Wood Crate Rolling Cart

Lori Greco
by Lori Greco
3 Materials
Wood crates are so purposeful, well constructed, and inexpensive. Group them together and add some rolling casters and you have unique, rustic storage piece.
I’m in the process of helping friends redesign their basement and we needed a long, narrow piece with good storage, to fit a teenagers’ style, that was both rustic and industrial. This rolling cart made from wood crates was the perfect solution.
You can find wood crates everywhere – craft stores like Michael’s or home supply stores like Home Depot. And they’re often on sale. They’re constructed pretty well for an inexpensive crate. But I really love the fact that they’re a little crude and imperfect. In other words, they have potential.
You’ll need the following materials:

• Wood crates – I used 6

• Wood pieces for top and bottom. I bought a piece of 1″ thick common board and had it cut into 2 pieces to fit.

• Four 2″ swivel industrial casters & screws

• Paint and/or stain

• Wood glue

• Sandpaper, electric sander

• Tools: nails, screwdriver, hammer, tape measure, drill
1. Using your wood glue, attach the crates together how you would like them to go. I used 6 crates and did 2 rows of 3.
2. Use clamps (or chip clips!) to hold the crates in place until the glue is dry.
3. I also nailed the crates together for extra support. I put one in each corner wherever 2 crates same together.
4. Attach the top and bottom pieces of wood the same way – with glue and nails. When all the glue is dry, sand the entire piece inside and out. I used an electric sander to make this process much easier and quicker. You’ll need to sand any small areas – such as hard to reach corners and inside the handles – by hand though. Be sure to wipe down the crates when done.
5. I decided to paint the cart with two different finishes. The walls in my friends’ basement are Behr French Silver so I used the same color on the inside of this piece. I wanted a different finish for the outside to create a two-tone effect so I used a water-based, semi-gloss pecan stain for the outside. My friends installed a shiplap accent wall with different shades of stained wood. This wall is so cool and I wanted this rolling cart to work with both this wall and the painted walls. If you opt for this technique, it is definitely more time consuming and you’ll need a little more patience – but I think the effect is almost as cool as their shiplap wall!
6. To do this technique, paint the insides your paint color. I started off using painter’s tape but it didn’t stick very well to the unfinished wood. So I opted to just paint it freehand and be very careful at the edges.
It needed 2 coats and be sure to get the areas inside the handles and between the slats. After the paint was dry, I sanded down any of the unfinished areas where the paint seeped through.
7. Next, I stained the outside, top and bottom with the pecan stain. I added a coat of semi-glass clear to protect the stain too.
8. Once it was dry, I turned the piece over and attached the casters in each of the corners with 0.75″ screws. I drilled a start hole then manually screwed the casters in.
Now you have a unique rolling cart with lots of separated storage – and a really cool color combination.
Suggested materials:
  • Wood crates   (sandpaper)
  • Paint & stain   (wood glue)
  • Nails   (common board)
Lori Greco
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 10 questions
  • Adriana Al Adriana Al on Jun 14, 2018

    Do you think this will hold and be strong enough as a kids book shelf in a classroom?

  • Irene Gronewald Irene Gronewald on Mar 04, 2019

    how much were the crates, they are pretty small at walmart, so total cost of project, with castors, around 150.00, not counting paint and stain?

  • Maxine Lis Maxine Lis on Apr 04, 2019

    What is the name of the stain you used?

Join the conversation
2 of 69 comments
  • Irene Gronewald Irene Gronewald on Mar 04, 2019

    I will buy 4 crates and a piece of wood to go along the top,space the crates on each side, two stacked room enough for me to sit..viola!!! a desk

  • Sonia R Sonia R on Mar 15, 2019

    Great idea & very versatile! Going to try this in my mud room without casters as shelves😊