DIY Crate Locker Project Plans

TipsyOldHouse_DIY Crate Lockers

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Since we moved into our house about a year ago, I have been plagued by what to do about the corner of our kitchen that is our “outerwear dumping ground.”

With two adults and three children, we have a lot of stuff – coats, hats, boots, shoes, galoshes, purses, you name it. And since we typically use our garage as our main entrance, the coat closet located by our front door is not exactly convenient, at least for storing the kids’ things. So, keeping everything shoved into this one small corner of our kitchen has been the imperfect solution up until recently.


Perusing inspiration plans online has been challenging because this corner is not very big – each wall is about 33″ wide, which does not leave a lot of room. Then one afternoon I came across this post for crate locker cubbies on That’s My Letter and I was smitten! (Seriously, click the link and you’ll be just as obsessed!). With a few modifications, I knew that this would be the solution I was looking for to help me manage the chaos.

I set about hunting down the perfect crates – tall and not too wide, but deep enough to provide some real storage. I ended up finding crates that were 27″ long, 12.5″ wide, and 9.5″ deep. Home Depot has a great deal for them as a two-pack. These aren’t the highest quality of crates (the slats are pretty flimsy and the wood is rough), but for my purposes these worked out just fine, especially since I got four of them for around $75.

This project is perfect for any beginner because you’re technically not building anything – just assembling and painting!

Supplies needed:


Now that I had my crates, turning them into “lockers” was incredibly simple! I used wood glue to attach the crates to each other top to bottom and at the sides, with some Quick Grips (and any other clips I could find in my kitchen!) to keep the sides together until the glue dried.

I also used 1.25″ brad nails with my Ryobi Air Strike brad nailer where the crate tops/bottoms were attached to each other, to provide extra support (you could also use screws or regular nails). The slatted sides are too thin for the brad nails, so I simply made sure to glue them well.


After the glue was fully dried, I took a 1×12 from my scrap pile, cut it down so that it was about 4″ longer than the crates, and attached it to the top of the crates using wood glue and 1.25″ brad nails. If you don’t have a saw at home, you could easily get a 1×12 cut down at a hardware store, or just skip adding the board.

To finish it off, I painted it grey using Rustoleum’s Chalked Paint (a mix of Linen White and Charcoal), and stained the top board using my homemade stain.


On the sides where the two crates are joined (and therefore, the thickest/strongest spot), I added hooks for hanging coats and backpacks.


I still need to add a topcoat of polycrylic to the lockers, especially where wet shoes and boots will be placed, but otherwise, it is complete!

And to help minimize the overall clutter in this corner even more, I raised the coat rack that my husband and I use to make sure the kids have easy access to their lockers. I am also limiting him and I to one coat each on the rack, with the rest of our coats and all of our shoes and boots to be kept in the (inconveniently placed) coat closet by the front door.


This was such an easy, inexpensive project for clearing up the kids’ outerwear clutter, and I simply love that the kids each get ownership over their own little “lockers” and will hopefully help us to keep things organized over the winter!

As a bonus, we now have a set place to keep the endless amount of papers that get sent home from school, and have some wall space above the lockers to add even more organization.



60 Minute & $30 Door Makeover


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I never realized how much I cared about interior doors, until I moved into our current house and realized that we were getting just about the worst doors possible – hollow core, full of dents, gouges, and holes, and stained a terrible medium brown that just screams ’80s. Completing the look are brass level handles with “fancy” swirls at the end (a handle, I should add, that I was obsessed with as a child in the ’90s!).

Getting new doors isn’t an option for us right now because we are at some point going to need to some work leveling out the floors upstairs, which means we would need to adjust the doors. And in general nothing is square in our house (as is clearly evidenced by the picture above) so replacing doors would involve a lot of adjustments. I’d like to learn how to hang a door, but I’m not sure this house is the ideal place for learning.

So, to brighten up the space and be able to fill and patch the various holes and dents in the doors, I decided that a few coats of paint were the next best thing to actually replacing all of the interior doors (and it’s a much faster and more cost effective option).

To lead off, I grabbed my trusty Rustoleum Chalked paint in Linen White.



Because I’m using chalk paint, I didn’t need to do a lot of prep at all. I removed the hardware.


Using a foam roller, I started painting! After one coat, everything was decently covered considering it was a base coat.


After about 15 minutes, I put on another coat. You may want to give extra time in between coats depending on how thickly you put the paint on. After the second coat, things were starting to look pretty good, although there were still some spots that weren’t covering well.


After the third coat, things were looking good! I opted to stop after three coats, but you could easily go for a fourth coat, especially if you’re covering a dark door. If I was doing one more coat, I would have let the door dry for 1-2 hours before putting on a final coat, just to make sure everything was really dry.


The next day, I put on a new door handle in an oil rubbed bronze, much more in vogue than the brass.

And then, the door was done!


Would I prefer new doors? Yep! But do I love that there is a quick and economical alternative until we’re in a position to do a major door overall? Absolutely!

I currently have five interior doors done with eight to go. It’s not a project I find incredibly exciting, but it’s definitely rewarding when I see how much the white doors brighten up the rooms and hallways in our house.

Some helpful hints to get you started:

  • You may want to clean your door with a degreaser before you get started. I like Krud Kutter.
  • I find it’s helpful to do at least two doors at a time. It works out well to paint a coat on one door, go paint a coat on the other door, and just keep flip flopping between doors.
  • Keep a wet cloth or paper towel on hand for wiping drips off of the floor and wiping off the hinges.
  • If it’s a closet door, consider saving yourself the time and only paint one side.
  • Plan to use up to half a quart of paint per door.

