Crate Coffee Table Tutorial

Crate Coffee Table Tutorial
Rustic and Rugged Boasts This Coffee Table

Use this crate coffee table tutorial as a guide to easily build a unique coffee table of your own. This frugal coffee table can be made from leftover wood and lumber that may be on hand, and requires little skill for assembly. It also works well with many design styles. Look for free scrap lumber on Craigslist to repurpose for this project.

A Brief Tutorial on the Crate-Style Coffee Table

Use Repurposed Materials

Simple Construction

Adjust Spacing as Necessary

The overall dimensions of this crate are as follows:
Support legs: 24 1/2" H (1 1/2" square)
Front/Back/Top: 36" L
Sides: 28" W
Overall Height with Top: 25"

Items Required and Simple Instructions:

  • Wood planks and wood for legs (can use planks for this)
  • Nails and a hammer
  • Screws and a drill (optional)
  • Wood glue (optional) - can use this as you begin attaching planks to legs
  • Table or circular saw
  • Various hand tools, chain to mar or gouge wood for an aged finish (optional)
  • Paint (leftover paint of any color works)
  • Sand paper (optional)

  1. Cut four equal length legs from material on hand or use 1 1/2 square strips as I have done.
  2. Cut an equal amount of wood planks for the front and back.
  3. Cut an equal amount of wood planks for each side.
  4. Do the sides first. Place two legs to span the width of the first plank and set them flush with the top edge of the plank; secure in place. Old nails were hammered through the planks into the legs, so they would be visible and add more rustic character.
  5. Continue adding and attaching planks until you have one side finished. You can play with spacing between planks as necessary (see images above). With this particular piece, the planks for the front and back were attached flush together. The planks on the sides were spaced apart.
  6. Create the other side in equal fashion.
  7. Attach the front and back planks to the completed sides. These planks cover the sides (extend flush to the sides). You will need a helper to hold the sides up as you attach your first plank. Do one entire side first. You can use a drill and screws to quickly form the structure. Go back in with nails to finish up and retain the rustic look if you desire.
  8. Attach top planks. They should be the same width as the front and back. You may need to rip the width of the final plank so it doesn't extend over the edge of the coffee table's front or back.
  9. Antique the wood by drilling holes, gouging with tools, or beating with chain to create dents (all with caution)!
  10. Paint and finish as desired. A flat charcoal was lightly painted on with a wide soft brush, allowing bare wood to show through in spots. Sandpaper can be used to weather the paint finish and expose more wood (if desired). This looks nice when done along edges for that aged, worn look

Aged, Weathered Finish

Use tools and chain to achieve this beat-up finish!

Light brush strokes and sandpaper help achieve this look.

There you have it. A simple coffee table that can be created with items found around your home. I love the rugged, utilitarian, no frills aggressiveness of this piece; perfect for industrial, rustic, and contemporary spaces alike.

Hopefully this crate coffee table tutorial will provide you with a basis to develop other great coffee table ideas that you can share!

See these other frugal coffee table ideas.

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