Vintage License Plate Crates

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I thought these crates would add the perfect vintage look to Hubby's bookcase in the den. He wasn't so sure of my idea, but I ran with it anyways. Heck, I made them out of scrap wood!
Vintage License Plate Crate

We've had these license plates since we moved out here (PA) from California... 26 years ago! I thought they would be fun to use. What else were we going to do with them. They've been sitting in our basement all these years!
Vintage License Plate Crate
I've been wanting to "finish" Hubby's bookcase. He tells me I never finish a project... well, he's right. I get distracted and move on to something else. A lot of the time, it's because the inspiration is finished or I can't find the "right" piece to complete the look or something... Anyway, I was determined to finish this!

There were 4 empty shelves that needed "something". I did move a few things around.
Den Bookshelves

The shelve was getting busy and I felt that some symmetry would balance it. The crates were perfect!
Complete Vintage Bookcase
I also purchased the glass hurricanes. Hubby's not a big fan of them, but until he finds the "right" piece for those spaces they will stay.  I have plans for them in our master bedroom makeover. 😊  So, to me... They are "Finished!"

These crates were pretty easy to make. I just gathered scrap wood and with a little help from Hubby got to work!
Scrap wood for vintage crate

I had leftover plywood that I used for
The Very Cheapest Plank Wall
Very Cheap Plank Wall
I have not stopped loving that wall! 😍

Back to the crates... Hubby helped me cut the planks with the table saw. It's been awhile since I've used that machinery.
table saw cutting planks

Then I cut supports for the corners and used old 2X6s for the base. It came together pretty quick! I built the sides first.
building sides of vintage crate

Then I attached them to the 2X6 base. I used my handy dandy nail gun. 👍
Attaching sides to base of crate

Lastly, I just had to add the strips across the front and back.
Attaching front and back

And it's done!
Vintage crate

I had both of them done in one afternoon.
Build vintage crates
Then the fun part... staining. I used the same stain that I used on those garage cabinets. It's General Finishes Gel Stain in Java. It's only available online. It a little pricey, but so awesome to use.

I tried using gloves, but that didn't last long. They popped some holes, so I just took them off. This photo was after I "cleaned" them....
stained hands

The very last part was centering and screwing in the license plates. They turned out pretty darn good! And now I'm finished with the den bookshelves and I can start on another fun project! 
Vintage License Plate Crate

Vintage License Plate Crates
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Those turned out great, they add a pop that really draws your eye to the bookcase. Greg has all our old ones, and has them lining the garage wall and covering the windows. I may have to borrow a few of his and copycat this!

  2. I love those! My hubby would love them made with an old license plate of his with his radio call sign - we've had the same plates on four of our vehichles. (:


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