DIY Crate Bookshelf

I am going to be posting some inexpensive, easy projects that you can do to spiff up a space over the next few days!

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Before I begin, let me just say that I am sorry I get so excited about projects that I forget to take step by step photos and, in this case, before and after photos.

When it comes to décor, I am honestly not sure what label to put on Will and I’s style.  The important thing I do know is that we both like distressed cabinets.  So someday when we are turning a house into our dream home I know we will be buying or DIYing some distressed cabinets for the kitchen.  I have to start somewhere, right? Lol.

Currently our home décor style is a hodgepodge of handy-me-downs and gifts.   Seriously.  If it is in our house (up until this last weekend) then  it was either a wedding gift, a wedding decoration, a hand-me-down, something borrowed long-term, or the coffee table that we made for ourselves almost two years ago.

Our coffee table with the coffee filter flowers I made.

So going off of that knowledge, I suppose that our style at the moment is crate furniture.  There’s enough of that stuff floating around Pinterest for it to be its own genre.  A genre that we really like because crates are pretty cheap and you can make paint them, stain them, add designs, stack them, cover them, and build them into something cool that fits your needs – like this bookshelf!


We want to keep the old book shelf that was in the office.  It is a decent bookshelf that Will brought with him into our marriage.  It’s just that it did not match anything else in the spare room (not that much in there did match as it was just full of spares).  Plus the spare room was always on the darker side, and I wanted to brighten it up a bit.

Here’s the old bookshelf.  Sorry for the terrible photo.  It is a cropped portion of the only picture I could find that even had the old bookshelf in it.



Stay tuned for some other projects that I have had going on, and at the end of it, the whole picture put together!  To make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff over the next couple of weeks you can subscribe to the blog. Either subscribe via the box below our picture on the left side, OR just click the link in the yellow banner at the top of the page.

Step 1) Gather your supplies.

As for how to make this bad boy.  First you will need to gather your supplies:

  • The crates,
  • finish of your choice,
  • and a brush for applying it.

Yep, that’s it!  You could get some 1”x4” to make a frame for extra support and stability, but I did not go that far because I was not sure if I was going to need to add to the bookshelf or not.  Plus, hubster is better at those things, and this was kind of a surprise for him.

You can find the crates at Michaels and larger JoAnn’s stores (heads up, the one in Lexington does not carry them last I checked).  Also, I just saw a bunch of these on sale at Home Depot the other day as well. The base price for them is about $13 each.  BUT Michaels always has coupons on their app, and they accept competitors coupons so if you have a coupon for JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby. I usually have at least a 40% off coupon so I get each crate for around $9 after it’s all said and done.

Step 2) Finishing

I used Minwax Golden Pecan (bought it at Home Depot of course).  I applied it with a standard paintbrush.  You don’t want to apply it heavily because you will end up with runs and drips all over.

I find that it is best and quickest if you start with crate setting on its side as these are in the bookshelf.  Stain the top, and then stain the bottom, back, and sides of the inside.  Carefully turn the crate around and stain the back and then the outside of the two side pieces (the solid pieces with the handles).  If it is dry enough you can flip it over and stain the two sections that you are missing, if not just begin staining your next crate and come back to it.

I applied a second coat of stain to the outside of the crates.  That wood had been sanded more smoothly and looked much lighter than the inside after the first coat.

Step 3) Assemble

I didn’t opt to put any cool logos or transfers onto this bookshelf.  I just wanted something simple.  But that depends on your space.  Depending on your space and storage needs you might opt to have the crates standing up so that they are tall rather than wide.  Or you might want a mix of both directions.  Originally I had wanted to make the book shelf look like our coffee table, but on its side.   However, I did not trust myself to put it together so Will got this simple arrangement instead.

Step 4) Fill and Enjoy!

Fill ‘er up and be proud of yourself!  You just made an awesome, unique, inexpensive bookshelf all on your own!


Also, only 6 days till our two year anniversary!


what is a project that you are really wanting to tackle at the moment?


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