Book smarts: DIY book crate

By Julia Dilworth, 24 hours Vancouver


Kids who love to read aren’t necessarily kids who love to put books away. Although it’s hard to blame the children on this one, because unless they’re neatly organized on a shelf, paperbacks and pop-up works alike are inherently messy.

That’s why when I came across this project from Lori Bernstein of, she had my full book-nerd attention.

Bernstein took the average dollar-store or craft-store crate and transformed her kids’ book pile area into this super chic, user-friendly and even adult-appropriate home for books. Piled in or filed in, any mess is contained in a classy crate that could sit in the kids’ room or by the living room chaise lounge.

You can stain and stencil like Bernstein, or write your own aesthetic ending — the decorating possibilities are limited only to your imagination.

DIY book crate


Wooden crate (find at Michaels craft stores or dollar stores), wood stain, stencils, craft paint, casters, sandpaper, polycrylic spray

How to:

  • Sand crate
  • Apply pre-stain wood conditioner, followed by the stain (a little goes a long way) and wipe off excess stain with a rag
  • Line up stencils to space them before painting and paint them in (a stencil brush is recommended)
  • Bernstein filled in the crate’s bottom slats with spare plywood and screwed in four casters
  • She also covered the inside bottom with clear contact paper to protect from splinters
  • Spray crate with clear protective coating

Find the full tutorial at here.

Julia Dilworth is a national DIY columnist and travel, beauty and home decor journalist. You can find her on Twitter @JuliaDilworth, email her at julia.dilworth[at] or visit her website

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