Finished Product

How to Build a Coffee Table out of Wine Crates (i.e. The Ultimate Procrastination)

Today I was supposed to write a deck. But I didn’t. I’ve been traveling a ton for work lately and lost the start of my deck when my computer crashed on the plane home from Scottsdale last night, so the absolute last thing I wanted to do today was recreate that deck. So I built a coffee table instead. If that’s not procrastination, I don’t know what is. Here’s what I did:

What you need:

  • 4 – 5 wine crates (found on Craigslist from a woman who gets them from wineries in Napa)
  • 1 piece plywood (1/2” x 26.5” x 26.5”)
  • Pliers (needle nose are ideal)
  • Hair dryer
  • Razor
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Wood stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Wheels
  • Drill + 32 1” screws

How to build:

Step 1: Clean up crates using needle nose pliers to remove all nails/metal staples. For the stickers, use the hairdryer to dissolve stickiness and the razor to gently scrape them off. Sand where necessary.

Step 2: Mix stain to desired color. I mixed 2 parts weathered oak with 1 part grey. Stir. Learn that stain does not mix well like paint does. Use plywood to test color as this surface won’t be seen once built. Learn that just a drop of grey stain will overpower any other wood stain. Give up and just use dark wood stain on crates. Let dry completely.

Step 3: Put crates together in desired shape. While I made a square with all four boxes facing out (i.e. leaving room for books and storage), you can also make into a rectangle and/or face half of the boxes in so that you have storage on two ends and flat surfaces on the other two. Use eight screws to secure crates together. Screw bottom four screws first to lock crates in place, flip over, then screw the remaining four screws to make the crates fit tightly together. Watch alignment and realign crates mid-screw as needed.

Step 4: Flip crates so that the bottom of the table is facing up. Place plywood over crates and secure using eight more screws. Start with the four corners, then secure by adding one screw in the middle of each side. Give a quick sanding over the screws to remove any splintering.



Step 5: Attach wheels to the plywood base using remaining 16 screws.

Step 6: Fill center hole as desired. I placed a fifth crate with lower walls in the center, but you could also leave open or fill with a piece of plywood, a plant, whatever.

Step 7: Use coffee table to hold well-earned beer.

The end.