Jun 30, 2011

Wood Crate Project

I've spent the last couple of days painting shelves in my house. Why am I writing about this?
Well, I'll tell you.

Nearly every single one of the shelves or bookcases in my house have been made from reclaimed wood, disassembled wardrobes, chopped up tables or any bit of straight edged wood I could get my hands on. I haven't taken any pictures of the shelves to post up here, well, because...life's too short to be posting pictures of my shelves made from reclaimed wood, disassembled wardrobes, chopped up tables or any bit of straight edged wood I could get my hands on.

But the fact of the matter is clear. We all need shelves.
(or am I on some kind of crusade to lift everything in the World at least 2 feet off the ground?) 

For some, a plain old plank of wood with a couple of brackets and you're done.
For others it can only mean the finest quality, limited edition, Baltic birch plywood shelves, hand carved by 8th generation craftsmen of some South American village.

I like to think somewhere in between is you and me.

Unless you're first choice is to get the IKEA catalogue out and you've got a little time to think about what you want, maybe it's time to try something different.

How about some old vintage wood crates.

Image: Living Room Interior Design

Image: baileys home and garden

I've always loved the look of this and I'm not sure I have the confidence to persuade my wife to allow me to stick a bunch of old wine crates on our wall...saying that... I have one issue if anyone is willing to try to achieve this 'look'.

And it's a pretty major issue.

These are the sort of wood crates you get in Ireland!

Image: William Murphy
Not exactly the same thing is it?

You could go shopping on eBay for Old Wine Crates but apart from the glaringly obvious 'it's vintage that's why it's expensive' price tag I find it increasingly more annoying that anything I type into eBay and set the search for IRELAND ONLY always comes back with 0 results.

Do we not sell anything on eBay??  Do we throw everything away??
Actually that's not accurate. We don't throw everything away. We do sell stamps and Des Bishop DVDs.

So, sometimes you have to make do with what you've got.

As nice an idea as these are,

Image: poetic home
Image: DiMeo Blueberry Farms

There's always the option of outdoor storage.

Image: GAP Photos

And if sturdy enough (with added support from screws) and with the right kind of paint why not try a simple storage unit for the kids room.
Image: ohhdeedoh (click link for how-to)

Another idea is you can always hide the quality of the crates by loading them up with everything you have in your house. (an idea I'm quite partial to if you were to ask my wife)
Image: theselby

Nothing like a bit of misdirection to hide the joints and cracks in your book shelf.

Which brings me back to the paint and why I've spent the last few days painting every square inch of reclaimed wood, disassembled wardrobe, chopped up table and every bit of straight edged wood that I now lovingly call our 'bookcase'.


  1. Ive been collecting Wine Crates to do something similar. The irregular dimensions look pretty cool. But they have been much more difficult to come by the last while and im about 20 short :(

  2. If you're finding it difficult to pick up vintage wine crates you might have a go at trying to make a copy. Over on the Ana White website there are really simple plans to build a vintage looking crate from old pallets.
    Here's the link. http://ana-white.com/2010/09/vintage-crate-carts.html
    The look is really effective and if they don't exactly match the other 'authentic' crates you can always hid them in the middle!

  3. I love the ideas and the links to other sites has led me on a great quest and fired my imagination for lots of projects....no. 1:I have this knackered 'tall boy' type drawer thing which was going to be thrown out but I realised after your ideas above that the drawers could be nailed/glued into a mini shelf unit and the actual body of the set could be turned on its side and turned into another shelf type thing, I'm guessing I should sand back the nasty orange fake pine looking top coat and then maybe paint? Any ideas on what types of paint are good for this (haven't done anything like this before obviously!). Thanks for any tips and keep up the good work, its great.

  4. Great idea to pin the shelves together. As for the unit, try paint stripper before going to all the effort of sanding. Go to your local hardware store to get some. Always use rubber gloves when applying it with a brush and do so in a well ventilated area. Just do one side at a time and follow instructions on the can. Once you scrape off the old paint the piece should be ready for a primer (after a tiny bit of sanding to remove any bits missed with the stripper) A 500ml can (which is the smallest i think) should be plenty (with some left over for future projects). After that, just choose the colour you would like to paint it. Try a satin finish or eggshell if you don't want that high gloss look. Ask your hardware store for examples if you are not sure. Best of luck with the project and thanks for kind words.


  6. Thanks so much for taking the time out to leave a comment. Really glad you liked the letter lamps. I'm sorry I didn't have any to sell today but it makes more sense to have a letter that's personal to you. Let me know if you'd like me to make one for you and thanks again for coming out to the market today.

  7. I think I will be looking at wood crates a bit differently...thanks!

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