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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!
How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

Materials:

(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.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: 

Instructions:

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.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want to spare your hands, use a handsaw to remove the slats. Set them aside for use later.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Any nails that are too rusty to remove can be hammered into the wood.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut down the salvaged slats to 5″ widths (or your own bottle measurement). Using a miter box will help keep your cuts square.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Squeeze wood glue onto the bottom of the produce crate front and back pieces.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Repeat for the opposite side by stapling the slat to the bottom. Continue working toward the center of your crate.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach one slat to the sides of the crate with wood glue and staples.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

When the crate is dry, load it up with vintage bottles filled with fresh flowers.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Place it on your table and invite a friend for lunch.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

The conversation will surely turn to your Rustic Produce Crate Centerpiece you made yourself.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Which you can proudly say you made…by hand…without any power tools.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

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Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece using no power tools whatsoever! | Pretty Handy Girl #DIY #rusticcrate #DIYcrate

7 replies
  1. Colleen Taylor
    Colleen Taylor says:

    I guess you could say I’ve had more guts than sense at times but I have never hesitated (not much anyway, ok a little) about starting or trying something new. Having said all that, I do have a new business model that I’ve been working on but quite some time. I can’t share what it is just yet but I must say, it’s pretty darn cool. I just do it, then figure out how to later, in most cases. It always seems to come out ok. Don’t mean to be so mysterious but just can reveal quite yet.
    Love the awesome looking crate & tutorial.

    Reply
  2. Leen
    Leen says:

    Great tutorial (as usual!) I have seen so many damaged crates and didn’t think to cut off the bad parts and remake the create.
    Love, love, love Duluth products and they have a Made in USA section! Would love to see that expanded.
    Just ordered the gloves, can’t wait to get them and get to work!

    Reply
  3. Vickie
    Vickie says:

    I love the crate you made without power tools! I will be checking with my grocery store for some wooden crates I can salvage!

    Reply

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