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Build Basic Wooden Boxes

Build these versatile crates for your home in a variety of sizes. Placed on the floor, stacked, or attached to a wall, they offer storage anywhere.

Painted wooden boxes

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

A few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


These easy-to-build boxes can be made from pine, oak, maple, or cedar, and then painted or stained to fit your space. In the diagrams, you will find the details you need for seven different sizes. They all follow the same process; print off the diagrams you need and get hammering.

Basic Box

Step 1

Use a square to make an assembly frame.

After you decide which of the boxes you want to build, cut two scraps of pine 1 x 3 slightly longer than the height and length of the largest box you plan to build, and adhere them to your work surface with double-face tape. Use a framing square to make sure the boards are at a 90-degree angle to one another (Photo 1). This L-shaped assembly frame will help you build the boxes so they stay square as you proceed.

Good to Know

Any straight boards will do when creating this assembly frame. Just look down the edges and avoid boards that are twisted or bowed, as this would cause assembly problems.

Step 2

Cut to length all of the boards for the boxes you are building and sand them with 180-grit sandpaper (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Note that each part is used in a variety of ways, the fronts, backs, and bottoms are all the same length and are labeled Part (A). The sides and any dividers are the parts labeled (B), and the corner cleats are labeled (C). Depending on the number of boxes and the number of parts, using a power sander saves you a great deal of time.

Good to Know

When assembling this project, you can hammer in 1-1/4-in finish nails or use a brad nailer. A brad nailer shoots 18-gauge nails just below the surface of the wood -- ideal for filling with wood putty. If you drive the nails with a hammer, use a nail set to sink the heads just below the wood surface.

Step 3

Nail the corner braces to the front slats.

Build the front assembly by placing the front slats (A) against the assembly frame. Glue and nail the corner cleats (C) with their outside edges flush with the slat ends (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) so that the bottom ends of the braces overhang the bottom edge of the sides by 3/4 inch (Photo 2). Remove the assembly and build the back using the same parts.

Step 4

Nail the corner braces to the front/back assembly.

Add additional corner cleats to the ends of the front and back assemblies (Photo 3).

Step 5

Add the ends to the front and back.

Stand the front and back assembly on your bench with the top edge facing down, and add the sides (B) using glue and brads (Photo 4).

Step 6

Nail the corner braces to the front slats.

Slip the bottom boards into position and secure with glue and brads (Photo 5).

Divider and Finish

Step 1

If the box needs a divider, use the sides (C) to divide the box into two sections. Slip the dividers between the front and back rails in the middle of the box and nail though the front and back slats into the ends of the dividers.

Step 2

Sand all the edges before applying a finish.

Lightly sand all the edges of the parts with a 180-grit sanding sponge (Photo 6) and apply a stain-blocking primer or wood stain to the assembled box. After the paint or stain dries, apply two coats of paint or polyurethane. Sand between coats with the sanding sponge for a smooth final finish.

Step 3

The boxes can be placed on the floor or attached to a wall. To hang them, drive flathead screws through the back into a stud in the wall. It is best if they are attached to two studs using 2-1/2-inch screws. A touch of paint on the screw heads will help make them disappear.