Rustic Wooden Crates from Old Drawers

Rustic Wooden Crates from Old 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 some old drawers (of a slightly different shape) into rustic wooden crates for easy farmhouse decor.

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 wooden drawers to upcycle.

I needed them to be 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!

Old drawers at a Habitat ReStore thrift store

And sure enough, my Habitat ReStore didn’t disappoint. There were plenty of wooden drawers to choose from – some from a wood dresser (maybe?) and others that were clearly kitchen drawers.

Wooden drawers at a thrift store

My plan? To remove hardware and drawer fronts, leaving me with a “soda crate” shape that I could decorate to create a few rustic wooden crates.

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. A stencil was provided to me by Knick of Time at no cost, but all opinions are my own. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post.

Transforming the Old Drawers into Vintage Crates

With wooden drawers in hand, I went to work. First, I needed to remove the hardware, such as these side rails.

Removing the rails from old drawers

Each drawer will be different when it comes to prep work. Kitchen drawers tend to have more hardware to remove. Whereas dresser drawers may only have a knob or pull on the front to deal with.

Upcycling idea for old drawers as vintage crates

Removing the hardware left my wooden drawers full of open, empty nail and screw holes. I originally thought I’d fill them with wood putty, but decided to just leave them be.

I was recreating vintage crates after all, so a few holes and battle scars would just add character, right?

Old drawers to be upcycled as rustic wooden crates

The drawer fronts also had to be pried off from my drawers- and this step (and result) will vary from drawer to drawer. To do this, 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.

Next, I decided to paint these two wooden drawers to cover up the different stain colors. Cottonball demanded to help, which was worrisome (visions of red and blue paw prints all over the house popped in my head).

Painting the old drawers with samples of latex paint

Of course, I’m sure there’s some cat hair in my paint job, but that’s just par for the course.

Thankfully, Cottonball was well behaved during the entire painting process. Huge sigh of relief…

Vintage wooden crate from an old drawer

Farmhouse Stencils for Rustic Wooden Crates

In the end, these were how the old drawers, err, rustic vintage wooden crates – ended 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.

Farmhouse crates by upcycling the old drawers

They’re starting to look like vintage wooden crates, right?

Now it was time to stencil my vintage 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.


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

(In the years that have passed since I first posted this project, Funky Junk Interiors issued a PERFECT stencil for making your own rustic wooden crates!)

For the long and narrow space on my 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.

Vintage crate style stencil from Knick of Time Interiors

After I was done stenciling each of the rustic wooden crates from old drawers, I was left with this trio!

Vintage wooden crates with old drawers and stencils

I was able to re-use my fresh produce stencil from this project and my multi-sized star stencil from another project, too. Gotta love it when that happens!

Rustic Wooden Crates from Old Drawers

Aren’t they great? Would you even know that they started out as old drawers from Habitat Restore?

Upcycling idea for old drawers as farmhouse crates

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 rustic 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 some old drawers!

Rustic wooden crates from old drawers for vintage farmhouse decor

If you’ve ever wanted vintage crates to decorate your home with, then this is a great option for an inexpensive alternative!

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for DIY farmhouse decor, then you may also enjoy this windmill wall decor that I made, as well!

Craft on!


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Rustic wooden crates by upcycling the drawers from a thrift store

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  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!!

  16. Very clever idea using the drawers to make your own crates. They all look great! Love how you added the aluminum tape to the red one. Makes it look like the old coca cola crates.

  17. Really cool idea, I have loads of these in my shed. Thanks for the idea.


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