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DIY Antique-looking Crate Centerpieces

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Katie B

crate centerpieces

I love these vintage antique-looking crate centerpieces and decided to make them for my own wedding. Here is an easy way to age any type of wood to give it that rustic vintage look.

First you needed to get the crates. I would have loved to find some reclaimed wood or truly vintage crates, however, when you require 15-20 of them sometimes this is just not possible. So I caved and I bought the crates. I got them online from Joann’s and used a coupon. Each crate was about $5, not too bad. The crates are 12” long and will look great on the tables. They looked just like inspiration picture expect they were white pine, which is not the look I am going for. So I headed down to my local hardware storm for some stain. After browsing around and reading the different warnings about fumes and toxicity, I decided there had to be a better DIY solution. And sure enough, there was!


crate centerpieces

To create this look you will need:

  • 2 glass containers ( or mason jars)
  • 1 old paint brush
  • white vinegar
  • super-fine grade steel wool
  • black tea (10 or so tea bags)


Start by soaking the steel wool in vinegar over night. The acid will break down the steel wool. While you are waiting, paint the wood crates with two coats of strong black tea. Let them dry between coats. After 24 hours remove the steel wool and ‘paint’ the vinegar onto your wood. You may not see a reaction right away but after a few minutes it will start to darken. After about 20 minutes the wood turns a lovely dark colour. It is amazing! The metal that is dissolved in the vinegar essentially rusts when it hits the wood and gives a lovely rustic finish. In the picture below, the left crate has just been painted with vinegar and the right is about 30 minutes later. And the best part is that they are eco-friendly and inexpensive! A great DIY for any bride-to-be.


Katie B

is a bride blogger who got married in 2014. You can read her wedding planning posts here.