Tutorial: Animal Clutter Crate

5:43 PM

Here’s the tutorial for the crates!
First off is a full tutorial for the animal crate.

wood for crate
4 casters (I used 1 1/2” rubber)
drawer pulls for handles
freezer or contact paper for stencils
wood stain or Rit dye in color choice
paint for inside
polyurethane to seal

1. Build Crate 
Determine how large you want your crate. Mine is 11.75” high, 13” wide, and 17” long.
For this crate I was using pine 1x12 boards, and had a scrap of melamine coated MDF for the bottom. To construct my crate
, I have a Kreg Jig I used to create pocket holes and so you can screw the sides together from the inside. You could also build your crate with nails.
Or if you could always buy or find a crate already made. I've read many times liquor stores will give or sell the empty wine crates.

Depending on the casters you’re using, you may need to add additional corner support to house the caster peg. This crate I added these 2x2 hunks in the corner, because these white casters had a peg you nailed up into the crate like you see on rolling bed frames.

 The other rustic crate wheels just screwed right on the bottom of the crate and didn’t need these additional supports.

2. Prepare Wood
Once your crate is built you’ll want to fill any hole’s screws with wood filler, let it dry, then sand down the wood to a smooth, even finish.

3. Paint Crate Interior
I used left over satin paint to give the inside of my crate 2 coats.

4. Apply Stencils
I just hand sketched my animal silhouettes, and you can print my animals HERE.
So print, trace and cut out your animal or whatever shape you’d like to use in the freezer or contact paper.
**I tried both and they seemed to work the same. If you use freezer paper you’ll need to iron the paper to your wood***
On a clean side, arrange and secure stencils to crate, making sure any bubbles have been scraped out and edges are sealed well.

6. Dye Stain Wood 
To stain a crate this size, I would mix 1/4c. super hot water and 1/4 c. straight liquid Rit dye. I microwaved my water and added the dye, stirring to fully dissolve.
**It helps to first paint a thin layer of water to prep the wood to get more even distribution of dye stain.
Using a sponge brush, dip in the dye and squeeze out any excess dye. Paint on 3 plain sides of crate, being careful not to have too much dye in the brush because you don’t want the dye to drip and run, as it shows in the end result. When you get to the side of the crate with your stencils, you really want to use a dry brush. If you have a full, soggy brush the dye stain will seep under the paper and you won’t have a nice, crisp border on your shapes. So squeeze out the dye, and work in small areas to carefully apply the dye around the paper, doing your best to not let it seep under.

My crate was 2 coats of straight Teal dye. Ritdye.com also has recipes to mix their dye to get different colors not found on the shelf.

7. Sand and Finish
I wanted to lightly sand the box to reveal a little more wood grain.
LEAVE PAPER OVER STENCILS UNTIL SANDING IS DONE. I found when I sanded the light layer off, the new dyed saw dust would still stain the raw wood animals. So I had to go back through and lightly “clean” out the animals by sanding off the saw dust smears. So I would recommended not peeling the paper off until right before you’re ready to apply your polyurethane. I used 2 coats of polyurethane to protect and seal the crate.
You can also at this point add your casters according to package directions, and screw your drawer pulls on the ends for handles.

Then you can load up your crate with toys, books or even the baby.

You Might Also Like


  1. So cute! I love it. And I especially like the pic with your little on inside it.

  2. This is a great box! I love the combination of your passions - sewing and woodwork! And the table saw! I adore the red Russian coat and have made note of the pattern. I have some check silk (black and white) that I will make a coat from. It has been sitting in my shelf for 15 years and will be happy to get OUT!
    Keep going, wonderful stuff!


Thank you for stopping by, we love to hear from you!

Popular Posts