Rustic Shipping Crate Coffee Table

[this vintage, rustic coffee table is available now in my shop!]

I found this fabulous box awhile back and knew it would make a great coffee table but it had no top. Building a top is time consuming and at the time I didn’t have the tools, so I just held onto it.

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Walter M Lowney was a chocolate company in Boston, MA from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

By Magicpiano - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63841398

Original Lowney Chocolate Factory

But then I saw an idea online that would allow me to create this coffee table without building a lid!

But first, the box needed some work. It was a little dingy and I wanted to brighten it up a little, but still preserve all the writing.

I chose Minwax Golden Pecan to stain the box and it really brightened up the whole piece without obstructing the writing I wanted to preserve. (This technique works great in all kinds of upcycling projects with dingy wood!)

The inside of this box was also pretty dull, so I decided to paint it in a distressed black. This is simple to achieve on rough wood as the first pass of paint does not fully cover it. That is usually enough to achieve this look, although you may run your brush over certain areas again to get it just the way you like it.

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Next, as I always do with my projects, I use a clear lacquer as a protective, shiny finish. You can find clear lacquer in your local home improvement store in the stain aisle. Be sure to use a respirator and protective eyewear in a well ventilated area!

I prefer to use industrial style legs like hairpin legs or steel wheels for my furniture pieces. I buy most of my handcrafted hairpin legs from Odaat Customs on Etsy.  You can find a small selection of hairpin legs at your local craft store, but generally there are only 2 sizes and you’re lucky if there even 4 legs on the rack. They are also made of cheap aluminum. On Etsy, you can choose leg length by the inch, rebar thickness and even style and angle.

In most cases, you want at least a .75″ screw to attach on the bottom of the box. I also use washers with my screws. Longer screws are always better, which I was able to achieve on my outer edges where the box had an extra layer of wood. In some cases, the wood is just too thin to screw up into the box and then there’s the option of using machine screws and screw them through the floor of the table and out the bottom, secured with bolts.

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So here’s the unique part – since I am not building a top for this coffee table, I simply turned the piece on its SIDE (word side up) which created a perfect side opening and storage space for the piece! This can’t always work since the bottom of your piece is now exposed; sometimes the bottom of these vintage pieces are not in good shape. In my case, it was in good shape and even had some writing on it! Also, the words are only on one long side, so I don’t have to feel bad about hiding the other side by making it the underside of the table.

The results are amazing! This incredible unique, rustic coffee table is available now in my shop! (freight shipping is available; message me for a quote)

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How to Make a Rustic Wine Rack

I often make coffee tables out of amazing pieces like this one, but wanted to try something different.

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And if you can believe it, this is the SECOND time I have found this box – the first one I did make into a coffee table!

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But for this one, I figured, why not turn it vertical and make it into a wine rack?

The reason my coffee table above is so shiny is because I always add several coats of clear lacquer for a shiny, protective finish. You can find clear lacquer with the stains and paints at your local home improvement store. Make sure you use a respirator and protective eyewear in a well ventilated area! The fumes are strong and also flammable and if you drop the can, it splashes (trust me, I know this from experience!)

There was some leftover paper label on this vintage coffee crate that I wanted to preserve, so I used ModPodge and this is the top of my wine rack!

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I wanted a way to hold the wine bottles more securely, so I rummaged through my storage/project area and for some reason I had kept these wooden sewing machine frames, wondering what the heck I would ever use them for. Suddenly it dawned on me.

If you lay it flat, it can easily fit 6 bottles of wine! (bottles upright or lying down) These are actually pretty easy to find in antique stores. The drawers can be re-purposed and then you can use the frames! Depending on the width of your box, it may not always fit as perfectly as this, but the stars aligned for me this time! If this is not an option, see if you can find a shallow crate to set in there, or just screw in raised wooden “tracks”.

For hanging wine glasses, I opted for a wooden under cabinet wine glass tracks which I found on Amazon. I simply screwed them in the roof of the crate. I also decided to paint both the sewing machine frame and wine glass rack black.

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I wanted my wine glass rack to sit up higher, so I attached steel hairpin legs to the bottom. I prefer steel and handmade from Etsy. I usually buy from Odaat Customs or MezaModern Designs.

I attached the wine bottle frame to the bottom of the crate with screws via some holes that were already there from when it was a sewing machine. How convenient! I also wanted a way that the wine bottles would not clank together so I created “dowels” out of a spoke from a broken antique chair.

