Easy Crate Shelves

October 23, 2014Allison Murray
Easily build shelves out of crates!

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my guest room lately. My dad is busting his back to make my home nice enough to get a good price at market. My mom has been keeping super busy trying to clean up around the frenzy that is us tiling and painting and generally being messy.

And since I’m only one and they are two, and they’re working really hard around here, they are sleeping in my master bedroom while I take up the guest quarters. And it’s not so bad in there. While I’m going to have the house on the market I’ve got a fab bed that my dad and I made that my nephew as offered to let me hang onto for a bit PLUS gives me a place to sleep while the ‘rents are keeping busy here in Oklahoma for me.

It’s a decent sized room and it gets great light but right now it’s not very well accessorized. And when you’re staging a home for sale, accessorizing is sort of a big deal. While trying to save some big bucks we’re going the route of DIY for a lot of this stuff. Now I don’t want it to look obviously homemade or whatever so I’m being kind of picky on the type of projects we’re taking on. Because nobody wants to think they’re looking at a craft fair rather than a home for sale, right?

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But these crate shelves turned out fab and painted a pretty purple they really complement the room. I’m super stoked and really excited because we knocked these suckers out in a few hours easy!

For this project you will need:

  • wood crates (get them at Walmart for around $8 apiece!)
  • 1×2 boards
  • 1/4 inch pine plywood
  • 1 inch angle brackets
  • scrap plywood to build bottom shelf (optional)

First decide the height you’ll want your shelves to be. I decided to go with 3 crates high, stacked on the handle side so it would be tall and skinny. You can also stack them on the long side for wider shelves, but since this was going in a small space, narrow was key. Now I also had a basket that I really, really wanted in the bottom shelf to hold a variety of knickknacks that don’t necessarily need to be seen.

Since it stuck out all weird from my crates, my dad dug out in the scrap wood pile and pieced together enough to build a bottom shelf. I’ll quickly show you how to do this, though it’s not necessary for an awesome looking shelf!

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

My basket stuck out about 2 inches. Since it would look weird to have a box that was bigger on the bottom, my dad tapered the top with an angle. Draw out the shape you want your sides to be and cut 2 out  accordingly.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

And a quick tip. If you measure your wood where you need a straight cut…

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

…then add the difference between your saw’s edge and its blade (to where the blade would run down the length of your first mark, or where you need to cut your wood). Place a clamp and cut edge guide along the far line.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Use your saw to follow along the clamp…

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

…and experience perfectly straight cuts every time! See the pride you get from an awesome cut? Good job! :)

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Cut square or rectangular pieces of thicker plywood (this is 1/2 inch) and attach your sides to the top and bottom pieces.

These are drywall screws and they are being used because they are cheap and work just as well for a project like this. You can buy a pound for around $7 and they come in handy for so many projects!

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Finish with the other side. Make sure the finished bottom is nice and level before continuing.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Next you’ll need to cut shelves and supports. Cut your support pieces out of 1×2 boards and your shelves out of thin plywood. You’ll need to measure the interior of your crate to determine the size you’ll need.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Screw your shelf onto your 1/2 boards…

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

And place inside where you want the shelf to be.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Through the sides, screw the shelves into place, running the screws through your 1×2 board supports on each side, and both front and back.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Make as man as you need and get ready to stack them! Placing each piece on top of the other, you can use 1 inch angle brackets to secure the the crates together from the underside of the inside top of the one below to the bottom of the next above.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

Hit with some pretty paint, these shelves are not only functional, but also pretty.

Easily build shelves out of crates! These crate shelves are functional and super pretty!

(say hi to Gracie!)To be honest, I think I’d leave a crate or two without shelves ad it’s kind of a small space and you can’t fit very tall things (like books standing). But for a quick bit of functional decor, I’m pretty happy with these shelves.

All in all, the total cost for this project was 0 dollars and 0 cents! The wood used for the bottom piece was all scrap, the paint some I’ve had for ages and the crates came out of my office since it’s been all packed up! Functional, pretty and free – gotta love it!

Written by Allison Murray - Visit Website

Comments (4)

  • Valarie

    November 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Nice idea. A little hard to understand some of the text (I’m totally woodwork illiterate) I would love to know in more detail how you made the shelves. Do they slide in? Also did you secure the sides so that the crates wouldn’t tumble over? I may have missed that part. Any who great idea!

    1. Allison Murray

      November 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      To be honest sometimes I don’t know quite what I am talking about! Yes you slide the shelves in and then affix them with nails through the sides. You can use angle brackets to connect one crate to another, or simply screw from underneath the bottom to the one above if you use the appropriate length screws (so they don’t poke through!)

  • Vanessa

    August 6, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    Which did you use? The brackets or the screws? Can you take a picture. You have a really good tutorial up until connecting them ;)

    1. Allison Murray

      August 6, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      We actually went with angled mending plates from the hardware store. Place the bracket so that it is pointing left (or right) and downward and attach the flat part to the crate above and then the hanging down part to the crate below. Worked like a dream! :)

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