It seems like reproduction wood crates are all the rage now. But why settle for faux attempt at a vintage wood crate when you can upcycle and personalize the real deal?

Step 1

Photo by: Dylan Eastman

Dylan Eastman

Scour Salvage Shops and Antique Stores

When we were completing a new fireplace and hearth project, there was a real need for a kindling holder that fit the design motif. So when we spotted this small wood barrel at our favorite antique barn, its new purpose was known right away. Personalizing an antique crate is incredibly easy. Whether it’s a desk organizing set of shallow crates or a book shelf made from old fruit boxes, you can add your own charm with wood burnt labeling or a custom design.

Step 2

Size and Print Your Design

Start by printing out your design on normal printer paper. Then position the design to the perfect spot and slip a piece of carbon transfer paper under it. (Yes, remember that carbon copy paper we all used before the digital age?) Tape it in place and trace the exterior perimeter with a ball-point pen.

Step 3

Photo by: Dylan Eastman

Dylan Eastman

Trace Design

When you have traced the entire design, lift one side and check to make sure the transfer was complete. If not you can lay it back down and continue in the light spots. When the outline is fully visible, remove the paper and tape.

Step 4

Do Straight Line First

Plug in a wood burning iron and allow it to fully heat. Using a flat tip, scorch the straight sections of the outline first. Don't hold the iron in one spot too long. Instead use fluid movements, you can come back to darken light areas later.

Step 5

Photo by: Dylan Eastman

Dylan Eastman

Fill in Outline

Continue filling in the design. Be sure to do this in an area with good ventilation and away from any smoke detectors. Also be sure to have a safe surface to set the iron on when not in use.

Step 6

Photo by: Dylan Eastman

Dylan Eastman

Even It Out

Occasionally clean the carbon off the tip with a damp rag. As the carbon builds up, it actually acts like an insulator and decreases the effectiveness of the iron. Continue filling in any light areas. The wood should have a slight and even depression at the scorched areas. Finally, clean up any waviness in the outline with the edge of the tip.