How to Build a Wooden Crate

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Things You'll Need

  • 6 boards, 4 inch x 12 inch
  • 6 boards, 4 inch x 20 inch
  • 1 piece 1/4-inch thick plywood, 12 inch x 20 inch
  • 2 boards, 2 inch x 2 inch, measuring 11 3/4 inches long
  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Nails
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Paint or stain (optional)
  • Circular saw (if not using precut boards)
  • Measuring tape

Whether vintage, shabby chic or modern, crates are stylish and useful home décor items. They are also fairly simple to build at home using boards and nails. Since many home-building stores will custom cut boards purchased at the store, this is a wood project that can be done by those without workshop space. Basic crates can also be adjusted for size, so they can be designed to fit space and storage needs in any room.

Nail the 2 inch x 2 inch boards to the corners of the plywood, lining up the edges to form the corner supports for the crate.

Line a 20-inch board up with the bottom of the plywood and the corners of the crate. Secure to the outside of the corner posts with a nail at the center a 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of the board. Place the middle board above the bottom board and nail in place. Place the top board even with the top of the corner supports and nail in place. Repeat with the opposite side of the crate.

Place a 12-inch board even with the bottom of the plywood along one of the short sides of the crate. The corners of the crate can be matched evenly or placed to create a groove, depending on the desired look. Nail the board in place with three nails, taking care not to hit the nails from the front or back of the crate. Secure the two remaining boards to the end of the crate, making sure the top board is even with the top of the corner supports. Repeat with the final side of the crate.

Sand the completed crate and paint or stain, if desired.


  • Crates can be made from either new or recycled wood.

    Because individual boards and plywood can vary slightly, it may be necessary to sand the corner supports of the crate to match the height of the boards.

    Dress up the crate with hardware such as L-brackets or brass screws for a more formal look.

    Adding decorative drawer pulls can make the crate easier to access.

    Mount casters on the bottom of the crate for mobility.