The cost breakdown for this project is pretty simple – the new door handle cost around $18 and the paint is around $18 for a quart, and I used a half of a quart or a little less for one door, so this project came in at just under $30!

I think I’ve found about 527 uses for chalk paint in my house. What are your favorite chalk paint projects?

An Ode to Chalk Paint

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Since my very first post was devoted to a chalk paint project, it seemed only fitting to continue on with my love of all things chalk paint.


And yes, I really, truly mean it when I say love. Just look at all of the furniture projects I’ve slapped a few layers of chalk paint onto (and this is the tip of the iceberg – I’ve even painted doors!).


Ok, backing up to the beginning of the story: once upon a time I had never heard of chalk paint, and my DIY life was sad. I wandered into the hardware store, randomly picked out paint for projects, and proceeded to battle drippy, smelly paint that took forever to dry. And, you know, managed to get the paint on pretty much everything.

But when I was preparing to paint a coffee table I had built, I came across Rust-Oleum’s Chalked line of paint at my Home Depot, and did some research on it. As it turns out, what I found out fit my needs perfectly:

  • Low VOC
  • Quick drying
  • Easy clean up
  • No work needed in advance

That list has literally solved every issue I’ve had with painting projects – my house isn’t filled with the strong scent of paint while my kids are upstairs fast asleep (hopefully) and I can whip through a project in an evening without any pre-planning.

What’s that? You didn’t know that chalk paint dries in 30-40 minutes and you can literally paint over painted surfaces?! It is an amazingly beautiful thing. If that doesn’t sell you on chalk paint, I really don’t know what will.

And as a bonus, if you’re not concerned about retaining the matte, chalky finish that chalk paint is known for, you can easily paint it with a water-based polycrylic (I like Minwax).

I know there are criticisms out there about the durability of chalk paint, however, I have overall found it to be quite tough, even in a higher traffic area like my kitchen.

In short: if you have limited time and big DIY dreams, chalk paint is a sure-fire way to transform everything from furniture and cabinets to doors. You’re welcome.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint on a Budget: A How-To Guide

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When we first toured our home, the kitchen made my soul sad. The ’90s oak. The decorative trim. The porcelain drawer pulls. Oh, my eyes!


We were slightly spoiled by the fact that our past three homes have been flips, so we’ve had brand new, never been used, kitchens.

Did the phrase “our past three homes” cause you to raise your eyebrows? Yes, we’re home buying pros at this point, a story to be told another day.

Anyway, once we knew this was the house for us, I immediately went into planning mode about how I could improve this kitchen, hopefully on a budget. I started by pricing out having the cabinets painted for us, but those quotes were rolling in at $3,000-$7,000. Moving along.

I found a million great blog posts about various techniques for DIY cabinet painting. What I knew was that with three young children, I needed to get the project done before we moved in, partly because I don’t trust my children to be around that significant of a project that’s in process, and partly because I knew it would be much harder to focus on getting the project completed after moving in, as unpacking and organizing would become priority.

That meant…painting the cabinets and rehanging the doors in 2.5 days! The only product I knew that would be up to the challenge was chalk paint. One of the primary advantages of chalk paint is that it’s easy to achieve a distressed look. However, it is also very fast drying and requires no sanding in advance, which is what I needed for this project.

After seeing in the blogosphere that chalk paint could be used on kitchen cabinets, I put my plan in motion, including recruiting my best friend to help me out for the weekend. I also opted for a chalk paint that I had used before and that was easily purchased from my local Home Depot, in case I ran out in the middle of the project: Rust-Oleum’s Chalked Paint.


I’d used this line of paint for furniture projects before and loved how easy it was to work with, and at roughly $20/quart it’s really affordable.

The supplies I gathered were:


The basic steps that I followed were:

Day 1 (8pm-11pm):

  • Remove cabinet doors, hinges, and drawers
  • Remove drawer pulls and door handles
  • Remove decorative trim from the top of the cabinets
  • Clean cabinet doors and sides of cabinets with a degreaser

Day 2 (8pm-4am):

  • One person paints cabinet doors and drawer faces – 2 coats plus touch ups
  • One person paints cabinet boxes – 2 coats plus touch ups

Day 3 (10am-noon):

  • Install drawer pulls and door knobs
  • Hang cabinet doors
  • Put drawers back

After the move (3 hours):

  • Apply 3 thin coats of Rust-Oleum matte top coat

So, for roughly 16 hours and about $175, my kitchen went from a ’90s time capsule to serene farmhouse.

Budget Chalk Paint Kitchen-1.png

One of the unexpected surprises was that the mosaic tile border that really isn’t my taste actually looks great with the color of the lower cabinets. It’s basically meant to be.

It’s been almost a year since I finished this project, and I’m happy to say that overall things have held up really well. Unfortunately Rust-Oleum’s matte finish does not seal the paint as well as I would like, so I have a few cabinets that have gotten a bit stained. I have plans to do a touch up and then re-seal everything, which is a pretty easy project since the lion’s share of the work has already been done.

Since my cabinets are old and not great quality, I didn’t have to think twice about painting them. There is no way I could make them any worse!

Final tips and tricks:

  • I wish I had thought to use little paint rollers – it would have made a lot of the work go much faster!
  • I balanced the cabinet doors on books or other items so that they’d be elevated, allowing me to paint the edges.
  • I didn’t paint the backs of the doors to save on time.
  • Because our house painters were coming after I finished this project, I didn’t tape around the cabinets to protect that wall, but you will probably want to add that to your list.
  • Purchasing 4 quarts of paint was plenty – we used about 1.5 quarts of each color, and have extra for touch ups.
  • Having a few cocktails in you before starting the project makes things a lot more fun.

It’s been SO MUCH FUN getting back into the swing of blogging…until next time!