Repurpose a vintage crate into a trusty tool for garden harvest that doubles as a drying rack for herbs and other gatherings.
A vintage fruit crate inspired this project. A comparable wooden crate will work well. The garden tote design serves multiple uses: The open weave of the hardware cloth bottom allows you to rinse just-picked produce in the tote -- the water drains away readily. Turn the tote over and use it as a drying rack for herbs or seed heads.
Hardware cloth is galvanized wire mesh with 1/4- or 1/20-inch openings that's available in various-length rolls from home improvement stores. Wear heavy-duty gloves when working with hardware cloth to protect your skin.
Measure bottom of crate. Add 1 inch to the width and length (for a 3/4-inch overlap on each side), and use masking tape to mark dimensions on hardware cloth. Use metal snips to cut hardware cloth.
Use pry bar to carefully remove bottom boards of crate. Remove any remaining nails or staples using hammer or screwdriver. Use metal snips to cut lengths of screen/shelf edging to fit outer bottom edges of crate.
Fold down the four overlapping edges of mesh, fitting it snugly over bottom of crate. Cut away overlapped corners to ease and smooth the fit.
Position piece of precut edging in place on an overlapping edge of hardware cloth and nail to crate using 1/2- or 1-1/4-inch nails, depending on thickness of board. Repeat to edge bottom perimeter of crate.
Drill two wood screws through ends of each side board and into end boards to reinforce structure.
Apply a coat of stain/sealer to entire crate using a paintbrush. Let dry overnight. Apply second coat of stain/sealer; let dry. Attach a drawer pull to each end of tote.