Tag Archives: crate

Beer crate to kindling box

Last week I finished a little project which was free and very simple, but so useful and satisfying! Many of you will have seen sneak peeks on instagram (@duckeggblueblog) or Facebook, but here’s the step by step process with all the details!

I started with a beer crate, which came from a little liquor store down the road and around the corner a bit. I expected to pay a few dollars for it, but they were happy to give it to me for free. Ask around – I’ve heard some places will charge up to $7.

When I got it, I wasn’t sure what, if anything I was going to do with it. But being free, I thought I may as well attack it with the sander to start with. Just to make the beer branding a little less obvious.


Somewhere along the way I thought I’d give it the dipped look, so I didn’t worry about sanding it back too much. I’m a bit slow on the uptake with creating a dipped piece of furniture (although my dining chairs have a similar look – and caused a bit of controversy over on Apartment Therapy!).0604_7123

I started with a coat of primer, and decided it didn’t need a top coat. I don’t want it to look too polished (it’s a kindling box, not a lingerie drawer) so the roughness of the primer is perfect. And there is just a teensy bit of show through with the ABC branding and wood grain, which I’m delighted with!0604_7124

This was all done one sunny afternoon when we were all desperate just to be outside for a bit. We’ve had a lot of rain lately and moods are washing up with the grass seed. We are not good at winter around here, but this new kindling box is helping a little!

The crate is way too small for a firewood box (which I originally thought it might be) but perfect for kindling and paper. So I built a divider (which also covers the gaps in the bottom of the crate to prevent the kindling dropping out) by screwing a piece of scrap ply at right angles to another. Rough… really rough… but it does the job. And you can’t see it when the box is full of kindling and paper!0604_7126

I did consider adding castors (these are authentic vintage! It’s truly amazing what one can find in the husbands garage!) but a friend brought up a very good point that it would only encourage the kids to trundle it all over the house. Totally right. So we’ll give those a miss. They would have looked awesome, but I prefer my kindling and firewood mess to be confined in one spot. So the retro castors are back in the depths of the man cave, until I think of something else to do with them.0604_7128

One beer crate turned kindling box (I keep wanting to call it a firestarter box but it sounds a bit wrong?!) – nice huh?!0604_7131

And here it is insitu alongside the Rondo log basket which I bought from The Warehouse (one day after the sale so it cost me $50 instead of $30… too  s l o w  for the discount).0604_7139

I’ve grown used to the fireplace now and barely notice it’s motley appearance, but if you’re new to this blog you can see what happened here. The hearth definitely needs some tile, but the brick surround may just stay as it is. I kinda like it!

Here’s a couple of gratuitous close ups and birds eye views.0604_7142

0604_7143Love how such cheap and easy projects can be just as satisfying as the more costly and time consuming ones!

Note: The wardrobe poll is sitting at over 80% for freestanding! Wow! It’s still running, so go and have your say if you want to join the argument. Me: “Huh! Over 80% for free standing!” Andre: “Yeah, but how many times have you voted?!” Me: “None! I promise!”.

We’re swinging!

I’m pretty sure I mentioned a DIY project for the kids Christmas present? More than a month later I’ll tell you about it shall I?

There are a dwindling number of old nail boxes in Andre’s garage and I’m doing my best to wrangle them out of there for higher purposes. I’ve sidelined three of ’em for my gardening supplies and managed to empty another into a junky old red tub and promote it to chief swing.

As you can imagine, Andre wasn’t having anything to do with it so for once he let me be with the drill and hacksaw, so be I did.

Here’s my supplies for turning one old nail box into the coolest kids swing in the ‘hood.


My first step as paranoia mama was to strengthen all joints with way too many screws. I just want to swing my kids, not take them to A&E.


Then, with chubby legs in mind I measured out some leg holes.


With corner holes drilled I got the coping saw sawing (the least fun part) but halfway down I ran into a problem… ie. the top of the box/swing. Hence the saw blade duct taped between two pieces of scrap timber. Even less fun going with that flexi blade that kept jamming. Still no help from Andre (fair enough… he was busy welding the gate frame). Haha… look at all those screws! It looks like I was trying to bling this swing but I promise it’s all about safety first.


Muttering… perseverance… more muttering…. more perseverance… and two chubby leg holes got done! I filed off the edges a bit so they weren’t all rough and nasty. Those chubby legs are precious.


Aaahh lookee who we have here now for the fun part?! It’s not every day you get to drill through a tree branch. Actually I was just too short for this – I got to swing off the branch instead as an attempt at creating some resistance for the drill to get through.


Two eye bolts later and we have one tree ready for hanging a swing. As ruthless as this method may seem it is apparently the kindest way to hang a swing from a tree. Drilling right through a branch damages it less than tying rope around it. Ring bark is just not nice.


Because this little project (of mine) was so much more awesome than building fences Andre couldn’t give it up now so he carried on with drilling into the swing to attach the rope. Mama’s second safety request was that the rope run twice under the bottom of the swing as backup to those blinging screws. Phew! To provide maximum in-swing room (comfort is second after safety) we opted to run the rope down the outside of the sides, loop it through the bottom corners, across the bottom and up again. Which meant drilling the bottom corners through on an angle…


Which was a bit much for the on-the-way-out cordless drill. Time to bring out the big guns:


Because it’s a skill every DIY dad needs to master Andre chose to splice the rope at the swing end. It’s also stronger than a knot (safety step #3). Splicing by YouTube:


And finally the grand hanging…


And maiden voyage!


Sheer delight! I think she was copying my face!


Update: If you’ve come here via Apartment Therapy or Flipboard, welcome! If you want to see some more DIY projects for kids, we’ve also made an Eames style kids table, an easy sandpit (and again!) and a truly gorgeous play kitchen. Thanks for looking!