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Create Vintage Style Crates With Napkins

April 26, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.

Create vintage style crates with napkins in minutes.

Just follow these simple steps, using stain and Mod Podge to makeover an unfinished crate.

This post is sponsored by Crates And Pallet

Two weeks ago, I received a few small unfinished wooden crates and spent an afternoon decorating them.

For a girl with a craft obsession, it was a dreamy day.

They came in a set of four, and while I could've given them all the same treatment, I thought it would be much more fun to accent them using different techniques.

I also didn't want to spend any money transforming them, so I decided to use only what I had in my craft cabinet.

All in all, it worked out well.

The first crate makeover was done with paint and a farm style transfer. Quick, easy and beautiful.

I briefly considered simply aging these crates with paint, but I was looking for more...

So I grabbed some delicate red and green floral paper napkins and decoupaged them to the front of two of the crates.

Since, my family room decorating plans are set and those are the featured colors, I thought they'd be cute stacked.

Or maybe separated and placed around the room for storage...a his and hers if you will.

Anyway, here's how I did it!

How To Decoupage Wood Crates

I started with a few simple supplies.

Unfinished Crates
Mod Podge or Clear Coat in Satin
Napkins- They also have this pattern in paper placemats 
This Green Stain
Gloves or Plastic Wrap
Plastic Cups

Step 1: Stain The Crates

I started by staining the unfinished crates, one at a time.

I used a brush to apply the stain in the same direction as the wood grain, making sure to get into every crack and cover every surface.

And since I wanted a rustic look and for the wood grain to show through a bit, I only gave the crates one coat of stain.

Then I set them aside to dry on plastic cups so the wet stain wouldn't stick and get marred or damaged in any way.

Step 2: Separate Napkin Layers

Decoupaging with napkins can be tricky business.

In all honesty, I have to say that decoupaging with rice paper is infinitely easier. 

As a matter of fact I used rice paper to makeover another crate.

It doesn't tear, it doesn't really wrinkle and it's literally made for the task. Of course, that doesn't stop me from buying napkins that catch my eye.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a pretty face.

Separating Napkin Layers for decoupage

You can use any kind of paper napkin for decoupage crafts. And you can add them to virtually anything.

I've even used them to makeover glass cutting boards.

However, napkins are usually two or three ply, which is great if you're actually going to wipe your face with them. Not so great when you're using them for decoupage.

You must separate the layers.

All of them, which could be tough to do since they are very thin.

I usually peel the apart one at a time, leaving the decorative top layer ready for glue.

Step 3: Attach The Napkins To The Wood

Adding Decoupage gel with a brush

Ok, so right off the bat I have to say that I don't use Mod Podge anymore for anything.

I use Dixie Belle Clear Coat instead. It doesn't smell and it works so much better.

But most people associate decoupage with Mod Podge and if that's what you like, have at it. 

Either way, I just brushed on a generous amount of clear coat so the napkin would stick. 

Step 4: Smooth Out The Napkin Wrinkles 

Using a glove for decoupage

Then I took the napkin and placed it on the crate over the clear coat.

I tried my best to center it and not wrinkle it. 

Of course, there were a few bubbled spots, so I used a gloved hand to smooth them out. 

You could also use a piece of plastic wrap or a zippy bag to smooth out the decoupage wrinkles. That tactic works equally as well.

One note...I did flip the second napkin so the patterns wouldn't be exactly the same. I wanted to add a bit of whimsy and interest and that did the trick. 

Step 5: Add Mod Podge On Top Of The Napkin

Decoupage Napkin To Crate with paint brush

The last step in this process is to coat the top of the napkin with more decoupage gel with a bit of the green stain mixed in.

That extra drop of color added to the weathered look of the crates.

I simply brushed it on, gently, over the napkin to seal it in place. 

Cottage Style Flower Crates

Then I coated the entire crate with the Clear Coat for good measure.

And because I like a bit of shine.

That's it, that's all it took to make two vintage styled custom crates that matched my decor.

Napkin Decoupage Cottage Style Crates

And ready for my new cottage style family room.


Now if that sofa would show up, I'd be in business. 😉

Which crafty crate makeover is your favorite so far?

Author: Kim @ Exquisitely Unremarkable

How To Decoupage Wood Crates

How to decoupage wood crates with napkins for a vintage style.


  • Unfinished Wood Crates
  • Mod Podge or Clear Coat in Satin
  • Green Stain
  • Napkins


  • Paint Brush
  • Gloves or Plastic Wrap
  • Plastic Cups


How To Decoupage Wooden Crates
  1. Stain The Crates
  2. Separate Napkin Layers
  3. Attach Napkins To Wood
  4. Smooth Out Napkin Wrinkles
  5. Add Sealer Mixed With Stain On Top Of Napkin
Created using Craft Card Maker

This post is sponsored by Crates And Pallet. You can read my full disclosure here
Kim Signature

Post a Comment | 38 Comments

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  1. I've never seen green stain and I like it! And mod podge - I used to use it a lot. Now you must have the new and improved version. So cool to use a napkin that way, and it turned out perfect. You are the queen of stencils, transfers and decopauge!

