3 year old's room I feel like I really have to have them more than just stacked but I am not sure the best way to do it?

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  13. How about them tipping over? Screwing them together and then screwing it to the wall? Or how did you do it so that it doesn't tip?

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  14. Love your crates. Thanks for the tute! Sue

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  15. Yes, I'm all over this! Thanks for sharing.
    (I'm a new follower) ~Rachel

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  16. What is it about crates? I love them too. And boxes. Thanks for the great idea of how to make them more attractive. Two questions:
    -By Joanne's, do you mean Joanne Fabrics?
    -How much of each of the materials did you use in the glaze mixture?
    guess I'm just not one of those people who can "wing it!"

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  17. I found you on Pinterest - I love this idea, they look perfect!

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  18. Found this on Pinterest! Thank you so much for sharing. I can't wait to try it!

    Kelly@The East Barn

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  19. @ Seakareem, I hope you see this message. Yes, when I say Joanne's I am referring to Joanne's Fabrics. I feel like I spend enough time {and money} there to be on a first name basis now. :)
    Next, I always by my glaze untinted so that I can tint it as I need it {I usually by the Behr brand at the Home Depot, but Sherwin-Williams has a line of it as well. For this project...three crates...I used about 3/4 cup of glaze that I tinted with honey brown and pewter grey craft paint...a good couple squirts of brown and a squirt of grey. The point of the glaze was to lighten up the dark walnut stain and give the crates' color some depth, so I wanted to keep it light. Hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by.

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  20. Erika, I've been obsessed with this idea for awhile now. My only question is, the JoAnne's crates, and similar crates I found at a mill store seem like they wouldn't make for a very sturdy bookcase. I'm thinking of just building my own crates, but if you think that the kind at JoAnne's have held up well,then I will save myself the trouble.

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  21. Where do you find the letter and number stencils?

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  22. @ Sally. Sorry for not replying sooner. I personally think that the premade crates from Joanne's could hold up. I don't know if I would overload them 1000 page books or anything, but they should be strong enough for some books and perhaps a fun little tchotchke. I have mine up in the bathroom and they are loaded with jars of seashells and picture frames etc. I took care to bolt each of them into studs, obviously, so they wouldn't become a tipping hazard. Good luck. I'd love to see pics of the final project.

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  23. @ Studio Refuge Photography Blog
    I made my own stensils using Microsoft Word. The font I used was Bodoni MT Black.

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  24. GREAT idea! I love crates too and have seen the ones at JoAnn Fabrics, and thought: "hmmmmmmmmmm" I love what you did with yours!
    -Kate
    soupseeds.blogspot.com

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  25. I love these! I've seen the same crates at the store and wondered about making them into something vintage-y. Love what you've done!

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  26. So COOL Gonna do this for my office.
    One question...how do you make them stay together, and do you secure them to the wall? I'd hate to make mine and have it tip over? Is there some sort of base you include??
    Again, really great!

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    1. @J-Blogger. I would definately suggest securing them to wall...preferably into a stud. I didn't bother attaching the crates to each other. If you secure them into the wall, they should stay in place.
      My crates are hanging in my bathroom, so they are essentially suspended on the wall. Since there is nothing supporting them from below {and all that is holding them up are a few screws}, I tried not to weigh them down to heavily for fear of them falling. That said, I have several knick knacks and jars of seashells etc., sitting on my crates and haven't had any problems.
      However, if you were to use the crates for something more like bookshelves, you should be able to stack them one on top of the other. Weight wouldn't be too much of an issue I suspect, since there would be support coming from below. I would still definatly secure each one of them to the wall, naturally.
      I hope this helps. Thanks for your comments/questions.

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  27. I was thinking and planning to try this one too. I hope it works fine.

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  28. Can't wait to give this a try. I found you via Pinterest.

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  29. Problem solved!

    Vintage Crates UK
    http://store.vintagecrates.co.uk/

    VINTAGE CRATES (NEW) £27
    - For pricing on larger quantities, please call or enquire by email
    Made in Lincolnshire UK
    Dimensions: L54/W36/HT28 (CM)
    http://vintagecrates.bigcartel.com/product/vintage-style-crate

    Working in conjunction with our local timber supplier, we were able to build these beautiful, robust crates from sustainable wood stocks within the region.

    Cheyenne

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  30. this is AMAZING!! Thank you so much for the tutorial, what a fantastic idea. I always see those crates at the craft stores but never thought of antiquing them myself and goodness knows the true antiques cost an arm and a leg.

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  31. Thanks Erika - fantastic idea. Just need to find some in Australia!!!

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  32. bought 12 from joanne's.... =) My mainsqueeze stained them with minwax waterbased "walnut"... just under 1 quart stained 12 crates!....the water based is less costly than the oil based ....& really goes a long way!...after they have been positioned & filled?....fotos on their way ...

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    1. Wow!!! Twelve crates. I can hardly wait to see what you do with them. They are pretty addicting aren't they?

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  33. I was wondering about the stenciling on the crates. What materials did you use for this and did you glaze over them as well?

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    1. I actually made my own stencils using a font off my computer. You can use stiff card stock or contact paper to make your stencil. Then, i used back craft paint to stencil on my letters and numbers. I did not glaze over them this project, but you could definitely do that. In fact, it may help the black paint look a little more aged and distressed. Hope this helps. Thanks for your comment.

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    2. thanks for your help and the great idea!

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  34. I'm in need of stiarge in my kids room....oh how I thank you for this :-)))
    Shold I fasten them together somehow?

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  35. Any other suggestions on what I can use instead of the RL faux glaze? I bought the gray and brown, however I cannot find this glaze at any craft or hardware stores. The hardware people said they think it doesnt meet the Ca air guidelines or something to that effect. So any other suggestions on what I can use to mix the paints with? HELP!!

    Dawn

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    1. Hi Dawn. I don't know if RL glaze is around anymore. I went to buy some recently and the store didn't have any. So, I bought some Behr brand glaze and it seems to work just as well. Maybe you'll have better luck finding that brand. Good luck!

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  36. What other people usually throw away after getting the contents, you have made into a creative storage space! This will surely inspire those who are looking for unique designs for their shelves as well as those who want to reuse their old wooden crates.

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  37. How did you stack them? how do they stay sturdy? Im assuming they are drilled together. Thanks! Cant wait to try it out!

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  38. Wondered if you thought about making your own crates but using pallets that are just going to be thrown away anyways? They would probably be sturdy enough to use for book shelves. These are neat. I got on pintrest to search ideas on refurbishing/painting an old desk and it just goes from one idea to another. Thank you for a neat idea.

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  39. This is awesome! I have been searching everywhere for authentic crates but they are so freakin expensive. I will definitely be putting this to use in my house! Thanks for the great tutorial, I can't wait to give it a try!!

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  40. so cool, thank you. when we bought our house there was 2 of these old crates in the basement. I dug them out, cleaned away the cob webs and my middle daughter uses one as a laundry hamper and the other currently holds old blue jeans to add to the blue jean quilt i'm working on. but I love the idea of using them as shelves. thank you again for some great ideas.

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