Vintage Crate Carts

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Cute pallet carts made from reclaimed wood boards.


These turned out so much better than I would have ever expected for $8 each.

Especially with a few setbacks.

You all already know that I can't spell.  Stencils really should come with spell check.  Or at least you should have to pass a test before you can purchase stencils.  Or they should sell sandpaper with stencils.  Good thing I had some sandpaper handy.

And while I was working on these carts, a bee stung me.  So now I smell like vinegar too.

At least I got our wedding date right on the first try.

These crate carts were intended for my great room, but because of the setbacks, I ended up photographing them in Grace's room (that's where all the evening sun is in my house).  And I just think they look adorable filled with kids stuff.  They will look adorable as bumper cars too, ugh, I know that's coming!

Here is a breakdown of the price per cart:

  • 2 feet of 1x12 boards - $3
  • 2 sets of 1 5/8" Caster Wheels - $4
  • Reclaimed boards from pallets
  • 2" Wood Screws
  • 2" Finish Nails
  • Wood Glue

Not bad, eh?  And did I mention that my carts are made of oak?  Yep, sanded down the pallet boards, and it's oak!

You just gotta make your own!  If you don't have a pallet to reclaim, you can use 1x6s and 1x4s, but don't expect the character to be as fabulous when you use new materials. You can watch a video on how to reclaim boards on a pallet here.

Dimensions for the cart are shown above. If you are using reclaimed boards, your dimensions could be different than those listed above.


Cut List

2 – 1×12 @ 11 1/2″
2 – 1×6 @ 18″ (bottom, adjust width as desired)
6 – 1×4 @ 18″ (sides, adjust width as desired)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1


If you have a pallet, follow the instructions in this post to reclaim the boards. Otherwise, cut all of your boards. Drill holes on the ends of the 1x6s, two per end, with a countersink bit.

Step 2

Build the Bottom and Ends

Insert screws into holes. Apply glue to the joint. Screw the bottom boards to the sides, keeping the outside flush.

Step 3


Apply glue to the edges of the bottom and ends. Be careful not to apply glue in the spaces between the side boards, as glue will not take stain. Use 2″ nails and glue to nail the side boards on.

Step 4


Mark then ends as shown above. Then drill holes with the 1 1/2″ spade bit on center with the marks. Cut between the marks with a saw to create handles.

Step 5

Comments - Click to Display Comments


Melissa (not verified)

Mon, 09/13/2010 - 17:47

Any suggestions where to acquire some free pallets in/near Fairbanks or North Pole area? I really want to make some of these :)

Ana White (not verified)

Mon, 09/13/2010 - 18:05

Hi Melissa, getting pallets should be super easy to do as so much is imported to Alaska on pallets, but very little leaves Alaska on pallets. Try calling warehouses, stores, and asking at shipping companies. Even using broken pallets would work for this project.

lyndyjo (not verified)

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 02:56

Love these! I do see the bumper car danger. My youngest is just starting to walk and he would love one of these to push around :)

chrisandpatience (not verified)

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 08:10

I just picked up 3 amazing pallets. Thank you Ana, for making me a wood working junkie. Can't wait to show you my creations.

megnstuff (not verified)

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 09:07

I am building these for my basement/playroom/family room area. I love them. My boys will love to play in them and they just might even love putting their toys away in them!

I can't wait to make these. I promise to post pics as soon as we get them done!

Cath (not verified)

Wed, 09/15/2010 - 22:21

Oh gosh I love this! Any idea in a purpose for them in a college dorm room? I think this is beautiful but I'm not sure it'd be useful for me :P

AmyLynn (not verified)

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 08:27

So many ideas for places to put these! This is going to be a fabulous trash can in my craft room, three wonderful recycle bins (paper, plastic & glass) in my mudroom, a bin to store the kids' (cats') blankets and toys in their play room, a perfect place to throw all my little 'building blocks' that our nieces and nephews play with when they come over...the possibilities are endless! What a fabulous idea. A while ago, a barn collapsed at my dad's house and I've been trying to think of things to do with the wood from that. A reclaimed wood headboard is on the list, but do you have any idea how many of these I'll be able to make with a barn? I'm so excited!!!!

AmyLynn (not verified)

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:46

I don't have a blog...I've been contemplating starting one though. If I do, I'll let you know.

Build a Kids L… (not verified)

Tue, 12/28/2010 - 22:05

[...] If you want, you can add handles and round the corners.  The handles are actually quite useful if you want to transport the shelf (I did from the garage to the house and found them much more than just decorative).  Corners are rounded 2″ down and 2″ in from the outside corners with a jigsaw. To cut a handle, please read these instructions. [...]

Nancy Saller (not verified)

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 08:41

I have a great deal of confidence in my sewing room but the garage belongs to my husband. I sure do admire your projects though! Maybe someday I'll try some of them. Thanks so much for your shared talent!

Christina G. (not verified)

Wed, 01/19/2011 - 18:20

Hey Anna,
im so excited about your site, and cant wait to get my project on... i have found so many things on your site that i can not wait to get into my house (1st) and start building some great stuff... thanks SO much.

i do have a question, some of the plans that i have tried to save as a PDF for future quick reference they come up blank... is there another place i can find them? Thanks again... your the super best

Sky (not verified)

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 13:04

ok i have called costco, walmart, and target, non of which will give me any pallets. some say they send them back to the distributor and some say they recycle them and another says they just dont give them away and hung up before i could say "i'll buy them" any other thoughts on where to acquire some!


Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:51

I get my pallets from a printing company they always have alot of them, commercial printing companies.

Jesse Bailey (not verified)

Tue, 03/01/2011 - 10:47

Sky, look on Don't try major retailers -- your chances are better with smaller places that think it is a pain to deal with the pallets.



Tue, 04/19/2011 - 08:13

I am hoping I can start this project this weekend!  I will need my husbands help learning how to use the tools (this will be my first attempt at building anything) so I am hoping he lets me hang out in the garage and actually use his tools.  But, when I told him about it, he said he needed to work on the truck so it could be inspected on Monday (the 25th) because it's due by the end of the month......not that he could have been doing that during his three day weekend or!

Anyway--mine are going to be for dog toys.  One will say one dogs name and the other will say the other doggies name!  And, I would like to paint mine to match my living room (vision), especially if I end up using regular wood instead of a pallet.

Question: I have never stained anything and I am nervous about that.  So I think I am going to paint these.  My brain says paint THEN stencil dogs names.  I would want the crates to be a chocolate brown and the stenciled names would be either a lighter brown or off white.  Is my brain correct?  

Harry (not verified)

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 09:08

I have been looking around for crates to be used as props, and stumbled into your blog. I love it and can't stop reading it. Thank you for sharing everything.

jRoxDesigns (not verified)

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 19:05

I LOVE your toy bin! I just picked up some wooden crates and have been looking for some ideas to turn them into toy storage and your post has given me the perfect inspiration. I wrote about your crates on my blog today for Inspiration Wednesday. I'd love for you to stop by sometime!…
- Amber @jRoxDesigns


Sun, 06/14/2020 - 21:25

Hi Ana, for whatever reason, the first 4 images of this project seem to be missing and the browser is displaying an error when I try to click on them. Could you see what might be the problem?