I needed some way to display my wares at the craft fair. Not having a lot of extra time (see above) or money (see above), I wanted to do something fast and easy. I was inspired by these two guys below that I have used in vignettes around the holidays. The chippy red bench came from my sister's garage sale about 10 years ago. And the green crate came from someplace like JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby.
Next I did a search on Pinterest for crates. Don't you just love Pinterest? Of course, I found some inspiration.
First I found this DIY crate project from Vintage Chic.
Next I found some inspiration for creating a vinegar stain from The Money Pit
I decided that I wanted to create some crates that looked like they were left in a barn. I gathered my materials, which included: two unfinished crates from Michaels, apple cider vinegar, a mason jar, a foam brush, some pennies, tea bags, and some steel wool. The crates were normally $12.99, but I used a 40% off coupon for each (purchased on different days) and a 20% off total purchase coupon. I found the vinegar, tea, jar, and brush at Walmart. The steel wool came from Home Depot in the paint department.
Don't you love the patina showing on Abe? I have another project with these coming up in the future that I can't wait to show you.
Step 1. Make the stain. Fill the jar with the apple cider vinegar. Add the steel wool, pennies, and tea. The website I found didn't do it exactly like this. But I like to experiment, so I came up with my own stain cocktail recipe. I left it sitting on my counter for 2-3 days. You have to be careful with the tea, though, because it will mold. I took the tea bags out after a few hours.
Step 2. Sand the rough edges. (Oops, I didn't picture my sanding block!) You will want to decide how much to sand, depending on how you're using the crates. I wanted mine to be rough and old looking, so I only sanded the rough edges and splinters.
Step 3. Find a spot where you can get messy. This may be a DIY stain made with materials from home, but it is a stain. And it does. Stain.
Step 4. Give the steel wool in the jar a few dunks up and down to get all of the fantastic color mixing through. Dip your foam brush in and, going with the grain of the wood, start brushing it on. The more coats you do the darker it gets. Don't worry if it doesn't look like it's doing anything at first. The wood reacts with the ingredients and starts to change color. I did three coats on mine.
Here's the before and after.
This was one of the easiest projects I've done. When I have time, I plan on adding some wording to the sides of the crates, either my company logo or something utilitarian like, "Peaches." Don't feel like you have the time for this project? No worries, you can purchase weathered looking crates online!
P.S. Here is a great site to get steel wool from, delivered right to your door! Red Devil 630-0316 Steel Wool Course #3 (Google Affiliate Ad)