Sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect piece of rustic furniture for your home. After spending countless hours at flea markets and stores, you may think it could be easier to build your own. The fact is, you can make some furniture yourself.

If you are looking for a rustic style coffee table, this article will walk you through the steps necessary to make one by yourself. It would be best if you had a few items and tools and a couple of hours.

What you’ll need:

  • Four crates
  • ⅜” Plywood
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Stain and rags
  • Saw
  • Wheels or feet

This project is suitable for beginner to intermediate DIYers. Make sure you have a few hours to complete your project before starting.

Where to find crates and other materials necessary


These are easy to find in just about any craft store. You might also find them in Target or Walmart. The important thing to remember is that you will need four of them. Make sure they are all the same size. This makes it easier when putting it all together.


You will need a piece of plywood to become the base of the coffee table. This can be purchased easily in any hardware store.


Since the wood crates will not be painted or stained, you will want to choose a stain and apply it yourself. You can purchase a stain in any hardware store. Be sure to choose a stain color that complements your rustic decor. You will need rags and a paintbrush to apply the stain.

Screws and screwdrivers

These are two items most people have on hand in their toolkits.


This is an item most people will have on hand. If not, you can purchase one at your local hardware store.

Wheels (Casters) or Feet (Buns)

When your table is completed, you will want to attach either feet or wheels to the bottom of it. This protects your floor and allows you to move the table easily. You can choose wheels or feet in a color that matches your table or room.

Altogether, you can expect your supplies to cost around $100 or less.

Step-by-Step Guide

Cut the plywood to fit the crates

Since you will have a sheet of plywood, you will need to cut it to fit the crates. To do this, lay your crates on the plywood in the pattern you will be using. Allow for an extra ½’ of wood along the edges. Then use the saw and cut your base out of the plywood.

Stain the crates and plywood

The next step is to stain the crates and plywood. They will need time to dry and more than one coat, so you need to factor in the time. Each can of stain will have specific manufacturer’s directions.  Most of them involve applying the stain in one direction and then using a rag to wipe off the excess. Once the first coat has dried, you may want to add another layer to get a deeper color.

In addition, after the stain has dried, you may want to apply a coat of finish to protect the wood.

Screw the crates together

Begin this step by laying out the crates again. You want to put them so that the shorter end of one crate matches up behind the back half of another crate. Make sure the open end is facing out. This allows the four crates to come together and have space in the middle.

To attach them to the base, use a screw and put it through the middle of the crate and int the plywood base. You then want to screw the ends of each crate together. For this part, you can use a couple of screws on each side. Make sure that you leave 3-4” between the screws.

Attach the wheels or feet

If you want to be able to move your coffee table quickly, add wheels; if not, add feet.

It is important to measure out the placement of the wheels or feet so that your table will not tilt to one side. Attach the wheels or feet to all four corners of the base  and your table is ready for use.

Turn the coffee table over

Now you can put your table upright and begin using it right away.

Points to Remember

You can use any size crate you like, but make sure they are all the same height.

The open end that faces out becomes a storage area. You can use this space for books and magazines, or coasters and decorative items.

You may be able to find crates at flea markets or salvage yards. This is in keeping with rustic design tradition and may also give you some unique crates to use for your coffee table.

It is possible to build your crates to allow for even more of a custom design. To create your crates, you will need some wood, a hammer, and nails. You can then cut the wood to your desired length and nail it together.

Points to Consider

  • When applying the stain, you can use a paintbrush or a rag. Some people prefer using the rag and appreciate the control it gives them over the color. Using a cloth also helps prevent streaking.
  • After you have applied the first layer of stain, let it sit. You will need to wipe off any excess stain with a rag before it dries completely. It is helpful to remember that the longer you let the stain sit before wiping it off, the darker the color will be.

Final Thoughts

A rustic crate coffee table can be the centerpiece of your living room. If you cannot find the perfect table, you should consider building your own.

To build your own table, you need a few common tools, some crates, stain, and Plywood. This whole project can be done in a weekend and come in under $100.

Having friends over for coffee and drinks around your coffee table will lead to some great conversation. And there is nothing more satisfying than doing a job yourself.