Aging Wooden Crates The Easy Way | Trash To Treasure Makeover

October 17, 2017


Easy DIY Vintage Wooden Crates

I live in a great neighborhood. It's filled with the most charming houses from the 1920's, the smell of salt air and neighbors with a lot of junk. From fan blades to large picture frames, lately, I have been the lucky recipient of some fabulous cast offs.

How awesome is that?

Well, a couple of weekends ago, my husband and I were on our way to the market when he pointed out a few wooden crates stacked at the curb. My eyes lit right up. It was love at first sight.

They weren't those deep crates you find at the craft stores, they were low, stackable and covered in text...

Those are cool. Would you like them? 

Before I could even answer, he had the truck pulled over and loaded up. He knows me so well. Doesn't take much to make me smile.

And by not much, I mean garbage. I'm a very cheap date.

Shhhh.

Anyway...once I got my treasure home, I realized that they were grape crates. I also realized that they were still covered in grapes and grape stains.

Very cool, but also very messy. And I guess we aren't the only ones who enjoy cabernet sauvignon, because the flies and ants were everywhere, munching on the remnants. Since I didn't want an army of drunk insects in my house, I got a damp rag and wiped the crates clean. I was able to get the majority of the ick off within minutes, but I needed anything that was left on the wood to be completely dried out and inedible.

Wooden Fruit Crates For Decor

Luckily, it was still like 90 degrees here, so I placed them in the sun for the rest of the afternoon and that did the trick.

Then, it was time to get crafty. I could've left them alone. I mean they are real working crates and quite charming on their own, even with a few purple stains, but where's the fun in that?

Just kidding, I am so lazy about crafting that if that were truly an option, I would've let them be, but you see, I have a tiny secret.

These crates are clearly not vintage. And that's ok. I'm all about faking it, especially when things are free, but these crates have been manufactured very recently for as cheap as possible, I'm sure. So while they may look great from the front and back, real wood and all, the sides are particle board (MDF) and there's nothing charming about that.

I had to camouflage it.

I also prefer an aged look. The stark plywood was not doing it for me.

So, I grabbed my handy dandy brown craft paint and got to work on those babies. I used the same technique as the one I used on my DIY wooden cake stand and thrift store cutting board makeover with the equal success.

It's a technique that would work the those crates you do find at the craft store, fyi.

Trash To Treasure Crate Makeover

To age the crates, I thinned regular brown craft paint with water, painted it on to the wood with a foam brush and rubbed it off with a damp paper towel. This untreated, rough wood was very thirsty, so I had to work quickly. I didn't want the paint to sit too long in one spot, but even strokes were not necessary.

Wooden Crate Makeover

With this method, I didn't have to fuss with stain and I didn't need to be neat. The best part was that since these crates are supposed to look like they were used, abused and very old, my paint job didn't have to perfect.

Which is perfect for me.

When I was done, I set them in the sun to dry. Again. And poof! Particle board? What particle board?

Wooden Crate Makeover

Right now they are in the house, dressing my living room for fall. If I decide to move them to the porch at some point, I will definitely give them a coat of sealer to protect them from the elements. Something in a spray can most likely.

Cottage Style Fall Decor

However, like I said, right now I love them exactly where they are. I have no intention of kicking them outside. They fit the mood of the room and I can picture them in the same place at Christmas holding presents. Or stockings. Or a fuzzy blankets. Or knitting supplies. Or a little tree. Or...

Well, you get the idea.

And I found them in the garbage.

I told you it was a great neighborhood.
The Quickest and Easiest Way To Age Wood For Crafts

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58 comments:

  1. Love how they turned out! They do look very vintage and expensive. Your husband is a keeper too.

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    1. Thanks so much!! A little bit of paint really is so powerful, isn't it? And I agree, he is a keeper.

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  2. Great find! I love "discovering" cool stuff like that on the curb.

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    1. Thanks Kristi! I love these…best find in a while. 😊

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  3. I have always loved crates and like what you did with yours. I need some. You are giving me so many good ideas. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks Betty! I have always loved crates, too. These just fell in my lap, but with a little paint and a stencil you can get the same look from ones the stores sell. Have fun!

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  4. What an amazing find! The look beautiful in your home. xxx Maria

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    1. Thanks Maria! I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I thought for sure the whole pile of them would be gone by the end of the day, but the only ones that were missing were the few I took. Can you believe it? I wish I could've sent a few to all my creative blogger friends.

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  5. The crates look great. So clever to use thinned paint instead of stain.

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    1. Thanks Lorri! I just can't stand the smell and clean up involved with stain....or the cost. The paint I use is easy to work with and cleans up with water for like .99 a bottle ~ .60 if I use my 40% off coupon!

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  6. They are absolutely perfectly aged now. I love how they turned out.

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    1. Thanks Gina! It took about five minutes to make them look old…so easy. Thanks for the visit!

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  7. They look fabulous!!! Even with my highly trained (wink wink) vintage eye, I would have to really take a second look to see if they were old or not. They do look great right where you have them. And yes, I do find great junk on the side of the road in my neighborhood!

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    1. I am glad they passed the expert test! 😉 My husband kept pointing out the particle board while we were loading in the car, but I knew that a little paint could camouflage it well enough. Looks like it worked! And thanks!!

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  8. Great technique Kim! For those of us who do not have an arsenal of paint supplies, this will definitely do the trick!This does not look like new at all but has aged like fine wine!

