DIY Vintage Wooden Crates from Upcycled Drawers

DIY Vintage Wooden Crates from Upcycled Drawers

This is one of those ideas that has been rattling around in my head for a while, and I’ve finally set aside time to give it a go. See, last year, I repurposed an old drawer into a potting bench and endeavored to recreate the look of an old fruit crate with wood stain. It was at that moment that I wondered if I could upcycle drawers (of a slightly different shape) into DIY vintage wooden crates- like the old soda crates of days gone by.

Here we are, a year later, and I still hadn’t tested by DIY hypothesis. So, I reminded myself to seek out the right kind of drawers to upcycle- long, shallow rectangle drawers that had good (or decent) wood grain to play around with. This meant a few trips to my Habitat ReStore, which is something I never mind doing!

Salvaged wooden drawers at Habitat ReStore to be upcycled by Sadie Seasongoods /

I spy a couple of crate-like contenders right there…

How to upcycle drawers into DIY vintage wooden crates for farmhouse decor by Sadie Seasongoods /

…and another perfectly-shaped one here, too!

My plan? To remove hardware and drawer fronts, leaving me with a “soda crate” shape that I could decorate with wood stain, paint, and stencils to create my very own DIY vintage wooden crates. This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience and a stencil was provided to me by Knick of Time at no cost, but all opinions are my own.

With drawers in hand, I went to work- first removing the hardware- including side rails, handles, and anything else a drawer may have attached.

Removing hardware from drawers to upcycle them into DIY vintage wooden crates by Sadie Seasongoods /

Let’s de-drawer these drawers!

Removing hardware from drawers to upcycle them into DIY vintage wooden crates by Sadie Seasongoods /

…and a funny little bit on the back of this one.

Now- this may leave your drawer-crates full of holes from the screws. I originally thought I’d fill them with wood putty, but decided to just leave them be…I was recreating vintage soda crates after all, so a few holes and battle scars would just add character, right?

I also had to pry off the drawer fronts from my drawers- and this step (and result) will vary from drawer to drawer. I used our chisel set and a hammer to gently loosen the front from the drawer. If this leaves a messy finish, you can either sand it smooth and go about your business, or cut out a small rectangle of plywood or scrap wood to glue across the front of your drawer to cover it up.

The side rails on two of my drawers covered up non-aged or non-stained wood…and that stripe of pale wood left much to be desired. I also sanded off the pencil marks that had been left by the original contractors.

How to repurpose drawers into DIY vintage wooden crates for modern farmhouse decor by Sadie Seasongoods /

Guess I’ll just cover this up with paint!

So, I decided to paint those two drawers- one in red, one in pale aqua blue. Cottonball demanded to help…which was worrisome (visions of red and blue paw prints all over the house popped in my head), but he was very well behaved. Of course, I’m sure there’s some cat hair in my paint job, but that’s just par for the course.

Painting salvaged drawers to upcycle them into soda crates by Sadie Seasongoods /

Hmm…he’s making me nervous…

Painting salvaged drawers to upcycle them into soda crates by Sadie Seasongoods /

But he was such a good boy!

In the end, these were how my drawers…I mean, DIY vintage wooden crates…end up looking like. Paint for the two with side rails, and weathered wood accelerator on the plain wood drawer, just to deepen/age its existing reddish stain.

Upcycled drawers from Habitat ReStore to become vintage soda crates by Sadie Seasongoods /

Look at that! Becoming crates right before my eyes…

They’re starting to look like old soda crates, right?? I think my idea is going to work out!

Now it was time to stencil my vintage wooden crates…but you know what? I had a hard time finding good stencils for this- there aren’t a lot of soda crate stencils out there. And I didn’t want to buy one that said Coca-cola or Pepsi, because I didn’t want to be accused of copyright theft.

SO. I found one made by Knick of Time from her Vintage Sign Stencils line that was PERFECT for my needs.

Using Knick of Time Vintage Sign Stencils on upcycled drawer by Sadie Seasongoods /

Knick of Time Vintage Sign Stencils to the rescue!

For the long and narrow space on my DIY vintage wooden crates, I only planned to use a portion of the stencil. So, I centered it, taped it in place, and stippled on some black craft paint.

Using Knick of Time Vintage Sign Stencils on upcycled drawer by Sadie Seasongoods /

Moment of truth…

When all was said and done, I had three lovely DIY vintage wooden crates from upcycled drawers! I was able to re-use my fresh produce stencil from this project and my multi-sized star stencil from another project, too- bonus.

How to upcycle drawers into DIY vintage wooden crates for modern farmhouse decor on a budget by Sadie Seasongoods /

Ta-da! Vintage wooden crates for home decor…from drawers.

And are you looking closely to my red soda crate? I used aluminum label tape to recreate the look of reinforcement brackets that authentic soda crates have!

Now I have a whole set of DIY vintage wooden crates that I can use in any number of ways…and for a lot cheaper than the real thing. Such a fun and unexpected way to repurpose old drawers.

Repurposed drawer as DIY vintage soda crate by Sadie Seasongoods /

Who says you need a REAL soda crate?

And if you’re interested in lots of other upcycled drawer ideas, check out this collection of projects here before you go.

Craft on!


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  1. I just love your crates Sarah and the fact that they were made from drawers makes them that much better! They look vintage and I think they’re great!

  2. Carol Whewell says

    These look fantastic!!

  3. Those came out wonderfully!! Nicely vintage feel with the stenciling. I like the weathered wood look the best.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Carole- it’s my favorite, too. My original plan was to keep them all plain wood…but plans changed when I removed those rails, LOL!

  4. Tiffany Benton says

    That is awesome! I’m thinking of using this as a couples workshop for my new charitable organization. I’m off to collect as many drawers as possible now…Great job, they look beautiful!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you, Tiffany!! If you wouldn’t mind giving my blog a shout-out as to where the idea came from, I would sincerely appreciate it!

  5. Cute idea, Sarah! Hate to admit though…I just burned a bunch of old drawers;( I did save the hardware…

  6. mary scott says

    What a genius idea! They look fabulous. I can imagine seasonal ones and personalized ones for kids’ stuff too.

  7. Creative! I like this idea of repurposing – I see these at yard sales all the time. Thank you for sharing

  8. so cute

  9. Wendy Oyler says

    I love what you did with the drawers. I hadn’t thought about using them that way. I made one into a doggie bed for a friend (used an old chair too). Now I will have to try to do a few of these crates too!

  10. Another great project! I look at the price of soda crates and cringe so this is a great alternative. Another thing to add to my “look-for” list!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you, Kathy! Nothing beats the real thing, of course, but I agree- the price tag on these makes them cost prohibitive!

  11. Awesome as usual!

  12. Those turned out so cute! Oh the wheel on the back of the drawer was for it to slide in and out – goes in a track – our farmhouse cabinets have those. Very squeaky.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I figured as much, but was far more familiar with the side rails for sliding in and out. I can definitely see how that would become quite squeaky!

  13. I love these so much!! Crates are one of my favorite things but they are so in demand and more than I want to spend so yeehaw!!

  14. I love this clever idea!!

  15. Mind blown. Drawers. DRAWERS! I did not see this coming! Why again do I build everything from scratch when I don’t have to you ask?

    Be like Sarah. That’s all.

    You can bet I’m going to feature these this weekend at the party. Thanks for linking up!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you so much, my friend! They don’t have the glorious, rustic gorgeousness of your apple one, though!!


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