Hey y’all. I’ve been busy painting my hair gray. Well, I’m not trying to, but painting the bonus room with its angled ceilings has resulted in a lot of gray highlights. Even Buddy got in the action:

So, while I’m busy googling how to remove paint from dog hair, I hope you’ll enjoy this tutorial I created for building these cubby display shelves using a shipping pallet and a vintage bread crate. My cost was zero because I had all the materials and tools. But, even if you have to buy some of the materials, it should be a relatively inexpensive project. And the best part about this project is that I didn’t use any nails or screws to create it!

Recently, I found a vintage bread crate on the side of the road. Seriously, I’m not making this up, someone was actually throwing it away. I wanted to use the crate as a shelf in our bathroom. The crate was so beautifully weathered, that using new wood in it would have looked terribly wrong. Luckily I had some old shipping pallets in storage and decided to use the wood from the pallet for my shelf. (By the way, Funky Junk Donna just wrote a fabulous post on how to determine if your shipping pallet wood is safe to use. I encourage you to read it before bringing home a wood pallet.)

Materials & Tools:

  • Crate or wooden box
  • Shipping pallet or 1″ x 4″ boards
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Gloves
  • Saw (jigsaw, scroll saw, coping saw or any hand saw you have on hand)
  • Sandpaper
  • Power or hand sander
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill and a medium sized drill bit


So to start, begin prying 2-3  boards off the pallet using a pry bar and a hammer. (After much toil, sweat and a few swear words, I prevailed and removed two boards!)

Measure the inside dimensions of your crate and cut the palette boards down to size.

For nine cubbies, I used four boards…

…two for the vertical and two for the horizontal aupports.

Dry fit the boards to make sure they will fit in your crate and then sand down the rough edges.

Further, to create the shelving grid, we will be using a slot-to-slot interlocking design to connect the boards and form the cubbies. Mark the center location where each vertical board will cross a horizontal one. Then mark the thickness of each board around the center marks.

Draw the slot so it stops halfway through the board (as shown above).

To cut the notches out of the wood, drill two holes at the interior corners of the slots.

Then use a saw  (scroll saw shown) to cut out the notches. Likewise, a handsaw or jigsaw would work too.

Fitting the boards together is as easy as connecting puzzle pieces. The notches should slide easily into one another. If not, try widening the notches slightly.

Gently hammered the cross shelves into the crate.

If you measured properly, the shelves should fit snugly into the bread crate. However, if they are loose you will need to use some wood glue and a few finish nails to secure the grid of cubbies.

Here is an easy tutorial on how to hang your new bread crate cubby .  Once it is securely hung, you can fill it with some fun objects!

Believe it or not, I loved the cubby display shelves so much, it became the motivator that pushed me to repaint the entire bathroom! Pretty Handsome Guy calls it the “Trickle Down Effect”. It happens a lot in our home.

You too can learn how to paint a room like the pros, start with this three part tutorial series HERE.

I’ll be back next week with a fantastic tutorial for updating an ugly brass foyer light! I honestly can not wait to show you this!

Linking up to: Home Stories A to Z Tips & Tutorials

10 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Love the notched work! I’ve been wanting to make some cantilevered wall shelves (sort of like your center part, but not square) and couldn’t yet picture the method that would work….this is it! Thanks!
    Also….I’m saving (and drooled) over the picture of your table saw. Any suggestions on how to pick one?

  2. seansmom
    seansmom says:

    Here’s my method of removing paint from dog/cat hair.. Have someone hold the pet, then take a small pair of scissors and snip painted hair off animal. ha ha!! It may look a bit odd for a while, but just like a bad haircut, it does grow out..

    LOVE your pallet shelf!


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