Google+ Nine Red: DIY Antique Crate End Tables

Friday, June 28, 2013

DIY Antique Crate End Tables

In the spirit of the front deck projects, I'm going to show you a quickie today, to take those versatile (and cheap!) crates from any craft store, and make them look like they've been handed down from your great great whoever, who actually built them.  No one needs to know they were brand new yesterday.  Yep - we can age these a good 50-100 years in one day.
Ok maybe not 100 years, that would probably be falling apart by now, but I had to say it for effect peole.  Remember when I shared All Things Thrifty's Colorful Antique Crates? Yea, that totally inspired me...  Once we had our furniture for the Front Deck Redo, I was stuck in the dilemma of needing some smallish end tables.  The crates, turned on their sides, would be perfect. But they were too... new...
Forgive me, this is a mid project shot! (Go here to see the finished deck tour) That set of furniture came with some less-than-cute cushions (no offense if you like 'em! To each their own..) and see what I mean about the crates? Too new! Too clean! I was getting kind of obsessive, when I thought - Oh - I'll do that steel wool aging trick from the Floor Mirror Project a while ago. ah-ha!

So let's do that today. Go buy some crates, these were $9 each at our Beverly's, which - sadly - were reduced to $6 the very. next. week.   Oh well, whatevs - $9 is still way cheaper than if I were to make them.  And cheaper than patio tables, what is UP with outdoor furniture prices?!  Hey - while you're out shopping, get some of this stuff:
  • Crates - if you're store doesn't carry them I found some on Amazon, click here.
  • Tea or Coffee.
  • Steel Wool
  • Vinegar
  • Mason Jar
  • Paint brushes
  • Spray Bottle if you're too lazy to brush, like I was.
  • Small thing of a paint color you like, or leftovers that I'm sure you have lying around. 

Be sure to protect your work surface, I used this gorgeous
Line 'em up! Now the aging process that I'll walk you through right quick, consists of this:
  1. Applying an acidic base
  2. Fermenting Steel wool and vinegar
  3. Waiting 24 hours.
  4. Applying the fermented steel wool and vinegar. 
Weird I know, but it works like a dream.  So brew up some really strong tea.  Like 3 bags to one mug of BLACK tea.  I didn't feel like doing that and decided to use coffee that was already sitting in the pot. Just go with the flow...

I normally brush this concoction on, but with all these grooves and nooks I was not excited for this step, so I popped the coffee in a spray bottle.

Always have empty spray bottles around.  Eh, it's acidic, should work.....right?
When you spray or brush your coffee or tea on, it won't look like anything is happening. That's normal, this step is not very fascinating. Just make sure to be generous and get every spot wet with tea or coffee.

Meanwhile, drop a half of a steel wool piece into a jar, and fill with white vinegar until it submerges it. Cover it, it's stinky.

Now, you're done. Wait 24 hours.  Yes, 24. Don't cheat here. I would if I could, you know that! Go do something fun.


Feeling pretty proud of my spray bottle shortcut, I put the steel wool and vinegar mix in the spray bottle. NOTE: You can dump the steel wool part, that's all done. Just need that gross grey vinegar.
Within seconds of applying the vinegar you'll see a magical and interesting transformation.  Just spray it everywhere.  That's it, you're done!
 Within a couple hours I had this:
Hooray! 50 years added.  Just let those dry.  Now, here's where I decided they needed a little color.. I put them next to the dark brown furniture and they pretty much disappeared.  Yea.. I didn't need them to blend in THAT much! So I whipped out some leftover paint. This color is Cozumel by Behr.
This one is extremely easy.  Took five minutes.  Take your crate, wet or dry, doesn't matter:
Whip up some paint and water. I did about 2/3 paint to 1/3 water. It wasn't exact. At all.  Then just dabble a little here and there and rub it in.
Imperfection is key here, and it's all a matter of personal choice.  If you want it really bright and bold, cover the whole thing.  Here's my stopping point:
 Did I seal this? No. I could have, and so could you, but I figured - if I was going for the aged look, we might as well let these get old-ER the real way, right?  Here they are in their new home:

So yea - that's a pretty simple project! And while it does take at least a day, the actual time spent on it is way less than an hour, total.  This is one of those projects that can be going on in the background, with spectacular results.  I love those!

Now grab a drink, set it on your new table, and dream up a wild background story about how these crossed the plains with your ancestors or something.. I dunno.   Just kidding, don't lie.  You're awesome and you did these yourself - spread the word!

What projects do you have lined up for this weekend? It's supposed to be pretty hot here in Ben Lomond, so I see either a beach day, a river day, or a lot of fans & cold beer. Either way, I'm glad it's FRIDAY.....

Take care & Happy Summer,


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  1. Amazing again! Love the color you chose for the crates!! Love, Mom :)

  2. Very useful information here. Thanks for sharing the knowledge will be of great help.Buy single or double mattress

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. You really did a great job by posting about the nice information on DIY Antique Crate End Tables.Thanks

  5. crates from any craft store, and make them look like they've been ...

  6. Love these! Did you sand the crates first? I just purchased some and they are bit rough.

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