5 Things to Do with… Milk Crates

Thanks to clever crafters, these humble plastic boxes have begun taking on some surprising new roles.

Everyone has at least one or two plastic milk crates hanging around the basement or garage. Although expressly designed for the transportation of glass bottles, milk crates can be used in many other (much more fun) ways. Scroll down to see five favorite milk crate DIY projects discovered around the Web.

 

1. CONSTRUCT SHELVING

Uses for Milk Crates - Floating Shelves

Photo: how-to-recycle.blogspot.com

In the past, you’ve probably relied on one or more milk crates as a temporary storage solution. But you may not have considered this approach: Use zip ties to arrange your milk crates in a pattern along the wall. This installation provides as much visual interest as it does shelving for books and other small items.

 

2. MAKE A PLANTER

Uses for Milk Crates - Planter

Photo: jiachi.tumblr.com

Lined with burlap or landscaping fabric, a milk crate instantly turns into a portable planter, perfect for serial renters and homeowners testing configurations. As if made for the purpose of container gardening, these plastic crates withstand all weather, and their mesh construction provides excellent drainage.

 

3. ASSEMBLE A CHANDELIER

Uses for Milk Crates - Chandelier

Photo: kikisbff.blogspot.com

In a high-ceilinged space, create a chandelier using different-colored crates. Outfit each with a bulb socket, lash the crates together, and hang your assembly with wire or chain link. Then watch as playful patterns of light hit the walls. Another thing to watch: the look of surprise on your guests’ faces!

 

4. BUILD A STOOL

Uses for Milk Crates - Seat

Photo: chappell2nd.blogspot.com

With some light upholstering, a milk crate can offer both storage and seating. First, cut a piece of plywood to fit your crate, then add some foam or batting. Finish by covering the seat with a coordinating fabric, stapling the fabric to the wood on the underside of the seat. You can even add feet if you want. It’s an ottoman, it’s a stool, it’s a cabinet—all in one!

 

5. CRAFT A STORAGE BIN

Uses for Milk Crates - Slipcover

Photo: lauragunn.typepad.com

If you love the storage potential of milk crates but don’t love their look, why not sheathe yours in slipcovers? All it takes is a few yards of fabric (inexpensive to buy) and some straight seams (easy to sew). When the covers get dirty, just take them off and put them in the wash. For a minimal investment of money and time, you get a versatile hold-all in the pattern and color of your choice.