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Question: Orange Crate Crafting Ideas?

10 December 2011 5,713 views 20 Comments

by rhonda

Some things are just too good to toss in the trash, even if you're not sure yet what you're going to do with them.  On our Facebook page, reader Jennifer S. posted a photo and asked us a question about some trash just waiting to become treasures.  She writes:

Our family loves clementines and I probably buy 2 boxes a week once the come into season and drop in price. But we end up with a ton of these wooden boxes. I know they have craft potential, but just can't find it. What are some creative ideas to do with these? I'm completely willing to take them apart.

If you had a growing collection of these wooden orange crates, how would you use them?

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  • JanM said:

    I’ve painted them or covered them in paper and modpodge to use for toy storage. One is currently upsidedown and draped in fabric on my bookshelf as part of a nativity display. Painted, they work well for gift baskets as well.

  • Cyn said:

    As Jan suggested, I use them as gift baskets. I dry slices of citrus fruits and make little gingerbread people out of that cinnamon-applesauce dough. I cover the boxes in crumpled up (and then opened out again) brown paper (like from lunch or shopping bags) and then I decorate with things like the dried fruit, gingerbread people, buttons, and rickrack. I also like to use torn scraps of fabric (I love gingham with this look) as ribbon and a bow. I fill this with my homemade cookies, hot chocolate mix, jams, and so on and give as a gift.

  • Cadi said:

    This probably is obvious and boring, but I use mine as planters. I line them with a garbage bag and cut off the excess. Then spread a tiny layer of small pebbles. Next is some soil, then I put in my plants. I mistly use little cactus plants or herbs. They sit along shelves over my kitchen sink, in the large window. I had my hubby put shelves up across the window just for my plants in the clementine crates. I also use them to c arry baked goods when I visit someone. I quick sew a finished hem on each side of a square of fabric so that it makes a nice liner to the crate.

  • Kei @ Unfortunately Oh! said:

    I’d take them apart and use the thin wood on the sides/base to make other things (smaller boxes, wooden Christmas tree ornaments or heart decorations, etc etc). With the thicker pieces of wood on the corners, I’d paint them and then paint on a word or phrase (I’m seeing lots of ‘Peace’ and ‘Joy’ and ‘Xmas’ on this kind of craft lately!) and sand it down on the edges for a distressed, shabby chic look.
    Alternatively I’d turn a box into a wooden tool caddy, depending on the size–increase the height of the sides with part of another box, then add a handle. And then paint to get rid of the original branding :)
    Woodstained/painted, turned upside-down and upholstered, I guess one of those boxes would make a pretty nifty, cheap footstool, too!

  • Kathryn Fertick said:

    I love all the ideas above. My first thought when I looked at the picture was that if it was all wood product of some sort- to use them as storage, and they look stackable. In order to easily access what was inside them, I’d take off one of the sides- the wider side probably. You could paint them if you wanted too.

  • Danie said:

    Like a previous poster, I mod podge it. But first I remove the corner posts and re-attach them lower creating legs. I then mod podged it with pages from an old book. Once my daughter decided to take possession of one of the finished boxes, she added animal stickers to the finished box. I also used a finished box as part of a spa set.

  • Shannon said:

    Well if you have small children you could make doll beds from them http://www.funinthemaking.net/category/reuse-clementine-box/
    If you have cats you could save them for beds. I would also do what JanM and Cyn said, re-use it as a gift box and put homemade bath salts/soak in decorative jars with ribbons, cookie in jar mixes, soup in a jar mixes, fruits.

  • miss_tree said:

    be sure to check the boxes for mold before you use them!

  • Lea-Ann said:

    This year I am spray painting them and filling them with apples and one can of caramel (you know, the kind where you put the sweetened condensed milk cans in the crock pot all day and it turns into caramel?). Typically, though, I like to use them as firestarters. They work great in the fireplace turned upside down. The corners burn long enough to crank it up pretty good and the thin wood lights easily enough.

  • Robin said:

    An easy, practical use is to turn them on one side and, voila, you’ve got a bookshelf!

  • Aetheling said:

    I wonder if maybe longer pieces of wood could be attached to the sides to turn them into something between a stack of storage bins and shelves (describing this poorly)? Or flip them on one side, attach a ruler or thin piece of wood to bottom posts and use as a bookshelf?

  • Anna said:

    I used to read this blog – http://www.juniorsociety.com/ – until they stopped updating :( But they have a whole section dedicated to crafts using empty boxes from clementines, including a little one’s kitchenette set. Super cute and fun! :)

  • Patricia said:

    Stand them up on the side and make each box a different room in a portable dollhouse, a different outdoor location, vacation spot or season. The kids can use their toys, your old scrap fabric to decorate, paint a picture to use as wallpaper, print small photos for portraits on the walls, use little household items to make furniture or trees etc.

  • marissa said:

    I painted the sides with writing using acrylic paint, used sharpies to decorate the solid wood sides to match the room’s decor, sprayed it with sealant, then filled the crate with some straw and two candles (also from the dollar store) and displayed them as decorations with a rustic feel. I don’t think I’d recommend burning the candles while in it, though because it has the potential to be very flammable!

  • Annarella said:

    You can make some really nice butterknives and spatulas out of the sides. Just jigsaw the shape out, sand like crazy and treat with a non toxic oil.

  • Wonder Mom said:

    My awesomely talent friend created a couple of baby doll bed set for my girls using Clementine crates (You can see the sets she made for the girls here:


    How she created these beds can be found over here:

    Hope you enjoy her creativity!

  • Kristin NWGA said:

    I have used them to organize my kitchen cabinets and pantry. I used the crates for holding spices, measuring cups/spoons, medicine, rice mixes, jello and seasoning packets. I just painted the sides with acrylic paint, then labeled the (I used the pencil/paper transfer method with a sharpie to label them).

  • karen said:

    I use them to display my homemade crafts at fairs.Line em with tissue paper , let it hang over the edge a little bit. Or if you are a paper crafter (like me) You can use them to store bling and embellishments.

  • Sarah said:

    As a student, I turned one into a lap desk. Turn the crate over and use tacks to attach a layer of batting and sturdy fabric, or thin carboard. Or paint canvas with magnetic or chalkboard paint and make it a car game center for kids.

  • Susan Henry said:

    I’ve turned two of them into doll beds using leftover materials.
    Gave one to a father last week for his three year old daughter and he said I could easily sell them for $30.