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Upcycling. You love it, right? Equal parts upgrading and recycling, the art of upcycling promises to breathe new life into those found objects you just aren’t quite sure what to do with. Case in point: a fruit crate I was gifted by some lovely blogger friends while teaching a course in Portland last summer. You might argue that a fruit crate is an odd gift, but to a design blogger? A fruit crate is the mecca of possibility.

Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner

Still, the aforementioned crate sat dusty in my entryway, begging to be used for more than hat, gloves and scarf storage. And as we started to plan our little one’s nursery (she’s due in July!), the thought hit me: why not transform this fruit crate into a rustic toy chest with a hot pink caster twist? The project was easy peasy and took just a few materials: casters, spray paint, spare wood and the crate itself! Here’s how we pulled it off:

Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner
Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner

1. After gathering our materials, we sprayed primer (one coat) and spray-painted (two coats) the casters and let dry overnight.

Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner

2. Because the wooden base of the crate was thin, we cut thick blocks of wood to swallow the screws from each caster. This ensured a stable, sturdy fit.

Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner
Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner

3. We then placed our thick blocks of wood on the inside of the base and pre-drilled our holes in the bottom 4 corners of the crate.

Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner

4. Lastly, we used lock washers and screwed in each caster.

Super quick and easy, right? Tell me, what’s an object laying around your house that you’d love to re-purpose? I’ve got a list a mile long and would love to hear your’s!


Design Inspiration

67 Responses

  1. Jennifer Gray says:

    Did you sand it down to make it smooth and protect the little one from splinters. That would be my only concern. Otherwise I love the idea

    • erin loechner says:

      Ha, we didn't! Good call – one more thing to add to the list before she arrives! :)

  2. [...] Upcycle 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest HGTV Design Happens Wed, May 16, 2012 2:48 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate Share (function(){var [...]

  3. Jen says:

    Love this, Erin! I'm always on the hunt for creative storage solutions. This is a great one!

  4. hungouttobuy says:

    This is such a terrific idea. I like this idea so much I am going to add wheels to anything that needs to be moved often. Thanks for terrific visuals too. Elizabeth

    • erin loechner says:

      You're welcome, Elizabeth! And gosh, yes – casters are problem solvers for so many things!

  5. bling says:

    Lots of splinters. I'm sure you must have discovered that.

    • erin loechner says:

      Actually, the wood is pretty worn, so it's smoothed out quite a bit over time. But yes, we'll be sanding it down even more before the little one arrives!

  6. [...] one arrives!), so this week I’m sharing a sweet (super simple!) fruit crate turned toy chest.Check out the tutorial at HGTV.com! SHARE: twitter, facebook, pinterest, stumbleYou might also like:my diy bench seating on Hfollow [...]

  7. i love it! and we also have that romeo and juliet book for our little girl :)

  8. David says:

    My only small concern would be any chemicals on the wood. If it's old wood, though, this would be less of a concern.

  9. Mary Hartman says:

    This would be great for a beach place to put towels for the beach at the front door.
    Where is some good place to find a wood grate similar to this?

    • Jackie says:

      If you want an old one – flea markets, antique barns and weekend shows. If you don't care if it's new – if you live in a large city that has a vegetable market; or make friends with the veg/fruit dept manager at your local grocery and have him call you when he gets one.

  10. Jackie says:

    I just bought an old crate and I'm haveing my husband attach casters, and wood top that I can upholster for a foot stool. Might incorporate blanket storage inside, mine has solid sides not slats

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