Years ago my husband gave me a Penzey’s Spices French Kitchen crate as a Christmas gift. He thought I wanted the spices but it was the crate that really peaked my interest. I was envisioing the empty crate being turned into a miniature French kitchen. Last year I did get started on that conversion but ended up buying an actual miniature roombox kit to make the kitchen. Fast forward to this summer when I signed up for a bookbinding class at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design). I taught myself how to make books in 1/12th scale- now I wanted to learn some new techniques and see if I could scale those down too. Over three weeks I made a lot of books and realized they needed a home of their own. This past weekend I turned that spice crate into a bookcase by adding a shelf from leftover plywood and edging left over from another project.

If you’d like to make your own crate bookcase, it’s very easy.

1. Find a sturdy crate. Unfortunately Penzey’s doesn’t sell empty crates but you could find similar ones in thrift stores, wine stores or other places.

2. Sand and finish the crate with either stain or paint. I left the inside as is to show off the books.

3. Measure inside dimensions for shelf or shelves. Cut shelf/shelves to size with a jigsaw or table saw. Cut braces from blocks of scrap wood to support the shelf unit and glue to bottom of shelf. measure where shelf will sit inside crate, mark with pencil and glue shelving unit in place, checking for level.

4. Add trim to front of shelf- mine is flush with the bottom of the shelf and gives a lip to hold books in place on the upper section. Paint or stain as desired.

5. Attach two sawtooth picture hangers to the back of the crate and then hang in place.