Clutter Crate Tutorial

*Tutorial made by Jessica @ Running with Scissors for her win of the Organizational Challenge during season 10*
Here’s the tutorial for the animal clutter


Supplies: wood for crate 4 casters (I used 1 1/2” rubber)
drawer pulls for handles freezer or contact paper for stencils

stain or Rit dye in color choice

paint for inside

polyurethane to

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 1×12 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 2×2
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

2. Prepare

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

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


4. Apply StencilsI
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. also has recipes to mix their dye to get different
colors not found on the shelf.

7. Sand and

I wanted to lightly sand the box to reveal a
little more wood grain.

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

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  1. says

    I LOVE these! I am so excited to make some for my boys rooms! So much easier for them to just shove their stuff in these than in drawers! And it makes it look so picked up. Even though the pile is in a crate instead of just on the floor! Thanks Jessica!