How to Make Crate Furniture
Originally, 20th-century crate furniture was crafted by Louise Brigham for utility purposes and later, during the De Stijl movement, by Gerrit Rietveld, known for his modernistic crate furniture made to be assembled at home. In the early 1980s, Cargo furniture began to appear in many young family homes. Reminiscent of American Arts and Crafts Mission style, Cargo crate furniture was known for its casual, sturdy and kid-friendly style. Today's crate furniture has an artisan flair, reflecting the Mission style, incorporating utility into its designs to create a new and finished or vintage reclaimed wood look by recycling crates.
Gather three apple crates and a pallet. Separate the top and bottom halves of the pallet. Disassemble one half of the pallet without splitting the boards. Select four long boards and sand well as this will be the seat for the bench.
Lay these boards together along their length on a flat surface. Measure the width of the seat. Cut three boards to fit this width for the center and each end of the seat. Measure 2 inches from the ends of the long boards and lay the short boards across. Pre-drill through the short board into each of the four long boards to prevent splitting. Drive screws into the boards to secure.
Arrange the crates to fit the length of the bench seat. Secure the seat to the base of the crates. Finish as desired.
Collect 12 to 15 sturdy apple crates of the same size. Stack the crates four high and four wide or six high and two wide. Select the desired arrangement. Measure and record the dimensions.
Mark on the display wall the placement for the bottom row of crates. Draw a level line across the wall. Repeat this step for the remaining three or five rows of crates. Locate and mark wall studs.
Pre-drill pilot holes into the base of the crates to prevent the boards from splitting when they are secured to the wall. Begin with the top row aligning the first crate on the mark. Determine if a wall anchor will be necessary by creating a pilot hole in the wall. Set a wall anchor where needed and drive screws through the inside of the crate into the wall anchor. Drive screws directly into wall studs where possible. Repeat this process for the remaining crates.
Secure L-brackets to the wall and crates beneath the bottom row for additional support.
Find seven to nine packing crates of various medium to large sizes. Arrange and stack the crates to form a desk and storage shelves.
Secure the crates together for stability or leave freestanding to easily change the arrangement.
Add lighting and build additional shelves inside the crates. Cut out round holes for electrical cords in the back of the crate arrangement.
- Apartment Therapy: Packing Crate Bookshelves
- Apartment Therapy: Reusing Milk Crates
- Crate craft: easy-to-make furniture and accessories you can build quickly and inexpensively; Lura LaBarge; 1976
- How to Construct Rietveld Furniture; Peter Drijver and Johannes Niemeijer; 2002
- Caseworks Crating and Shipping: Crate Furniture
Kimberly Contreras has been a freelance writer since 2005. She has written for several websites on women's issues relating to self sufficiency, single parenthood, small business and marketing. Contreras attended the University of Maryland where she studied English and journalism.
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