When we moved into our apartment, both my husband and I were new graduates with no money. He was about to start graduate school and I was about to start my job, but we wouldn’t get our first paychecks for a few weeks. Luckily, I found some super cheap plastic furniture on clearance at CVS. For the past three years, we have had these weird, super cheap black plastic end tables turned bedside tables. They have served their purpose, but I have been absolutely dying to get rid of them. Thankfully I had some extra time this past weekend and made two brand new, distressed bedside tables using wooden crates I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics. This is a really easy project and it only took me a couple hours to complete. Plus, after sales, student discount, and all supplies it cost less than $40 for two bedside tables. Yay!
4 wooden crates (2 per table)
1 quart size mason jar (or other large container)
Paintbrushes (I used a smaller one for corners and a larger one for the rest)
Twine or jute
Apple cider vinegar
A couple days before you want to start your project, put two steel wool scrubbies (I picked up a pack at The Dollar Tree) into a quart size mason jar and fill with apple cider vinegar. Put the lid on and let it sit. As time goes on, the steel wool will break down and make the vinegar darker. When all of the steel wool is kind of disintegrated at the bottom of the jar, that’s when it’s ready!
Try to pick a nice day to do this, because you’ll definitely want to be outside. The vinegar isn’t toxic or anything, but it’s pretty smelly. Humidity and heat won’t affect the drying time too much (like they would with regular stain or paint), but for general comfort you may want to choose a nice day. It was over 90 when I did mine last weekend, and I was pretty sweaty.
Peel off all labels and stickers from the crates and sand down any areas that are really splintery. Don’t worry if there are some weird areas on your crates, it all adds to the rustic, aged look we’re going for!
Begin painting your crates using the steel wool and vinegar mixture. As you paint, you’ll be able to see the wood start to change colors. Beware of drips as they can stain the wood a little weird.
Don’t worry if you have a little bit of weird, streaky things happening. You’ll end up doing two coats and can always switch to a smaller brush to spot-paint areas that are looking especially rough.
After you’re satisfied with the distressed level of your crates, stack them up on top of each other. You may have to mix and match and rotate based on any mistakes, areas of weird staining, or oddities in the crate construction.
Cut four long pieces of twine, each about 6 feet in length.
Now it’s time to start connecting your crates! Align the crates completely, and begin to wrap the twine around the corner of first rung, being sure to include both crates. I started wrapping at the center of my twine piece and wrapped from both sides. Be sure each wrap is tight.
When you’re down to just a few inches of twine on each side, tie a double knot in the center, on the bottom. Trim the ends and push under the wrapped area to hide them. Wrap the other side of this bedside table, then repeat on the second bedside table. Then you’re done!
What do you think of the finished product? I should have taken a picture of the original plastic bedside tables so you could see just how much better these distressed wood ones are! I’m so happy with the way it turned out, but now I have to figure out what to store on them!