Thursday, October 28, 2010

oh crate!

The holidays are getting closer, and the weather is finally cooling off! That means CRAFT FAIRS. We are always looking for ways to bring stable height to our display. Building a wall is not a feasable plan when our shows are usually outdoors. Wind is often a factor. I decided to try building a few things for the tables to give height. My criteria were: cheap, stable, not too heavy, and easy to transport. Sounds doable right?
My first attempt was to build a primitive step. (if you look at the pictures at the end, it is the blue object the crate sits upon).
I did not square anything up, and kind of threw it together. The end result is a leaning step with uneven boards. I am going to use it on my porch to house flower pots (b/c no one will see it that way). It was a total FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

My next attempt, I decided to search the blogs for inspiration. I found some wooden crates on Ana White's blog. I based this loosly on the crates she built.
We built a privacy fence and had to cut about 2 feet off the top of the boards. We kept all the chopped off pieces, thinking I could use them for something. They were perfect for this! I grabbed a couple furring strips at Home Depot and got to work.

I cut the fence scraps to 18 inches. I needed 2 of those. I cut the furring strips to 12 inches for the top and bottom. I used screws to attach the wood b/c we are going to be using these for heavy products.(Plus I really didnt want to hammer)
On the back, I used the furring strips and 3 sections of 1x3 also cut to 18 inches.
Once the crate was assembled it kind of looked like a crate (which is good because the step kind of looked like a bunch of boards haphazardly nailed together).
I cut our company name in vinyl and applied it to the side.
Painted over it then removed the vinyl stencil.
My next step is going to be sanding. The image is too dark for what I had in mind.
I love my little sander. Makes things go so quickly.
I sanded both sides. I am feeling pretty good about now.
Looks old and worn just how I wanted it. The wood was a little too bright and new looking. I decided to do something about that.........
BIG MISTAKE> Instead of just going straight for my antiquing glaze, I decided to try an old stain i had on hand.....dumb, dumb, dumb. I knew I had 3 different woods and they would take the stain differently. I did not, however, count on what would happen next.
Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you say "hurry and get that off....."? Nope, because it was TOO late. The fence panel sucked the stain like a sponge. IT WOULD NOT WIPE OFF. The only thing getting this off was stripper or sandpaper. Argh......
So what did I do? I flipped it over and finished the other side. I made a thin wash with 2 parts water to 1 part antiquing glaze (I use the Valspar glaze). This is more of the effect I was going for.
(see the funky little blue step) Now the sad part is that the backside is still a hideous purple stain. The only think I am going to be able to do to save this to use on our display is either replace that piece of wood (not happening) or paint the crate (happening). So, tomorrow, I will be painting this black (or maybe blue?). I wish I had left that dang stain alone!!!!! I thought about pretending I hadn't done that, but I think part of the fun in sharing on the blog is sharing what went terribly wrong as well.
I really do like how the crate turned out. I would estimate it cost me a buck to make (all I had to buy was the furring strips). It is solid and will make a good riser on the booth. I have tons of wood left so I plan to make quite a few more of them. I am thinking on the next ones, I'll just leave the stain alone!
This was my other success of the day. I have a close full of "stacker " wood. Left over from the stacker craze of 2007. I hate letting something sit unused, so I took 4 of the small stacker pieces and then cut a scrap of 2x6 to match their height when stacked.
This would have looked great in my last kitchen! I'm still pretty happy with it, especially for a quick little craft that cost nothing out of pocket.

So does anyone else want to own up to making a big mistake on an project? I think I will be able to paint it and salvage my crate, but man did I learn to TEST the stain on a scrap piece first.


  1. Even though it got messed up in the beginning... end result is beautiful!

  2. I laughed, I know what you mean about trying to pretend it did not happen! What a great person to share your mistakes, I's easier to pretend that everything is Easy Peazy......I am over that saying LOL


  3. You did a great job! New Bulldog Follower. Linking thru Frugal and Fabulous Friday Party.
    Just sharing some link love..

  4. Love your crate mistakes & all. You've given me the inspiration to try & make one of these since they're so darn expensive over here.

  5. I am a new follower from FFF!!!

    Have a great weekend!!


  6. OOOOOH, I have so been there. I just hate that feeling when you make that ONE wrong move that ruins what you have in mind. Sometimes that holds me back, even and I try not to let it. How will we learn if we don't forge ahead and who knows, sometimes the mistakes turn into very HAPPY accidents as well! Now as far as your crate... Have you thought about just painting over the stained side and then stenciling your name in a lighter color and then distressing that combination just a little to see how it looks? I don't think the two sides necessarily have to be the same since you can't see them at the same time. The "good" part looks so good I hate to see you paint over it. Whatever you decide - good luck!

  7. I love how it turned out in the end. I've been there so many times before, many, many, "Oh, S!!!" moments.
    Thanks for sharing;-)

  8. Hi there! I am your newest follower from the weekend blog hop! I love finding new blogs and your is lovely:) You can find me at

    Take a peek at my giveaways if you stop by. Everything is handmade and GORGEOUS!