How to Build a Crate

This beautiful, rustic crate is a great way to add a customized storage solution to your home. Or you can use it as a creative Christmas tree stand like I did!

How to Build a Crate

As I was setting up my Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about fun Christmas tree stands. Last year I looked all over the place trying to find a basket that would work with my Christmas tree. But I could never find one with the right dimensions. So, last year I just draped a drop cloth around the bottom and called it a day.

Rustic Christmas Tree with Drop Cloth Tree Skirt

My Rustic Glam Christmas Tree 2012

As I was setting up my tree this year, I had a lightbulb moment – I’ll just make my own Christmas tree stand. I have pallets in the garage so so I decided to break one down and build a crate with the perfect measurements for my tree.

What You’ll Need:
1. Pallet boards {Or you can buy 1×4 pine boards at the hardware store. I used 12 boards at 21 inches long.}
2. 1×2 Pine board for the corners {I bought a 4-foot piece for less than $2. I cut it down to 4 – 1-foot pieces, because there’s a 1-foot space between the bottom of my tree and the floor.}
3. Wood glue
4. Nail gun with finishing nails
5. Stain {optional}
6. Stencil and paint {optional}

How to Build a Crate

First, I disassembled the pallet. I use a combo of hammering the boards loose and then cutting them with my reciprocating saw. Sometimes I can just use a hammer to knock the boards off, but other times it’s too hard.

How to Build a Crate from Pallets

Then I cut the boards down to 21 inches. My tree base is a 19″ square, so I just made the crate a little larger than the base. You’ll have to adapt yours to the size of your tree base. The piece I’m measuring in the above pic is my corner piece.

How to Build a Crate from Pallets

Now you’re ready to assemble all of your boards.

Step 1: Line up three of your slats and nail them into two corner pieces. Repeat. {I also used wood glue between each piece before I nailed them. This puppy ain’t coming apart. :)}

Step 2: Stand up the two side pieces and nail three slats into the corner pieces on either side.

I chose not to add a bottom to my crate since the tree is going to be sitting in it. But it would be easy to add slats to the bottom of the crate once you get all of the sides nailed together. I also decided to leave some space between each slat because I like the look and I planned to put a drop cloth in the crate to cover the tree base.

How to Build a Crate

Once I finished building the crate, I stained it with my favorite stain, Minwax’s Weathered Oak. And then I thought it would be cute to stencil a fun Christmas-themed “stamp” on the side. {I was inspired by this crate stamp at The Idea Room. I found her crate when I was looking for crate stamp inspiration. She made a crate for Christmas and used in another way!}

I chose the font “stencil.” Appropriate, don’t you think? :) I used contact paper and my Silhouette to create the stencil. See my post here about how to make your own.

How to Stencil a Pallet Crate

If you’re stenciling on a rough surface like wood, then you’ll want to use the Mod Podge trick and paint the Mod Podge over the letters before stenciling. This will make sure that if anything gets under the stencil, then it’ll be the Mod Podge and it will dry clear. Then when you paint your letters, you’ll get a crisp, clean line. I LOVE this method.

OK, so here comes a craft kind-of fail. The stenciled letters came out beautifully. But, they were too perfect for the worn, rustic crate look I wanted. So, I took my perfectly stenciled crate outside and sanded down the red letters. Except that by sanding it, the red paint made a lovely pinkish-red cloud around my pretty letters.

How to make a crate stamp

What do you think? Should I turn the crate around and leave the stencil in the back? Or show off my pink clouded stencil? :)

How to stencil a pallet crate

I was so bummed! But I still love my pallet crate tree stand, so either way is OK.

How to Build a Crate from Pallets


How to Build a Crate from Pallets

So, what do you think? Stencil or no stencil showing? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t miss out on the behind-the-scenes fun!

Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram


Click HERE to see where I party every week.


  1. Ginger says

    Featuring YOU today over on my blog. Thanks so much for linking up to {wow me} wednesday. :)

    Ginger @


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge