How to Refurbish a Wooden Crate

Wooden crate
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  • 01 of 03

    How to Refurbish a Wooden Crate

    Refurbish an unfinished decorative or vintage crate to better fit your decorating style or home decor. Photo © Jami Delia

    Wooden crates can be used around your home to store books, DVDs or CDs, magazines or small everyday used items, such as a TV remote control or pens and pencils.

    Whether you've picked up a vintage wooden crate from an antique shop or thrift store or an unfinished decorative crate from a home decorating or craft store, refurbish the crate to fit your decorating style and your home's current decor.

    Think of how you want to refurbish your crate based on where you want to place it in your home....MORE Does it just need to be cleaned up, or do you also want to apply a new coat of paint?


    • Rag and/or brush
    • primer
    • paint
    • paint brush
    • painter's tape
    • newspaper
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  • 02 of 03

    Clean the Crate

    Remove any dust or cobwebs from the crate with a clean, dry rag and/or a hard bristled brush. Photo © Jami Delia

    Depending on whether your crate has been stored for a long period of time, it may be covered in dust and/or cobwebs. If your crate has any dust or cobwebs on it, remove the dust or cobwebs with a clean, dry rag or hard bristled brush.

    • If the wood on your crate is rough and has a lot of grooves in the wood, scrub the surface with your brush. This make take some effort. If your crate is unfinished, there may be an accumulation of dust, so feel free to scrub as hard as you can to remove it. If you...MORE notice any remaining dust in the wood, try using an air blower (if you have one) to get in all the crevices of the wood.
    • If you notice any other blemishes on your crate or it has a musty or mildew smell to it, spray a little bit of a water and vinegar solution and wipe off with a dry rag. After you wipe down the crate, let it dry completely before you begin to primer and paint.
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  • 03 of 03

    Prime and Paint the Crate

    Apply primer and paint to give your wooden crate a new and updated look to better fit your decorating style and match your home's decor. Photo © Jami Delia

    Before painting your crate, you must apply a primer. This will help your paint stick better to the wood and allow the paint to show more vibrantly.

    • If you plan on painting your crate a light or bright color, select a white primer.
    • If you plan on painting your crate a darker color, select a gray primer.

    You can use either spray paint or can paint; however, I suggest using can primer and paint and applying with a paint brush to get the best coverage.

    1. Prep a workspace in a well-ventilated area (e.g.,...MORE lay down newspaper or a drop cloth).
    2. Cover any decorative stickers or labels you do not want to paint over with newspaper and painter's tape.

      Tip: Do not place the painter's tape directly on top of the label or sticker. The tape may damage the label or sticker when it is removed. Instead, cut out a piece of newspaper or paper in the shape of the label or sticker and apply the tape over the paper and then to the wood.
    3. Apply multiple thin coats of the primer. Let each coat of primer dry for a half hour or so.
    4. Apply multiple thin coats of paint. Let each coat of paint dry before applying another coat. It may take a few coats, depending on the color of the paint, before it displays to your liking. If your crate is unfinished, this may take even more coats.
    5. Let the crate dry overnight or longer. Make sure the paint is completely dry (it is not sticky or wet) before using.