It occurred to me the other day that many woodworking projects may deter people simply because they don’t have power tools or they don’t know how to use them yet. For that reason, I created this tutorial to help you Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece using no power tools!
Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece – No Power Tools!
Many people are turned off by DIY projects because they fear using a power tool. Although I can tell you, I know you can learn how to use power tools safely, let’s go ahead and skip them today so you can get your hands busy creating a beautiful crate. This little vintage produce crate can be used anywhere in your house on display. Use it as a centerpiece, or in the office to hold files or utensils, or fill it with flowers or small items to give as a gift.
Regardless of how you use this little vintage crate, you’re going to love making it.
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
- Produce crate (or any thin wood slats)
- Miter Box
- Bar Clamp
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Safety Glasses
- Titebond Wood Glue
- Staple Gun
- 1/2-Inch Staples
I happen to stumble across this vintage produce crate and vintage bottles that a neighbor was giving away. If you don’t have a neighbor who periodically gives away vintage produce crates, you can ask your local grocery store for produce crates you can salvage. Or you can purchase a produce crate on Amazon. Or look for thin slats at the hardware store to use for this crate. (Then you can learn how to fake the Aged Wood Look yourself.)
The crate I had was very rustic. So rustic, that I was able to pull the bottom slats off the crate with my bare hands. (In hindsight, I should have been wearing my gloves to avoid splinters.)
If you want to spare your hands, use a handsaw to remove the slats. Set them aside for use later.
After removing the slats, pry up the nails with a prybar. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands. Stubborn nails can usually be wiggled out with the needle-nosed pliers.
Any nails that are too rusty to remove can be hammered into the wood.
Align the front and back of the produce crate with the bottles or vases you will display in your crate. Or use 5″ as a general measurement from the outside front to outside back. Measure the distance to cut your sides, or just lay one of the slats next to the front and back and mark where to cut it with a pencil.
Cut down the salvaged slats to 5″ widths (or your own bottle measurement). Using a miter box will help keep your cuts square.
Squeeze wood glue onto the bottom of the produce crate front and back pieces.
Set one of the 5″ slats into the glue and staple the slat into the crate front and back. Three staples per side should hold the slat while the glue dries. If the slat doesn’t lie flush with the crate, you might need to clamp the slat while the glue dries.
Repeat for the opposite side by stapling the slat to the bottom. Continue working toward the center of your crate.
Attach one slat to the sides of the crate with wood glue and staples.
You’ll notice I left spaces between the slats for that vintage produce crate look. If you want, you can butt the slats tight up against one another. Clamp your crate as the wood glue dries.
If you have a true vintage produce crate, you might need to secure what is left of the label. Gently wipe the crate and label with a damp rag.
Apply a coating of Mod Podge to the underside of any parts of the label that are peeling up. Then apply a second coat of mod podge over the entire label to seal it to the crate.
When the crate is dry, load it up with vintage bottles filled with fresh flowers.
Place it on your table and invite a friend for lunch.
The conversation will surely turn to your Rustic Produce Crate Centerpiece you made yourself.
Which you can proudly say you made…by hand…without any power tools.
Want to know where I got my shirt? The Duluth Trading Company Crosscut Performance Flannel Shirt is super comfortable. It’s like wearing your PJs all day. The flexible gussets in the back give you more freedom of movement while working. FYI, the crosscut flannel shirt is on clearance right now. If you don’t see the color you want, check back in early fall to snag your favorites (but don’t wait, they go fast.)
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