Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Soda crates are a flea market favorite and have dozens of uses. When we found this weathered 7-Up crate, we thought it would make a charming shadowbox. Then we took that idea a step further by turning it into a shadowbox table. The crate only cost $3, but the table looks like a million bucks!

Flea market soda pop crate
Glass tabletop, 1/4" thick, cut to fit inside crate
4 wooden legs, 22" with mounting plates
Basswood stick, ½"x½"x24" (in the dowel aisle)
4 black self-adhesive rubber feet, ½"x½"
Foam core board, ¼" thick, enough to fit inside crate
Dark green velvet, enough to cover foam core board
Plaid Folk Art acrylic paint, Napthol Crimson, 2 oz.
Amazing Goop all-purpose contact adhesive
Foam paintbrush
Electric screwdriver
X-Acto craft knife
Masking tape
Metal yardstick
Straight pins

1. Mask the brass foot of each leg with the masking tape. Paint the wooden legs Napthol Crimson red and let dry.

2. Measure the inside of the crate. Using the metal yardstick and the X-Acto craft knife, cut the foam core board to fit inside the crate. Watch your fingers! Cover the foam core board with the velvet. Secure the velvet to the back by sliding straight pins through the fabric and into the foam core board at an angle. Cut off any excess fabric. Place the velvet-covered foam core board in the bottom the crate.

3. To make a support for the glass top, stick the piece of basswood inside the crate at the corner. Mark it with the pencil ¼" from the top of the crate. Cut the basswood with the handsaw, then use that piece to measure and cut 3 more identical pieces. Glue the 4 pieces of basswood into the corners of the crate using the Goop adhesive. Attach a self-adhesive rubber foot onto the top of each piece of basswood. 

4. When the glue is dry, flip the crate over onto a stack of books, so the foam core insert is resting on the books. Attach the mounting plates to each corner of the crate with the screwdriver. Screw in the red legs. Flip the crate table over onto its new legs.

5. Arrange a collection of items inside the shadowbox. Place the glass tabletop inside the top of the crate so it rests on the 4 rubber feet.

Shopping Tip: Getting a piece of glass cut is cheaper than you think, even for odd sizes. Our 9 5/8"x14 3/8" glass with polished edges cost less than $10!

The Art of Display
To create your shadowbox showcase, start with a theme such as travel, wedding, or holiday. Arrange flat items like vintage postcards and photos in the bottom of the crate to create a colorful background. Then overlap the images with a few meaningful objects. To remember a wedding, you might include the bride’s garter and dried flowers from the bouquet. For a holiday theme like autumn, choose a glass pumpkin paperweight and ears of Indian corn. Don't worry about making the perfect display—this shadowbox is easy to open, and museums change their exhibits regularly, so why can't you?!

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