DIY Coffee Table. You can buy these crates at any craft store.


DIY Coffee Table. You can buy these crates at any craft store.

Regardless of whether your an artist or creative, I refuse to pay 500+ for a new coffee table. My first thought was making a pallet coffee table. Pallets are free and with a few scrapes of wood you could throw it together fairly easy. BUT, everyone’s doing that now, so I had to find something unique. ;) I started sketching out some drawings for building my own table and then the idea came to me and I knew it was something original. I saw online someone had taken an old wine crate and put casters on the bottom. I believe they were using it for some kind of storage container but it got me thinking…..

~ 4 Wooden Crates – I already had one on hand from Michael’s so I bought 3 more. Using their 40% coupon for each crate they came to just over $7 each. (I’d love to make a table with actual vintage wine crates) Crates are 12.5″W x 18″L x 9.5″H.
~ Two 1x2x6 – I used Pine but it shouldn’t matter
~ 4 Casters – I already had these on hand but this is one thing I would change. I thought about trying to rust these a little but I actually wanted the functionality to be able to un/lock the wheels and I was afraid intentionally rusting them would cause some problems. So next time I’ll look for casters that are all black or have a rustic look.

Optional Materials:
~ Images (not necessary if you use a real wine crate) – I found one on The Graphics Fairy and a few others online
~ Vinegar, steel wool and brewed tea
~ A variety of screws, nails, L brackets, and bolts
~ Satin Polyurethane

Final Dimensions: 27″W x 27″D x 17″H
Total Cost: $7 (x4 crates), $8 worth of wood for the frame and $7 per caster = $64
*price does not include screws, nails, stain or finish.

I’m not intentionally being vague but unless you go out to buy these exact crates from Michael’s then your measurements are going to be completely different than mine.

I figured out the arrangement of the crates. Don’t worry about the hole in the middle, I’ll get to it.

My first step should have been to stain all the crates before I started screwing them together. Would have made that job a whole lot easier. However, I started by building a frame. This would not only be a solid foundation but it would give me a piece of wood much thicker than the crates to screw in the casters. You’ll notice I arrange the crates how I wanted them. I based my measurements for the frame on this. For extra support, where the sides of the frame connect I drilled holes in the sides of each board, filled the holes with wood glue, placed dowels into each hole and fit the pieces together. For the middle boards (that create the + ), I secured them to the frame using L brackets.

I first nailed the crates to hold them in place temporarily. I then went back with screws and removed the nails when I was done. Now, thanks to Bob Ross, “There are no mistake, only happy accidents.” That hole in the middle… what to do with it? Make it one of the features! At first I thought about making it a planter box but remembered all the times we’ve throw magazines, books, PS3 remotes (Honey!) onto the table and figured a plant wouldn’t survive. So I thought I’d tie it together with my River Rock Side Table. Unfortunately I’m out of rocks so I had to improvise. I flipped the crates upside down, used a few scrap pieces of wood and L brackets. I only wanted the hole to be about 4-5 inches but you could make it taller depending on where you place the brackets. Just remember it’s upside down, so the closer your L brackets are to you, the deep hole you’ll have.

Next I transferred over my wine images. Again, I need to change the order of this step. Once I stained the wood the images were almost completely gone. But at the time they looked great!

Stain time! 24 hours before staining I put about 2 cups of vinegar in a container along with a steel pad (SOS pad) and let it sit overnight. Right before I planned to stain I heated about 4 cups of water until it was almost boiling and then steeped 2 bags of tea. (I’m guessing the flavor of tea doesn’t matter considering a used Lipton’s Mango Team. Definitely made the basement smell good.) After the tea has steeped for a bit use a paint brush and coat your wood with the tea. The 4 cups I used was just enough to cover all the wood and a little more.

Grab another brush and use your vinegar/wool solution. It should be a nice, murky brown by now. Start painting the wood. Please don’t freak! The wood will look almost black. I had a slight panic attack and tried to quickly wipe away the stain (which, by the way, doesn’t help).

Feeling defeated I continued on, counting the amount of money and time I’d already invested only to have to start over. Don’t stress too much if it’s darker than you think you’ll like. Over the next 24 hours the stain really soaked into the wood and the color lightened.

Next, sanding…. *insert major groan*! I don’t know why but this is the worst part for me. Maybe it’s because every year since turning 25 my allergies get worse and worse. But in all honesty I hated it before that. I think my hatred has only increased since then because now I know I HAVE to wear a mask which I always considered optional before.

I threw the casters on the bottom and was starting to get pretty pumped about the table. Just a few more steps.

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