Retirement Gift Man Crate

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About This Project

This man crate is a gift for a co worker who is retiring. We'll put all his keepsake gifts in here and he'll have to open it with a crowbar. :) The dimensions on this were adjusted to the size of 17" long, 12" wide, and 10 3/4" high (about the size of a case of copier paper). It is made with 1/2" birch plywood and poplar craft boards. I chose to use the hardwood plywood since I found out folks would be signing it, and it's much easier to write on this with a ballpoint pen than on regular plywood. Plus, less sanding for me to do ! ;)

To keep it from being so heavy when it's filled, I substituted 1/4" plywood for the top and bottom, and left the trim off of the ends. I arranged the pieces so the trim on the front & back covered the cut ends of the 1/2" plywood.

The lettering was traced on (it's "Stencil" font, in 105 pt size, printed from Powerpoint) using a ballpoint pen to dent the surface, then a black Sharpie pen to outline. Hubby thought it looked nice just with the letters in outline, and that's shown in the picture.

Also on this one, I made a little gift tag with some clip-art, and mod-podge'd it to the bottom.

Birch plywood, poplar boards
Required Skill Level: 
Starter Project
Estimated Time Investment: 
An Hour or Two (0-2 Hours)
Finish Used: 
Unfinished - left it this way to make it easier for folks to sign the crate.
Estimated Cost: 
$35 for hardwood plywood and poplar trim boards


The man crate was a big hit at the retirement party! I think we're starting a tradition ;) We had his wife stash the crowbar, and when it was time for him to open it, we asked, "does anyone have a crowbar?" - and then his wife said, "Here you go!" and pulls one out of her shoulder bag! It was a hoot! :)