I love half sized crates. They’re smaller than the full-size ones used in many crafts, so they’re easier to use in small spaces. I needed something for our Easter buffet to set the pie, and a half crate was the perfect size.

Farm Fresh Eggs Antique-look Crate

How to create an antique paint finish

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Supplies

How to Create an Antique-look Crate

I happened to have one in my craft stash, so I started out with a half size unfinished crate (dimensions are approximately 16″x12.25″x9.25″ high). I used a medium grit sanding sponge to go lightly over the whole crate, paying particular attention to the top and bottom of the box where natural wear would have rounded off its very straight edges. After sanding, I wiped it down with an all-purpose tack cloth to remove any sanding dust.

How to Create an Antique Paint Finish Wood Crate - natural crate before painting
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Since I wanted the paint to be very thin so that the wood grain would show through, I mixed one part Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint in Linen with two parts Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Wax by Plaid in Clear.

Create an antique crate - painting the bare natural crate with chalk paint mixed 2/3 wax and 1/3 chalk paint
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I applied only one coat with a 1″ paint brush and then allowed it to dry for about 30 minutes.

Create an antique crate - Paint/wax mixture drying
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After 30 minutes, I buffed the paint/wax combo in areas I wanted more of the natural wood to show through, and I avoided the areas that I wanted full coverage to be retained.

Create an antique crate - wiping away paint/wax to expose wood and create interest
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I focused my wiping on the areas where paint would have naturally been worn away over time – like the edges of the top and the bottom of the crate.

Create an antique crate - wiping away chalk paint/wax combo to reveal some bare wood
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After I wiped away all of the wax/paint mixture, I let the box fully dry. While it was drying, I cut out letters from adhesive-backed vinyl with my Silhouette Portrait.  Since I planned on using this crate as part of my Easter buffet decor, I chose to make it look like a vintage egg box.

The pink vinyl was very bright because Silhouette doesn’t make a lot of different vinyl colors, especially in the removable vinyl version. It was the best option available for a temporary placement.

Create an antique crate - adding lettering with my Silhouette Portrait
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Once the paint was completely dry, I took my jeweler’s hammer and banged up the edges. I use this instead of a regular hammer because I want to use a light touch.

Create an antique crate - using a jewelry hammer to create rounded edges and interest
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How to Create an Antique Paint Finish

Originally I planned on leaving the crate the painted color, but after I had buffed the entire box with a soft towel, I decided to antique it because it was just too pristine and clean.

Antiquing is always hard for me – I’ve just spent time painting a piece and then I have to cover the entire thing with a dark brown glaze that completely changes the look. Once the antiquing paint has been applied, the only way to go back to the original finish is to repaint your project.  Since I mixed clear wax with the original base paint, it gave me a little wiggle room because the wax helped to repel some of the antique glaze. If I had not incorporated the clear wax initially, I would have painted a layer of clear wax over the base paint and let it dry before painting the antique brown on so that my original work was somewhat protected.

Create an antique crate - mixing chalk paint and wax for a thinner coat of paint to allow the wood to shine
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I wanted a lighter more dirt like color for this one so I mixed two parts Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Wax by Plaid in Clear with 1 part Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Wax by Plaid in Antique. Then I brushed it over my entire crate being sure to get it into the creases and crevices.

Create an antique crate - adding the thinned antique wax (mixed 2/3 clear wax with 1/3 antique wax)
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After allowing the antiquing wax to dry for about 5 minutes, I wiped it away with a soft cloth. Any areas that I wiped away too much, I just reapplied the antique wax and let it dry before wiping away again. When wiping, think about where the piece would have light, worn areas and where the paint would be mostly intact. Edges, corners, etc. would be worn and show bare wood as well as the most dings. Areas on the inside and

Create an antique crate - adding splotches of antique wax to create more natural finish
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To ensure a “dirty” look, like you’d find on a crate stored in the barnyard, I used the brush to add splotches randomly along the bottom, let them dry, and then wiped away the excess and blended them into the wood. I also brushed antiquing wax over the vinyl stencil to knock back some of the brightness of the pink letters.

Create an antique crate - antiquing over vinyl lettering to dull it a bit (it will be removed later so the crate can be reused for something else.
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After the crate had been dried overnight, I buffed the entire piece with a soft towel. I missed a few spots on the corners with the antique wax, and I’ll go back and fix later, but, for now, it’s done and perfect for the Easter buffet table.

Create an antique crate - wiping away excess antiquing before drying
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Here’s the crate on our Easter buffet table. I think it served the purpose of raising up the pie to give the table more interest.

An upturned faux farm crate highlights the dessert
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What will the half crate be used for next? I’m not sure, but using removable vinyl gives me the chance to easily do a makeover.

Have you used a half crate in your crafting? I’d love to hear (or see) your ideas!