rustic toy box thumb6

Corralling toys is always a struggle in our home.  It seems like the open topped chests work best for our kids to make a clean sweep quickly.  They can just toss their stuffed animals all into one, sports stuff in another, etc.  Old shipping crates with wheels make perfect toy boxes.  I found a free shipping crate on Craigslist and retrofitted into a toy box.   Inspired by Pottery Barn Kids Rustic Toy Box with Wheels (no longer sold), which retailed for $299, I created my own version.

Shipping Crate to Toy Box

Pottery Barn Kids Version (no longer sold):


Old shipping crate

4 — 1×3’s ($1.98 each at Lowes)

4 — wheel castors ($3.96 each at Lowes)

Dark Walnut Minwax Stain

pre-wood conditioner

16 #10 screws

air nailer with air gun

red paint sample: Valspar Heirloom Red in Satin ($2.94 at Lowes)

angled Purdy paintbrush

wood glue

chop saw

pencil for marking

tape measure

sander with varying grits of sandpaper

old T-shirt for applying stain

Minwax Wipe-On Poly


optional: Silhouette Cameo and vinyl

1.   I got this shipping crate free off Craigslist. They were about to throw them out. ROADKILL RESCUE! They actually had 4 more, I should have snaked them all.   What was I thinking? Bare minimum I could have recycled the wood. DOH! Moving on… This is what my shipping crate looked like when I got it.

shipping crate

2.   The first thing I did was sand all the stickers and writing off.   Then I tried to knock off just the 2” x 4” off the bottom but with it came the glued on 1” x 4”.   So I had to recut a 1” x 4” that I had laying in my garage to fit the bottom and wood glued and air nailed in place.

shipping crate 2

3.   Then I cut 1”x 4’s” down to frame all four sides of the front and back of the shipping crate wood gluing and air nailing in place.

shipping crate framed

4.   I decided to go for the rustic look so I kept the sides as is.   I also liked how it had little handles built in on the sides, which would make it easier to lug around the room once I added caster wheels.   What was too rustic for me was the unsightly top though.   So I added more 1” x 4”s mitered in the corners to give it more of a finished look and hide the edges of the plywood.

shipping crate 3
wood toy box

{Squuuueal! Are you catching the vision yet?}

5.   So before I nailed the top pieces in place I decided it would be easier if I stained the inside first.   So I used Dark Walnut by Minwax applying it with the grain of the wood with an old t-shirt.   Since the inside was birch there was no need for pre-wood conditioner because it is a harder wood.   Then I glued and nailed the top pieces in place.

wooden toy chest

6.   Using an electric drill I predrilled holes and then screwed in the casters to the bottom of the crate.


7.   I did give all the pine pieces a coat of Minwax pre-wood conditioner so my stain would go on evenly — VERY IMPORTANT step when working with soft woods.   Then I added stain to the rest of the piece except for the middle section of the front and back.

stained toy chest

8.   With an angled paintbrush I cut in and painted two coats onto the front and back middle sections of the chest using a sample premixed with Heirloom Red Valspar paint.

rustic storage box

9. With an old T-shirt I applied two coats of Minwax Wipe-on Poly to the entire piece sanding in between coats to apply a nice even finish.

10. To make it look more like the Pottery Barn Kids Rustic Toy Chest I added vinyl.   I actually cut out the vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo to read ”Allan Clark Electric Co, Taylor, MI”.   That is the name of my son’s great grandpa’s company and Isaac Allan was named after Grandpa Allan so I thought it would give the piece a little bit more meaning.

personalized toy chest

Can you believe it??

storage crate recycle
monogrammed toy chest
rustic toy chest

As you can see the sides are a bit darker than the trim I added because one is birch and one is pine.   I knew that going into it but I decided to use two different woods anyway.   I think it adds to the rustic feel of the piece and I love it.

rustic toy box

From shipping crate to rolling toy chest.   I would say that is quite a

Roadkill Rescue!

Would you like to see another idea for repurposing a crate?  How about an outdoor crate storage table?

crate-side-table (1)

Do you want more kid’s storage ideas?

Playroom Reveal chock full of storage solutions

Playroom Organization and Decor Ideas

Wii Game Storage

wii game storage4

Old 1980s Parquet table turned into an awesome Lego Table

How to make a Lego Table by Infarrantly Creative

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  1. Wow…this is the first I’ve heard of Katie Davis. Thank you for posting that video. I watched the full speech on You Tube and started my morning with tears. What an amazing and special woman! I will be sharing her message on my own blog this week. God bless!

  2. Awesome project Beckie. I love it. I always want to put wheels on things, but I’m afraid my boys will take it for a ride down the stairs 🙂 Fabulous job.

  3. You are so amazingly talented!! Makes me want to get a bunch of power tools 🙂 I think these would make great outdoor planters too. I didn’t watch the video yet but that sounds pretty amazing.

  4. The transformation is amazing. Your are very talented. I’m going hunting for shipping crates:)

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