Thursday, September 13, 2012

DIY Wooden Book Crate

Have you ever completed a project and it turns out even better than you imagined? I just finished one of those and I am thrilled to share it with you.

My kids LOVE to read (even the little one who doesn't know how to!) and we have tons of books. Most of them are downstairs in the playroom, but we have a small collection of some of their favorites upstairs so we have easy access to them for bedtime stories. We also have a constant rotation of library books that I try to keep somewhat separate from our own books. Unfortunately, it was turning into a big jumble and something had to be done!

I saw this wooden crate from Michael's used as a shadow box on Emily's blog and I got inspired to use the same one to solve this book mess. These are the supplies I used:

crate • pre-stain • stain • stencils • paint (I actually ended up using craft paint and not wall paint) • casters • sanding block • polycrylic (I ended up using a spray version)

First thing to do is the prep work. Sand it down until it's nice and smooth. Then apply the pre-stain wood conditioner. You don't really see much of a difference, but it helps the wood take the color of the stain more evenly.

Read the directions on the can and wait the specified time and then apply the stain. I used Miniwax's walnut color, and used the same foam brush from the pre-stain. It's pretty liquidy so you really don't need to use that much. A little stain goes a long way.

After you let it sit for a while, wipe off the excess stain with a clean rag. It may look like there's nothing to wipe, but you'll see that there really is.

 Here it is all stained - already looking so much better!

I then took the letters and lined them up to space them properly before painting.

The stenciling itself was simple. I used Martha Stewart's foam stenciling brushes - just dip the brush into some craft paint, wipe off the excess and dab repeatedly in an up-and-down motion to avoid bleeding. I used some tape on the underside of the stencil to keep them from shifting and that worked out fine.

The bottom of the crate was slatted, just like the sides and I wanted a solid bottom, both for extra support for books and so they wouldn't slip through the cracks, and also to have something sturdier to screw the casters into. I happened to have some spare plywood the exact width (Divine providence!) and my dad helped me cut it down to size. We screwed the casters right through the crate and into the plywood.

The final step was to spray it with a clear protective coating. I was originally going to use the polycrylic pictured above, but I only had it in glossy and I didn't want a shiny finish. I had a can of a matte protective spray (Rustoleum) so that's what I used. (Beware, that stuff stinks!)

Here you can see the plywood on the bottom. Since I added it in after the fact, I forgot to sand it down first and it was hard to get a really smooth surface once it was screwed in. In order to protect the kids' fingers from splinters, I covered it with a layer of clear contact paper. Safety first! It's not as obvious in real life as it is here in this picture, but it'll always be covered with books anyway so I'm not too concerned.

The kids couldn't wait to fill it up with their books!

And now in its new location (subject to change, of course!).

I am so happy with how it turned out and it was a really easy project! The longest part was definitely just the waiting for the stain/paint/poly to dry. So tell me, how do you keep your kids' books organized?

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  1. Just coming over from YHL to take a look. Great project!

  2. Also from YHL! Very cute!

  3. YHL stop by. Love this project and since we have 2 little readers over here this is definitely going into our crafts bookmark. Thanks!

    My best, Lynn

  4. Visiting from Inspiration Friday. This is certainly inspiring. Thanks

  5. How awesome! I cannot WAIT to make one of these for all the books we have.

  6. That is so seriously cute! What an amazing transformation ...



  7. I love this project - absolutely love it - this is a must for me to copy - would look great for firewood too!!!
    Your newest follower -
    Would love to have you come by and follow back
    when you have the time!

  8. Hoping over from Social Sunday at A Lived in Home. What a great project. I really love it. The casters really make a huge difference too. Nice work.

  9. What a great project. LOVE the casters! Hopped over from DIY Project Parade and I'm happy to be your newest follower. Would love to have you stop by for a visit. Blessings ~ Judy

  10. This turned out so cute!! I'm visiting from A Lived In Home and am now following! Please visit when you can :)

  11. Oh man, I LOVE this! Will be making one of these soon =)

  12. Too dang cute!!! I wanna make a million of these for all sorts of things. Shoes in the entryway, hats, gloves, scarves in the hall closet, lunch boxes in the pantry, the list goes on and on! Thanks so much for the inspiration, just pinned!

  13. Love your crate! How cute! I'd like to invite you to share it at my party, Twirl & Take a Bow at I'm also your newest follower via linky followers. Hope you can stop by!

  14. Actually, I did (kind of) the same thing! Love it and my boys still use it as a car or whatever, so books are rarely in it...oh well!

  15. Love how this turned out. Great job!

  16. great project, thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday! Have a great time preparing for Succos and chag sameach!

  17. This is really adorable! Book storage is always so important around here. We're bursting at the seems. I may need to make one of those, too.

  18. lovely... but I tried it myself and the crate though it looks nice it stinks. 3 weeks later and still smells chemicals, it ended up outside full of veggies. Impossible to have it indoors especially the kids rooms.

  19. Love this. Where'd you find the crates???