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Welcome to my blog. I'm 20-something crafter, active explorer,  and memory keeper, currently living in New York City.

that time i made a bookcase

Earlier this year, I knew I wanted a bookcase of some sort. I wasn't sure where it was going to go, but I liked the idea of having a bookcase against the brick. I wanted something dark brown and a little rustic to go with the brick. To me, a little country appeal feels more like home. Not sure where I got it seeing as I was raised in the land of taupe.

Furniture is expensive! One goal with this new apartment was to make as much as possible for the apartment. Meaning, less purchasing complete things, more making and creating. And after my dad stocked my apartment with a saw, drill, and a 4 lb. box of rags (which no rational person living in NYC has), I was well equipped.

Even though I wanted to make it, I didn't have the space nor the patience to actually saw whole wooden boards many, many times. Interesting NYC fact: Home Depot does not cut your wood for you in the city. Apparently they think all city dwellers have enough space to cut their own wood in their tiny closet of an apartment. I digress. 

I thought back to my Michael's days, and remembered they sold unstained wooden crates. I started thinking how I could stack these to form some, and turned to my trusty source of inspiration: Pinterest. I found this that would look amazing doubled.

So, I made it and I am so in love with it! And it cost under $100 (holla coupons!), which was even better!


Supplies Needed
Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed:

  • Unstained Crates (I used 8)
  • Stain (any color will work. I used Espresso)
  • 2 Paintbrushes
  • A bunch of rags
  • Clear coat of stain to finish

1. Optional: Plan out how you want your bookcase to look. I stacked each of the crates to see if I would like how it turned out. I would recommend taking this picture to 1) send to family members to hold yourself accountable and 2) remember the big picture of what you're doing - it can get tedious.


2. Plan out where you want to stain. Be sure to make your area large enough not only for the crate, but also about a foot on all sides for spatter. Believe me, it will spatter. I laid down a giant Home Depot plack sack (doubled), and then rags all around. I would also recommend putting cardboard under the sack. I think my dad (and maybe my super) are cringing at this photo, but hey, it's the only space I had to work with. No hardwood floors were harmed in the making of this bookcase.


3. Start staining! I started staining the inside of the box first, then moved to the outside. Once that was done, I would let it sit for another 10 minutes before I wiped it off. After I wiped off the inside and outside, I flipped it over to get the bottom of the crate and repeated the process.

Be mindful of price stickers on your crate, and remove those!

Follow the directions on your particular stain.


I didn't want a super super dark chocolate look. Instead, I wanted something that looked weathered and natural. So, I purposefully made each crate a little different by fluxuating how much time the stain set on the wood before I wiped it off.

4. Repeat the staining process for all 8 crates.

5. Allow crates to dry completely! I left them there for at least a week - mainly because of my crazy schedule.

Note: If you leave the crates to dry around the place where you sleep (in NYC every inch is valuable), make sure there is enough ventiliation (aka - open your windows!). I didn't, and ended up sick off the fumes the next morning (another Corism for sure).

Drying the crates 
Drying the crates 

6. Once they are completely dry, add your clear protective coating to each crate. I did this once I actually built it, but I would recommend doing it crate by crate like the original staining.

7. Once they are completely dry (again, I waited another week), start assembling. I stacked them all again (like in step 1), marked where each one went, and then start drilling section by section. I started by drilling the bottom two together, and then added one crate at a time. I drilled in all 4 points of the shorter side (you can see the screws in the last photo).

Note: When you're drilling, be sure your drilling forward, not in reverse (I know, dad, you're cringing).

Screw into place
Screw into place

8. Carefully move your bookcase into the area you want it to live (or at least rest for the time being). Start decorating or take pictures!

You just built your very own bookcase, you carpenter you!


Obviously a celebratory drink needs to happen after you send your pictures to your friends and family.

book 5 of 50: the fiery cross by diana gabaladon

celebrating 2 years