    1. Thanks so much, Mari!! I have to say I loved these napkins so much I had to find a place to use them and the crates were the perfect palette. So glad you like them!

  2. Love the green stain. They turned out very pretty.

    1. Thanks so much, Penny. That green stain is a favorite of mine for sure!

  3. Winner winner chicken rocked this!

    1. Why thank you! It was the perfect project for my geranium napkins!!

  4. I'm in love with these, and I need to find those napkins!!!
    Thank you for the links for the stain and the finish!

    1. My pleasure J, and thank you! I love this one...and if you want to decoupage and can't find the napkins let me know. I may have a couple to spare!

  5. Another great tutorial with all the information we need too, I appreciate that.

    1. You are the sweetest, Carla! I’m glad you enjoy the tutorials…it’s that teacher gene for sure!!

  6. Those will be perfect with your new decorating plans! Well done!

    1. Thanks Brenda! I like that green stain a lot.

  7. Those napkins are perfect against the green stain. Beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Ann! That green and red combo gets me every single time.

  8. I love the green crates with the flowers Kim. You did a great job decorating the crates and they will look great in your family room.

    1. Thank you so much, Julie. I have to say these are my favorites so far. These crates are so easy to work with, I could keep decorating them for days on end!!

  9. These are so pretty & so simple to do. I love it.

    1. Thanks Jenny!! It love the way the napkins look against the green stain.

  10. Hi Kim. That stain color is great and I love the pretty napkins you mod podged onto the crate. Some of the napkins out there are so pretty. The crate looks like the flowers are painted on. Very cute as always sweet friend. xoxo Kris

    1. Thank you so much, Kris! I saw these napkins at a cute home shop in a village nearby and I had to grab them. They were just too pretty to let go. When I saw that they had paper placemats in the same pattern, I was tempted to get them, too. Maybe...Hoping you're having a great week!! xxoo

  11. Kim what a great tutorial. You make every craft look so easy. What a great tip to add a bit of color to the sealer. It gives it such a nice finish. I love a little shine too! Brava my girl!

    1. Susan, you are just too sweet!! Thank you my friend. I had fun doing these and trust me, these crafts are easy. If I can do it...anyone can!! I hope you have a super week!!

  12. Very pretty! I didn't even know there was such a thing as green stain!

    1. Thanks Melanie! Yes! I love that green actually does come in a lot of colors. I think the green is my favorite though.

  13. I started using Mod Podge back in the 1970’s, Kim! That really ages me, doesn’t it?? My mom and I had such fun doing projects. I still like doing them! Your crates turned out super cute!

    1. So funny, Kitty! I remember using something to get small pieces of newspaper to cover old glass bottles in a craft class when I was small. Thinking back it must’ve been Mod Podge!! And thank you so much!!

  14. The crates came out great, Kim. Furniture deliveries are out of control! Hope your sofa comes soon. I am looking forward to seeing the crates in your new family room!

    1. They really are, Amy. We actually ordered a sectional for the basement that was supposed to be here in a few weeks, part of their "quick and ready to ship collection" but nope. Pushed back...and thanks!!

  15. I have not decoupaged in decades but your pretty green crates and those geranium napkins make me think about trying it again. Maybe that's why I've held onto some blue willow paper napkins. Maybe a project for my granddaughters to help me with? I know you must be anticipating your knew sofa so much! We waited 4 months for a sofa about 18 years ago and I was so impatient but now people are waiting a really long time for orders to arrive.

    1. Oh Dewena, it’s crazy. Apparently, there was a shortage of the chemical they use to make the foam. Now everything is backed up. Hopefully, it shows up before the holidays!! And keep me posted with those pretty blue napkins. I bet your granddaughters would have a ball making something with you.

  16. They turned out lovely, Kim. The pretty napkin does look like it's been printed on and faded over time. Just like the real thing.

    P.S. Hope your sofa arrives soon. I'm dying to see how the great big makeover turned out

    1. Thanks Michelle! This one was fun to play with...and I'm waiting for that sofa, too!!

  17. I can't get to the craft store fast enough to get some Mod Poge!

    1. Thanks so much, Christine! I had fun with this one.

  18. Kim,
    I LOVE this!! Love the green! I decoupaged napkins on all kinds of things about 20 years ago...I guess i will have to do so again because i forgot how nice they come out!! Thanks for the reminder!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. Thanks Debbie! Yes, what’s old is new again, isn’t that always the way? I used to do it all the time too, then I stepped away from it, but all the new rice papers and alternatives to Mod Podge, I’m back in the game! xo