Saturday, July 1, 2017

Do It Yourself! A Great Divided Produce Crate

Do It Yourself! A Great Divided Produce Crate First, I want to thank you for all of the love and excitement over this week's pantry reveal! Working with others to organize and improve their spaces has been so rewarding and exciting and something that I hope to continue to do for many years to come! I am definitely in my element when we are deep in the sorting process and working to simplify systems. But I also love to add a little extra love and attention and even toss in some small scale DIY's when I can.

My gal pal already owned an unfinished craft crate, which can be usually be found at home improvement stores, craft stores, and even Target. The crate was the foundation piece when it came to designing the pantry and coming up with the shelving widths, right from the start I had envisioned tossing some casters on it and putting it to work. And as we checked off storage solutions for each type of food, produce and the crate were the last two options standing. The idea sparks flew and I took on the task of figuring out how to make the crate ideal for holding a variety of veggies.

With all of the cosmetic upgrades we were giving to the closet, I really didn't want to leave the crate in its unfinished state. But knowing that food was going to be stored inside of the crate, I didn't want to reach for just any wood stain. I started researching food-safe wood stains and found there really aren't a lot of options. Some suggestions I found showed individuals using a regular stain and then using a food safe protector over the top, but I wasn't convinced that was the best or safest option. So I dug around some more and finally found some food-safe stain on Amazon in a dark walnut wood tone.

This stain was not the cheapest, but I am sure I can find more uses for it down the road so I decided to purchase it for this project. It can also be used for knife blocks and cutting boards and woven baskets and butcher block...

I applied the stain just like I would any regular wood stain, but right away found it to be more of a gel stain finish (it is nice and thick). It was really important to pre-sand the crate as much as possible to help the stain absorb well. I covered the entire crate with stain using a sponge brush before wiping it off with a clean rag. It definitely sat on the surface for a minimum of ten minutes. I also found it best to let it dry outside for a few hours and then wiped it down a second time to be sure all of the stain was completely removed from the surface.

We weren't completely sure how we were going to add the dividers, so I took a trip to Home Depot and strolled down the molding aisles. I grabbed a few 1/4" x 2" x 3' poplar boards as they seemed to be really close to the width of the crate planks. I got them back home and they couldn't have been more perfect!

We had some scrap 1/4" panel board (similar) that we thought would make the perfect dividers, so we cut the poplar boards to length, leaving just over 1/4" space between them for the dividers to be able to slide in and out with ease.

We used the smallest nails we owned with our brad nailer, but they still poked through to the inside. Womp womp. We were able to use our Dremel to easily shave off the small bits of the nails, but a better option probably would have just been to use a construction grade glue and clamps. Also, I would have stained the board prior to adding them to the crate but it wasn't too difficult to use a little wood filler and stain the added pieces after the fact. Quick tip: a cotton swab helped get the stain into any weird nooks and grooves. Also, we were going for slightly rustic which was a nice and forgiving change.

The dividers fit like a glove!

I found some casters at our local Ace (similar), and also scoped out their hardware department to pick up exactly the right sized nuts and bolts to secure them to the bottom.

We measured and predrilled the bottom of the crate and attached the casters with the hardware.

Once the entire piece was assembled and stained, I went over everything was a good coat of protective food-safe oil and wax.


I also added a piece of shelf liner to the bottom prior to adding the veggies to the crate. I cut it to size but didn't peel the backing as I wanted it to remain removable and easy-to-clean.

Oh! And as you can see I added a decorative pull to the front to make it easier to access and also because it was the project's icing.

As much as I crush on label holders and lazy susans and clear canisters, I get most excited about creating storage and watching it in action! This crate was the star of the show and truly "produced" an abundance of smiles for the family. #punny And that is totally how I roll! #punnyagain

Is anyone else suddenly craving a good guacamole?

This was such a fun and quick project, and I adore the versatility of this great little crate! I learned a few new things with this project, and would love to know if you have tried any alternative food-safe staining options and if so, how have they held up?

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