Skip to Content

DIY Storage Boxes: Turn (Free) Wood Pallets Into Amazing Crates

How to build a large pallet wood crate on wheels

When we first started to design our children’s craft or homeschool room closet, we knew we would stop the shelves 2 feet off the ground. We debated about what to create for the floor. As we were thinking about this we saw a huge pile of books in a laundry basket in our basement and knew we wanted to create a large storage wooden storage crate to help keep our basement from not getting overtaken by toys and books.

If you have young children, then you know how easily this can happen. We have found the more specific places we have to put things, the better. And a higher chance that our children may actually put things back where they belong.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy here. 

What should the DIY crate design be?

We knew we needed this large crate to be on wheels. I shopped around and was debating about using a premade crate that you can get anywhere.  However, the biggest issue was that they would not be tall enough for our space. 

So what do you do when you can’t find what you want…

DIY of course! In this case, a LARGE DIY wooden crate on wheels from a pallet (since we had the wood).

Sounds easy enough right…

How big is an average or normal wood pallet?

An average pallet is 40″ x 48″. It took almost all of the wood from two (2) pallets to build our crate.

wooden pallets used for diy projects

What can you make out of one pallet?

Oh there are so many things that people love to make out of reclaimed wood. Not only are you recycling, but you most likely are getting the wood for free. And who doesn’t love that!

  1. DIY Art display 
  2. DIY artwork: you can stain or paint something simple to create a one of kind work.
  3. Pallet Wine Rack (check out the one my husband made before this blog even existed)
  4. Storage crates 
  5. Outdoor Rockwall or toy (we used new wood for ours in our backyard, but have seen amazing outdoor toy ideas using pallet wood)
  6. Small end table for your deck
  7. Pallet wood furniture: think benches and sectionals.
  8. Wood shelf
  9. Raised garden bed (again we went with real cedar for ours)
  10. Mail holder for your entrance

Luckily my husband has access to crates that normally are getting thrown away. We have a pile in our backyard that we have saved for just in case.

Quick Pallet Tip: Make sure that you are always getting permission to take crates, etc. The last thing you want is to get into trouble for thinking you were taking free wood.

With a little elbow grease, you can create pallet DIY projects to fit your needs. 

Pallet wood being taken apart

More Pallet Finding Tips

Most construction or industrial businesses have leftover pallets and you should be able to find some for free or close to free.

You can also look on Craig’s list or in your local Buy-Sell-Trade Facebook Group (learn the lingo of these groups in this post).

How to build a storage crate out of a pallet

Now you can modify these plans to create a wooden box of any size. Just note this DIY box project ended up taking more time than originally thought. We have found that pallet wood, while free, does require a decent amount of prep. 

In hindsight, we are still happy we did this box project, even if we couldn’t believe how long this took! I would say this happens to my husband regularly.

Luckily we now have a very large storage crate that we can add to our children’s craft room. So no one said DIY is always easy, but you do end up with something custom that would have cost a lot more to purchase. 

Supplies & tools needed

Two (2) pallets

Our pallets measured (overall) 40” wide x 48” tall

Two (2) claw hammers to take the pallet apart

Titebond II Wood Glue

Tape Measure

Air compressor For Brad Nails Or Screw Gun and Screws

Circular Saw

Palm Sander / Sandpaper for a palm sander


Spray-on Poly

Four (4) casters or wheels + appropriately sized nuts and bolts (we used ¼” diameter bolts

Drill and drill bits depending on caster,  nut & bolt size

Now let’s build this DIY wooden storage box on wheels

1. Decide how big you want your crate to be (our crate measures 19”s wide x 22”s deep x 22”s tall. This size crate required two the wood from two (2.00) full-size pallets

2. Depending on the size of your DIY crate, you will need to acquire 1 or 2 pallets. If you are lucky you can find oak pallets. Remember you will be making five sides (four sides + the bottom).

3. Do not waste any time sanding or cleaning the pallets until you have taken them apart.

4. The pallets will have or should have three (3) vertical strips underneath the horizontal “strips”. Separate the horizontal “strips” from the vertices.

Two claw hammers break apart a pallet

To do this we used two (2) claw hammers (See picture). The goal is to not damage the horizontal wooden “strips” or the backside vertices.

Inside of a wooden pallet

Each horizontal will have one (1) or two (2) small nails connecting it to the vertical. In taking the pallets apart we broke appx. six (6) horizontals.

5. Once the pallet wood is separated out cut everything to size. Don’t want to waste any time sanding pieces or parts of the wood that will not be used.

Pallet wood getting measured

Also if the pallet has dirt or oil on it …don’t worry and don’t clean it. The sanding will take care of it.

circular saw used to cut pallet wood for DIY crate

6. Once everything is cut to size start sanding. We used this palm sander.

palm sander sanding pallet wood for crate

Depending on the condition of the pallet wood this may or may not take a while. We started with 65 grit sandpaper then went to 85 grit, then 120 grit, and then 220 grit.

Sanding wood for DIY storage box

7. Next use wood glue and brad nails to build your “box”.

Wood glue used to put pallet crate together

We used 1.25” long brad nails. The purpose of the brad nails is only to hold the crate together while the wood glue sets up.

brad nails used to make DIY crate on wheels

8. Use a damp paper towel to wipe up any overflow from the glue.

DIY crate being built

9. With the box now assembled choose your favorite stain color (ours is Minwax’s Red Mahogany) and apply. Check out all of the projects we have used this stain color on!!!

DIY crate made before stain

Stain applying tips

Remember the longer you leave the stain on the darker the color is.

Use a scrap piece of the pallet wood to determine the amount of time vs. shade of color you desire.

Our shade took appx. 20 minutes before wiping it off.

10. Once the stain has dried use a spray-on poly vs. brush-on poly. Due to needing to poly the outside, inside and bottom of the crate of we thought spray poly would be easier.

stained red mahogany diy crate

We used three (3) light coats and sanded between the first and second coat only.

11. Once everything is sprayed and polyed attach the casters. Make sure you choose to put the casters far enough on the inside (from the outside edge) for the drill and drill bit to fit (size of the drill vs. the inside face of the wooden crate).

See the finished homeschool room and craft closet in this post!

Check out the other DIY projects we did to complete our children’s craft room in our basement!

Large DIY String Art 

DIY Floating L-Shaped Desk Using Simple Brackets (by far one of the best DIY projects we have done that really utilized the space we had)

How to Build A DIY Pegboard

DIY craft closet makeover

They absolutely love this creative space and we love that we have created a space with so much DIY storage.

Follow us on Pinterest or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

DIY wooden storage crate book

This DIY wooden crate on wheels is just another DIY way we stay organized!

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.