Create This DIY Shelving Unit Using Wood Crates

Build your own vertical storage for grab-and-go items like pet gear, books, sunglasses, and hats.

woman diy crate cabinet dog numbers plant shiplap
Photo: Helen Norman
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Katie Alberter of Little House of Four blog is all about thrifty decorating and DIYs. When she couldn't find the storage lockers she wanted, Katie built them herself for less than $60. Customize the DIY storage unit with your favorite paint or stain color and house numbers or letters that hold meaning to your family.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Paintbrush
  • 1 Foam stain brush
  • 1 Drill/driver


  • 3 Wood crates
  • 3 1/4-inch plywood cut to fit for doors
  • 3 1/4-inch plywood cut to fit for shelves
  • 12 1/4-inch square dowel, cut into 1-inch lengths, for shelf supports
  • 1 White paint
  • 4 2x10 cut to fit for bases
  • 1 Wood stain
  • 30 1 1/4-inch wood screws
  • 3 Cabinet knobs
  • 6 Aluminum house numbers
  • 1 Fast-curing clear wood glue
  • 12 Brads
  • 6 Cabinet hinges
  • 3 Magnetic door latches
  • 1 Furniture anchor


  1. Paint and Stain

    crate cabinet diy crate paintbrush white paint
    Nathan Schroder

    Paint crates, doors, and shelf supports. Stain bases and shelves. Allow to dry. To change up the look, paint the wood black for a sleek finish or a different fun color for each child.

  2. Attach Bases and Crates

    crate cabinet diy bases crates electric screwdriver drill
    Nathan Schroder

    Screws bases and crates together. Katie used leftover shelving with a decorative routed edge for her stained bases, but plain wood planks will work.

  3. Add Knobs and Numbers

    Drill holes for knobs on doors. Screw on knobs, and glue on numbers (to avoid screws poking through the 1/4-inch-thick doors). Fake the look of screws for the numbers by drilling shallow holes for decorative brads, then glue the brads in place.

  4. Install Hinges and Latches

    crate cabinet diy glue clamp door hinge
    Nathan Schroder

    Measure and mark locations for hinges, then screw one side of hinge in place on the crate. Because the plywood doors are thin, use the fast-curing glue to attach the other side of the hinge to the door. Clamp until glue dries. Repeat for remaining hinges. Glue magnetic latches to the doors and crates.

  5. Attach Supports

    crate cabinet diy crate supports glue shelves
    Nathan Schroder

    Glue four supports inside each crate, 5 inches from the top. Allow to dry, then set shelves on the top.

  6. Mount to Wall

    For safety, mount the unit to the wall with a furniture anchor.

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