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Display Collectibles in an Old Soda Crate

Updated on June 10, 2014

Primitive Home Decor

About a year ago I saw an old wooden soda crate along the side of the road in a huge pile of trash. I was driving along but quickly slowed down and pulled into the next side street. I hopped out of my car and rescued that old box along with a few other pieces of junk that were destined for the landfill.

I hauled the crate into my house and gave a half-hearted effort of cleaning it then stuck it in a corner where it sat until last week. I was cleaning up the room where I'd set the box and decided I needed to do something with it.

I got the sandpaper and gave it a once over to remove loose wood and paint. Then I wiped it down with spray cleaner and a rag and let it dry. Then I hammered some of the loose nails and tacks that held the wire band around the sides of the crate. It wasn't good as new, and I like it that way!

Now this cool old crate lives in my living room and holds some of my collectibles. I love it's shabby, primitive demeanor!

Photo credit for all personal photos on this page: Peggy Hazelwood

Wooden Crate as Tabletop Display - Do You Have Lots of Smalls?

The crate's compartments are great for display
The crate's compartments are great for display

When I'd cleaned up this old crate, I decided it was perfect to display some of my smalls, which are just small antique or vintage collectible items.

I tend to clutter up my shelves and tabletops with these things, but this wooden soda crate with its divided areas that used to hold soda bottles are perfect for some of the taller items I have scattered around my house.

Soda Crate, Wooden Box, Rusty Bucket

Use old rustic crates, boxes, or buckets

for display inside your home or out,

on the porch or patio.

The weathered look of the box gives an instant

cottage chic look that enhances a flowering potted plant

or other decorative piece you place next to it.

Do You Collect Smalls? - Things like little figurines, vintage toys, ink pens, marbles and the like?

Vintage train taking a free ride on the crate's edge.
Vintage train taking a free ride on the crate's edge.

Do You Collect Smalls?

See results

Rustic Boxes, Crates, and Buckets

Use one of these new "old" pieces to enhance your home decor. It's easy to add these pieces to your room or patio to add a subtle aged look.

Cleaning Up an Old Box - Make It Your Own

I love the rustic look of this soda crate.
I love the rustic look of this soda crate.

After I cleaned up this crate, I decided I liked it just the way it is.

I could have painted it or stenciled a design along the side, and I might someday. But for now, I like the rustic, weathered look that it earned with use and age.

A note about cleaning up an old piece: be sure to do the rough clean up outside or put a towel down to catch the debris. This old crate was full of leaves and dirt. It took quite a few scrubbings to get it tidied up.

Shabby Decor - To Complement Your Collectibles

Do You Pick Up Junk Along the Side of the Road - From Trash Piles?

Well, do you? Do you think it's okay as long as you know it's trash?

Displaying Your Collection - in Soda Crates

I added toy wooden bowling pins, feathers, marbles, rulers, fountain pens, stamped spoons, and more in my soda crate.
I added toy wooden bowling pins, feathers, marbles, rulers, fountain pens, stamped spoons, and more in my soda crate.

If you already have a lot of small collectibles, like me, you can simply walk around your house and find things to add to your soda crate. If you don't have things out on display, here are some ideas of what to add to make it your own:

~ sewing notions -- I added a vintage sewing pattern tracing wheel. You could also include a tape measure overflowing the side, rolled fabric or balls made of fabric.

~ kitchen and cooking tools -- I have three flattened, stamped tablespoons. Other items to add: wooden spoons, potholders, vintage linens like tea towels, cookie cutters, measuring cups and spoons.

~ office supplies -- I added a old magnifying glass, three funny wood ink pens (cardinal, cat, and pig) that aren't old but I love them), two old folding rulers, and two old fountain pens. Add rulers, ink pens, pencils, anything with cool old advertising.

~ vintage toys -- I inherited a set of wood bowling pins I added along with a jar of marbles. Other ideas include just about anything that you played with that brings a smile to your face.

Would You Use a Wooden Crate for Display? - It'd be charming on a front porch!

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      If I had one I probably "wood" :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @gottaloveit2: Crusty works for me!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      This is an adorable idea! BTW, thought of you in Mexico when I found a crusty (really crusty) penny on the beach! Oh, should mention that it wasn't the 'crusty' part that brought a thought of you to mind but your Found Money Blog!

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @ChristyZ: Yes, I was thinking this would be perfect in a bathroom for bottles and jars and for storing craft supplies. Anything is right!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is a great idea for organizing just about anything. :)


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