Wood Crate Toy Box Project


wooden crate toy boxMany a moon ago I acquired these wooden boxes.

They came from my (then) work place and were used to ship and store power conductors.

When I originally took possession of them, I had begged for them from our store man so I could use them as planter boxes. I thought I would line them and then grow vege in them right outside our back door.

And I did exactly that and it worked out perfectly. They grew lots of fresh mesculan mix leaves and then the boxes were retired when Winter came.

After that they got used for all sorts of other purposes. Holding bagged plants for sale, storing gardening equipment in, and then eventually just left empty and sitting around the back of the house. I planned to put them apart to make up the bases on some seed trays I had been building but when I got pregnant with Lil Miss P, that project went on the back burner as I didn’t like breathing in the wood dust, or exposing her to the noise of the saws (yes, even before she was born).

Then one day, as I was just wandering the garden, I spotted the boxes and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.

This happens a lot for me, which I why I tend to hang onto certain things as they come into my life. It can be months or years later before I figure out how I am going to use an item but I always know when I first get my hands on something if it’s worth leaving to marinate as a possibility.

I knew in that moment that those two boxes needed to be revived, revamped and repurposed as rustic toy boxes.

I’ve seen wooden crates turned into toy boxes a lot on the likes of Pinterest, but buying the old wooden crates can be expensive now that they are considered antiques. Especially where I live, where there are fewer than in many other areas, they fetch a small fortune and I just can’t bring myself to pay the steep price people are asking for them.

But these two would do the trick just as well with a bit of time and attention.

And so the rustic toy box project began.

The first thing I did was to wash them all down and then leave them in the sun to dry.

Next was a thorough sanding of all the sides while also pulling out any rogue staples. I decided not to sand the boxes fully, but just take off the roughness of the sawed wood as well as sand away any really nasty imperfections. I wanted the boxes to still look rustic, not perfectly groomed.

Once they were sanded the next step was to add the casters so the boxes could be easily moved around the room, providing quick access for Lil Miss P to all her toys, and to add my own stamping, reminiscent of the old shipping crates. But because these boxes had a specific new purpose I decided to stamp them with a clear label.

To stamp them I printed the word ‘toys’ in the Stencil font on my mac, cut the letters out and then just pressed the stamp pad onto the stencil.

wooden crate toy boxwood crate toy boxFinally, I added rope handles for carrying the boxes back to their resting spot, once all the playing was done. The rope handles also made the boxes look more like proper vintage boxes and were so easy to add with a bit of drilling and half a metre of rope.

And just like that I had my first rustic wood crate toy box.

wooden crate toy box

wood crate toy boxI’m still deciding whether or not to seal the box with a light spray of varnish, just to seal in the stamp work and make it a bit easier to clean with sticky hands, but the toys have already been bundled into their new box and it’s new purpose is being realised so it can wait.

The best part about this project is that it only cost me approximately $11 New Zealand dollars to make. I definitely couldn’t buy a proper vintage crate for that.

Also, our house really lends itself to this rustic look and the toy box looks great wheeled up next to the cane wood basket in our lounge. It’s the sort of thing I would have bought ready made if I’d seen it for sale.

So no I’m going to finish the second box and that will go in Lil Miss P’s room for the rest of her toys as she gets older.

Two awesome rustic wood crate toy boxes for a measly $20 odd dollars! That’s repurposing success in my book. 

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