I wanted a centerpiece for my table where I could display some greenery. Vases with flowers are so beautiful when you have fresh flowers, but that doesn't happen all the time. And I didn't want a big bouquet of faux flowers because I really like the natural look of plants. I also didn't want to mess with real plants indoors because I can barely take care of my garden in the front and back yard! I had a crate from six years ago that I got when I ordered organic tomatoes online. I kept it and it was usually used to store cleaning products or whatever we had extra of at the time. It was just a plain crate, all I did was stain it with the same dark espresso stain I used on the dining room table, then went over it with the same gray stain. It absorbed the stain really well and I like the weathered look I achieved. I'll break it down here in steps.
Above you see the crate before I did anything. To start I just wiped it down with my water and vinegar spray to get any gunk off, then I took my sander and roughed up all of the surfaces. I also used it to round the edges off a bit to make it look a little older and worn. Then I used a rag to apply the first coat of stain. I used Minwax wood stain in Espresso. I let it dry (not as long as a should have, I just waited an hour) then I went over it with Rustoleums Sunbleached, which is definitely my new favorite stain. It just adds this beautiful wash of gray to make things look weathered and old. Plus you can apply poly or polycrylic after only an hour! Much better than waiting 8-24 hours.
This crate actually soaked up so much of the stain it turned out lighter than I had originally wanted. To apply the sunbleached stain I rubbed it on with a rag and instantly wiped it off with a clean one, but like I said the wood absorbed it instantly so there wasn't much to rub off. After an hour I went ahead and applied a couple of coats of polycrylic to seal everything in. I use the Minwax polycrylic in the clear satin finish. For this project I used the spray kind that comes in a can. I normally don't like using that one, but for projects like this it actually works great and is much faster than applying with a brush. Just be sure to shake the can every 10 seconds while you're using it, and have a cloth to wipe the nozzle frequently. It really can make quite the mess.
After I stained it I felt like something was missing. I thought adding handles would add the the rustic look, plus it's made it much easier to move this around. I bought a pack of black cheap plastic handles from Ikea, then I spray painted them copper. Once the spray paint had dried I took twine and a hot glue gun and wrapped the middle portion of the handles. I love how it turned out, the twine adds so much texture.
Am I the only one who finishes projects at night and then takes pictures in horrible lighting? Sorry about that. But the bad lighting does show the colors of the crate well! You can see there is a slight greenish tint which I actually love and again it just adds to that distressed rustic look that I was going for. The plants inside are four of the Fejka plants from Ikea. I loved the two toned look of the plant, it just seemed pretty realistic and it's great how full the centerpiece looks.
There it is on the table, I'm so happy with how it turned out. It's casual and earthy and I really like nice pop of green in the dining room, which is otherwise very plain and neutral. Considering I've had the crate for six years, I already owned the stain, twine, spray paint, and polycrylic the total cost for this project was $25 and that's the cost of the plants and the two handles. Hopefully you have a few things on hand and can pull this project together as quickly as I was able to. I really do love DIY projects I can complete in a day!