The results are a fabulous, rustic wine cabinet! It holds 9 wine glasses and 6 bottles of wine.

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How to Make Vintage Christmas Centerpieces

Last Christmas I made some fabulous Christmas planters with vintage kitchen utensils. I decided to try some this year with some different vintage items.

I found these amazing vintage tins and thought they would look just as great as Christmas centerpieces! I just love the red and green pop of color and the graphics! (These vintage Christmas centerpieces are available now in my shop!)

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Rescuing a Piece of History

Have you ever had one of those moments in life when you wanted to be a blessing to someone but in the process you actually felt like you were the one that was blessed? That’s how it happened in this story. It actually almost didn’t happen except for what I believe was “divine intervention”.

My husband and I decided we wanted to buy an antique cash register. We just loved the artistry and the detailed craftsmanship. We found one on Craig’s List and made arrangements to meet and purchase it. Only to find out when we arrived that the seller had already sold it to someone else who had come earlier. At the moment we were angry at the injustice, but turned back to Craig’s List in search of another.

Enter our friend into the story. A dear friend we would have never met had we not been double crossed by a creeper on Craig’s List. As it turned out, our friend worked his whole life for National Cash Register Company, as a cash register repairman. And as a side business, also restored and sold these beautiful registers. At one point in his career, he had an inventory of 900 antique cash registers.

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Our very first cash register

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Easy to Make Vintage Christmas Wreaths

These vintage Christmas wreaths are available now in my shop!

I have always loved this gorgeous, red metal go cart wheel. I’ve had it for quite awhile and although it’s a great architectural salvage piece as is, it occurred to me that it would look amazing as a Christmas wreath! And actually, you can make these fabulous farmhouse Christmas wreaths with just about any vintage wagon wheel.

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How to Display Vintage Paper Advertisements

I’ve always loved picking vintage advertising, but the signs can often be so expensive. I recently found these vintage paper advertisements taken from newspapers and magazines and had an idea about how to display them on the wall, given that their odd sizes make it hard to frame. Besides, I like this rustic idea better!

I decided I would attach them with mod podge on a rustic piece of wood. Now, it would be so easy to just grab a pre-made, blank, vintage-inspired wooden sign from the craft store (which you can do!).

However, other than greenery/floral and drawer hardware, I prefer to work with authentic vintage materials only.

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How to Re-purpose Sewing Machine Drawers into a Table

[buy this barn wood table now in my shop!]

Sometimes you find a sewing machine that cannot be saved, but still has some good parts to it! That’s what happened with this set of sewing machine drawers. I had seen in these in the past be re-purposed into a table.

The woodwork on these drawers is incredible. I imagined putting some sort of table top on it (the one pictured is from the sewing machine but not salvageable) and table legs on the underside. I found the perfect set of hairpin legs with L brackets that fit perfectly.

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Another Unusual Wooden Table

Antique cash registers often sat on top of a wooden base that held the cash register drawer. The wooden bases make fabulous tables!

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example of cash register with wooden base

I recently made a cash register base table but I was able to acquire another one and wanted to try something different with this one! 

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before

The top of my first one had a hole in the top for which I cut out a wood shape to fit. This second one has an interesting “well” in the top, and a hole, both which needed to be filled. (the hole is where the mechanical arm went from the cash register down through the hole to operate opening the drawer inside the wooden base)

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Building a Live Edge Wood Table with Resin Pools

[browse my current vintage furniture available now in my shop!]

I have always wanted to try and build a live edge wood table. I wanted the kind with little cracks and wells in them so I could fill it with colored resin. Through a lot of trial and error, I did it! And I learned a lot in the process for the next live edge resin table. (Yes, next!)

The one I chose was a teak “starfish” imported from Indonesia. It was 3″ thick and 36″ wide at its widest point and weighed 50lbs.

Here’s a video talking about what I planned to do for this project:

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A Rescued Card Catalog

I recently found this beautiful card catalog chest, most likely from the 1940s and came from a dentist office. It may look perfect on the outside, but it looks like besides its time  in the dentist office, it spent a little time getting wet as the drawers were pretty rusty. A little rusty metal can be fixed, but the wood was in fabulous condition!

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I cleaned the drawers with soap and water first and then used a Rust Dissolver to get rid of the excess rust. You should spray it on and let it sit for 15-30 minutes before washing off. Continue reading