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    1. Thanks Mary! I am all about simple and easy. I am glad you like the look...and I love your poetic comment. ♡

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  9. SCORE!!!!!! Oh my gosh these are fabulous girl! What a great find.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris! That's exactly how I feel about them! I can't wait for this guy to make more wine. I've got my eyes peeled now...Hugs!!

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  10. Those crates are beautiful and I know you will used them a lot over the years. Your fall decor looks beautiful in those lovely crates.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa! I have always loved the look of crates and they were just sitting there for the taking. I had to grab a few.

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  11. beautiful! and so beautifully simple. the best part! xo

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    1. Thanks Tammy! Yes, I love their simple beauty, too. xoxo

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  12. These turned out great! And you're right, they are seasonless. So you never really have to store them away unless you're tired of looking at them.

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    1. I agree, Kathy, which is great for someone (like me!) who lives in a tiny house. Thanks! 😊

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  13. Isn't if great to find freebies that make us smile.

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  14. You really are a genius with this kind of stuff! I love free too, but I must not have the kind of neighborhood you do. Here there is rarely any curbside treasure!

    I love your creativity, and appreciate you sharing it with us!

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    1. Deanna, thank you, my sweet friend. Your comment just made me smile ear to ear! I'm so glad you enjoy what I share...words like that make it all worth it. ❤️

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  15. Great idea, Kim! I'm probably too lazy to go to the trouble. I could sit them out on the patio and they would probably age adequately for me, but it would take a few seasons!
    Brenda

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    1. In all honesty, Brenda, I gave one to my sister and she said, don't go through the trouble of painting mine. So I didn't. Hers is sitting on her front porch with a few pumpkins in it and it looks amazing just the same...and aging naturally. And thanks!!

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  16. Whoa, you sure did scored on this crates and I would of snatch them before you did but you got there sooner then me! You could use then throughout the seasons...care to share? LOL

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    1. Thanks Cathy...and that's so funny, I was just saying that I can't believe they didn't all get snatched up. I guess I'm the only crazy DIY lady in the hood. I wish I could've taken them all and sent them to my creative blogger friends. Maybe next time...

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  17. I would have been on those too...just like a fly on honey. I like your method of aging, and they're perfect. I didn't know they made these crates with particle board these days, but I guess it's cheap.

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    1. I didn't know either, Florence, but I guess it's cheaper and durable. A little paint covered it right up. Now you'd never know...shhh. 😉

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  18. We have found some really cool stuff on the side of the road. My favorite was an old oak dresser. It was actually in such great shape my husband asked before he took it. We still have it. Recently we found a nice 5 gallon crock. We were in our 30 ft motorhome on a trip but we didn't let that stop us from picking lol!

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    1. That's funny, Pam. I have asked sometimes too...I can't believe what people actually throw away. I am always in disbelief. The dresser and crock sound like great items. Lucky you!

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  19. Oh My! What a great find. Over the years my husband and I found a table, some lawn furniture and a bookcase! The bookcase is the best of our roadside finds.

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    1. I always get excited when I see big piles at the curb. It's better when I have the truck and my husband!! 🤣

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  20. Hi Kim, oh I love those crates you fixed up from the garbage. It's amazing what you can find in peoples garbage!! I even picked up some beautiful furniture that my neighbor was going to throw out in the trash!! I love the look you gave the crates with the brown paint. They will love great for the holidays.
    Enjoy the week.
    Julie

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    1. Furniture at the curb is the best, Julie! I agree. The best finds don't need any updating at all, but sometimes, a little paint is all it takes...

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  21. I love those crates, Kim! You did a great job 'aging' them. I can totally see holiday gifts stacked in them!!

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    1. Me too, Debbie...I am getting excited!

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  22. I was itching to see how you aged them; watered down paint is easier than stain in my book! Here in Maine, I recently scored a blueberry crate, naturally aged I think. I don't want to part with it but am not sure WHERE I am gonna put it! Still haven't turned 2 desk drawers into wall cupboards yet! I don't see roadside treasures often enough!

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    1. Naturally aged is the best way to go...truly authentic. Lucky, lucky lady!!

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  23. This is one of the CRATEst ideas ever! Oh come on...you know I couldn't resist that one! Lol! Seriously though, you did a fabulous job and they're not only pretty, but very useful too. A double win!

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    1. Oh Lisa, you are a clever one! Thanks so much my sweet friend. ❤️

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  24. Kim, you know I love these crates! I have curbside envy ;) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm--pinned!

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    1. Thanks for the pretty party, Cecilia!

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  25. Well, aren't you just the lucky one, and very clever! You would love my neighborhood. Once a month, everybody puts any and everything they want to discard, out by the curb to be picked up by the city....or picked up by anyone thinking outside the box! This goes on all over our town in every neighborhood....truly a "dumpster diver's dream!"

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    1. Oh...that sounds like a dream drive, Carol!! Sunday nights are big around here, especially in the spring and fall...clean up seasons. My favorites!

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  26. What a wonderful find and you certainly gave the crates such charm and character. You will get a lot of use from them. Don't you love curbside finds?

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    1. Thanks Debra...and yes! The curb is the best store.

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    1. Thanks Pamela! I'm very happy with my trash now! 😉

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  28. Kim, I guess I missed this one. What a great find and you did a fabulous job aging them. They really look pretty and classy in your home for fall and I know they will do the same for Christmas..Good job, my friend..Happy Sunday..xxoJudy

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    1. Thank you, Judy! I’m so excited to see the what I can do with them for the holidays.

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