D.I.Y. - Crate Coffee Table

Before I jump into this fun D.I.Y., I'd like to ask you to say a prayer for my daddy's surgery today.  Say a prayer for steady hands, the best possible outcome, and a great start to the healing process.  And if you are able to say one more, please say one for my mom.  A peaceful heart, steady energy, and comfort is what she needs.  Thanks in advance for the support!

Now, on to this fun little D.I.Y....

Don’t be intimidated by this table! It’s a much easier project than you might think, and the end result is a beautiful coffee table.  We also now think we are almost as good as the Amish, which means more projects in our future!

Here’s what you’ll need:

- 4 Crates (Michales, and Lowes sell these)
- 3 1x2x8 pieces of pine wood
- 1 Box (50 will plenty) of 3/4 in Screws
- 10 or Small Box of 1 1/2 in Screws
- 10 Dowels
- 4 Furniture Feet
- 4 L-Brackets
- Wood Stain
- Wood Glue
- Stain Cloths or Sponges
- Drop Cloth

Tools Used:
- Drill with Drill & Driver Bits
- Hammer
Circular Saw (Or Hand Hack-Saw)
- Tape Measure
- Sand Paper

OK, here are step-by-step instructions on how to pull off this project; if you have any questions while you’re working on it don’t hesitate to message me.

Step 1: Sanding. 
Sand crates as well as you can. They don’t have to be perfect, but the more time you spend on this step the less likely you are to make enemies because of an errant splinter.  After you are done standing, wipe creates off with a damp cloth.

Step 2: Staining. 
Feel free to choose your color, Lowes has a very good selection. Also, you can either apply the stain with a sponge or with a brush; we chose the sponge ultimately because we felt it put a better coat on the wood. Make sure to take your time on this step to make sure you get a good coat on the wood, but also make sure there are no drips. Be advised, you will want to stain one side at a time and only flip them over once the stain has completely dried.  Once you stain the creates to your liking, coat them in polyurethane for protection. 

Step 3: Building the Base
This step was probably the trickiest of the entire project. The goal here is to build a base for the crates to mount to, while at the same time building it small enough that it doesn't stick out of the sides. The best trick for this step is to remember that the coffee table will be a perfect square (if you build it right!), so take the time to place the crates together and measure the distance across. Our crates put together made a 27½” square, so we built our base to be a 26” square. Start by cutting 2 base sides out of the 1x2’s, cut them exactly the length you want the base to be. Then you’ll need to cut the cross members, also out of the 1x2’s. We cut 5 cross members, you could probably get away with less but we wanted our table to be very sturdy. Make sure to measure the cross members to fit inside the 2 base sides you cut earlier, keeping in mind you want the end result to be a perfect square. This means that you will need to cut them roughly 4 inches shorter than you want your square to be.  Here’s where things get tricky: you will want to put this base together with the wooden dowels, which means you will need to find a drill bit that makes a hole slightly larger than the dowel. Get yourself a piece of scrap wood and drill a few test holes to make sure you’ve got the correct size, you will want the dowels to fit in relatively easily but not so loosely that you can spin or wiggle them (when you put glue on the dowels they will slightly expand, make sure you don’t drill the holes too small!). Now you will need to make sure to evenly space your cross members and mark the hole locations on the base sides. When you’re drilling your holes, drill a small pilot hole with a much smaller drill bit, this will prevent the wood from splitting. Do your best to drill the holes straight, they don’t have to be perfect but the straighter you can get them the better. Once you’ve drilled holes in the base sides, you will also need to drill holes in the ends of the cross members so they will fit together. Remember to drill your pilot holes! Once the holes are drilled, put some wood glue in the hole and on the dowel and then fit them together. Quickly put more glue in the cross member and fit each onto the base side. Finish the other base side the same way, making sure everything fits snugly together. Once the base is built and you are happy with it, place it under something that will hold it together while the glue dries: we were lucky enough to have an empty chest freezer, but I expect some books might work just fine. Once the base is dry (give it a few hours), stain it just like you did with the crates. 

Step 4: Crates onto the base. 
This is when things get exciting, you’ll start to see this table shape up quickly! Figure out which sides of the crates you want to be the top, then put them together on top of the base. Get a few screws and tack one of the crates onto the base, this will be your starting point so make sure it’s spaced evenly. Here’s the most critical part of this project: you want the top of the table to be a smooth surface, so you will want to line the top surfaces up and tack them together before mounting them to the base. Start with one crate at a time, tacking it to the crate you mounted to the base. Try to only put screws through the crate and into the thickest part of the crate you’re drilling it in to.  Also, drilling a small pilot hole on this step will ensure the crates don’t crack. Finally, as you’re tacking the crates together and lining up the top edges, gradually add screws into the bottom of each crate and into the base. You can add as many or as few screws in this process as you’d like, we probably only used 3-4 per crate to keep things looking clean. 

