Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tutorial: Metal Milk Crate Coffee Table

   New coffee table for the living room: check.  Recognize those metal crates? They are from the Kane Country Flea Market from last month.  I got them for $5 each specifically to make a table like this.  This was my first time staining wood as well as my first time using polyurethane.  (Aww, she's growing up so fast.)

    I got this idea while I was on Pinterest a while ago.  It's from a great blog called A Beautiful Mess.  Once I found the metal milk crates, I knew that it was time to make this project a reality.  The full tutorial with lots of pictures and copious explanation about how to make this yourself is after the jump.  Enjoy!

First, assemble your supplies.  Most of the supplies are pictured below.
Here is what you need:
-two pieces of wood 48"x18"x3/4" 
-two metal milk crates
-four castors (two with brakes, two without)
-small can of stain in the color of your choice
-small can of polyurethane in the finish of your choice (I used satin)
-a pack of 10 NM/SE cable two hole straps
-box of at least 25 flat head screws, 3/4" or shorter
-rubber gloves
-steel wool and sandpaper
-lots of rags
-philips head screwdriver
-foam roller or foam paintbrush

    The first step is to stain the wood.  This was much easier than I was expecting. (Mostly because my dad showed me how.  Thanks, Dad!)  First, put on your rubber gloves.  Then just dip a rag and start wiping it on the wood.  If you aren't sure what color stain you want to use, try a test spot on a side that won't end up showing.  We got lucky and I liked the first stain that we tried.  Make sure you wipe off all of the excess stain so there are no streaks.
   Isn't she purdy?  I am really happy with the color of it.  Plus, I learned that staining wood is SO easy!  We let the stain dry for about 3 hours and then went down to check on it.  It was totally dry, so we moved on to the polyurethane.

   Isn't he so cute!?  That's a dad that loves to put polyurethane on wood!  So we poured about 1/3 of the polyurethane into a paint tray with a liner in it.  Then we used a foam roller to apply the polyurethane on one side of each of the pieces of wood.  We only put it on the two surfaces that will show.  We left it overnight to dry.  Then, with steel wool, sand down the rough, bubbly surface of the polyurethane.  Repeat this two more times so you have 3 coats on the wood.
    After the wood has its three coats and is dry, then it's time to put the castors on.  Measure and pencil the location you want for your castors.  Screw in the castors with the two locking castors on the same side, 4 feet apart.

Then it was time to decide how to arrange the metal crates.  Here are a few of the options I pondered.
Alternating directions, in the middle
Facing the same direction

Facing outwards
Alternating directions, all the way at the edge
   I went with centered, alternating directions.  It was an agonizing decision, full of moving crates ever so slightly and saying, "Is that better?"
   Once you place the crates and double check all of your measurements, take the metal cable straps and screw the screws in about half way.  Screw in both crates and then double check that all of the creates are still centered.
    I was glad that I waited on screwing these in all the way because I had to slightly readjust the placement of the crates.

    Tah-dah!  Halfway there.
   Now you are going to screw the crates into the underside of the other board. Notice, that the unfinished wood is where you will be screwing into.  Flip over the crate and castor/board onto the other board.
    Measure to make sure the crates are centered on the board.  To make sure that the two boards were lined up, I used a level and large paint stirrer to make sure the boards weren't misaligned.  Once you are happy with the placement, screw the cable straps on this side as well.

It's all done!

Here is a view of the finished product.  I love it!

Let's do the price break down:
$60 - 2 pieces of wood 48"x18"x3/4"
$2 - cable straps
$2 - box of 3/4" screws
$10 - 2 metal milk crates
$3 - stain
$3 - polyurethane
$8 - 4 castors
free - steel wool, sandpaper, rags, foam roller and brush (I had all of these things)

TOTAL: $88   

Not bad for a coffee table.  I was going to try to save on wood, but I loved the plankiness of the wood I bought.  It was totally worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Yea! Nice you got some Dad time as well. Nice design Katie!