Step 5: Feet! 
Flip the entire table over where the base is on top, then determine where you want the feet to be located. Once you’ve marked the feet locations, drill holes on the base and screw the feet into place (hint: you can use your piece of scrap wood to ensure your hole is the right size). Once the feet are in place as you want them, you can put a screw through the inside of the crates and into the feet to hold them together. Lastly, if you are putting this table on a wood floor like we were, Lowes sells some great felt pads that simply hammer into the base of the feet. Not completely necessary, but good to have if you want to protect your floors. 

Step 6 (almost done!): Inside shelf. 
This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but it sort of ties the entire table together and gives you a space for adding your d├ęcor of choice. Measure the inside hole between the crates, and cut a few pieces of the 1x2’s to length to act as a shelf base. Then cut a few (3-4) additional pieces the same length, this will be your shelf. Screw the few shelf pieces onto the base pieces, then stain the entire shelf unit to match the table. Lastly, screw the L brackets onto the inside of the crate hole at the depth you want your shelf to sit, put the shelf in place and add a few more screws to hold everything together. Flip the table back over and check to make sure everything is level.

Step 7: Admire your handy work!!!

What do you think?  We really took our time making this, but it could easily be done over a weekend. We are so excited with the way it turned out and are enjoying the new piece of furniture in our living room!


  1. You guys are awesome! It looks so good and so professional!

  2. I'll admit, it does look intimidating, but after each step by step photo, it looks a lot easier! The final outcome is amazing and it probably feels great to have such a nice piece of furniture that you made yourself.


  3. Found you through the hop. I really love your blog :) Following via bloglovin'.


  4. The coffee table is amazing. Can't believe you made it yourselves!!

    Lisa Vaughan

  5. Wow that is amazing! Hello from Mingle monday!


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  6. I know this post is a little old, but just wondering if you have any ideas on what to use as smaller side tables so that it ties into this look? Or what side tables did you use? It turned out AMAZING and I cannot wait to try it out for myself!

  7. BRILLIANT!!!!
    Love how it turned out so inspired now!
    Thank you.
    Wow, looks great! Thanks for posting this. This post is very very helpful!

  8. I found a project about how to build a dining table and liked it but I wanted to make a few adjustments to it. I needed to make it a bit larger for our dining room. My wife wanted a table that can sit 8-10 people. With a few adjustments on the length I was able to make this table 44 inches wide and made it 90 inches long. Let me just say by adding to the size it adds a lot more weight to it as well.
    For the table top I used 4 2x12. I trimmed each end the best I could with a hand planer and sanding before gluing. This gave me about 44 inches after words.
    As for the base I didn't change much other then the legs. My wife wasn't thrilled with the block like style legs so I was able to find legs in the lumber section at Lowe's that I was able to use.
    For the base and legs I painted them first with a greenish blue paint then on top of that I used an off white color and lightly sanded it to give that distress look. It's hard to tell from the photo but in person it really looks good.
    I am pleased with the way it turned out, hope this helps.

  9. Looks great. I like this wooden project very much. It is really great idea to make our home furnished with woods. I love furniture. Also I love your Coffee table. :)

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  11. Look nice! it will be great if the living room in the house has the same table. Thanks your post! I love this DIY!

  12. Very specific and detail: Materals, Tool and method. It make my next project becomes easy.

  13. Do you happen to remember what paint color that is? It's beautiful!

  14. Look cute! How long take did it you to complete this table?

  15. Wow, this table is too good looking! I love that additional detail in the middle and I think I saw something similar in the TV ads recently. Great job!

  16. I really like this coffee table. Have you thought about going into production ? I would definitely be interested. Sue

  17. Wow that is amazing! Hello from Mingle monday!
    Karen @ Daily Buzz

  18. This would look really nice in my living room, thanks! Great to see more upcycling projects on the Internet - it's soo cool and saves the environment too :)

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  20. Well done! Really like the way you do.

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  31. A good way to recycle those crates. I always wonder how to make use of those wooden storing box. Instead of tearing them apart, your way of using the whole crate is much better (faster of course). I always want to have this kind of table in my garden. You know, I am not willing to buy a new coffee table and leave it outside and your idea definitely saves me money, though some work has to be done to make this table but I think it is worth it.

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