DIY Decorative Wood Box

April 22, 2016

Hey there all! Hope you have had a great week and have an even better weekend planned! I'm back today to share a popular post from years ago with a little updated info. 

This is a perfect example of buying vs. doing it yourself. I LOVE to DIY but there are definitely times I just want to buy an item. Believe me, I say do what you want (Cartman!) -- if it makes you happy to do it yourself, go for it. If you have the money and have no desire to DIY, buy the sucker. 

I will say doing it yourself is usually cheaper. This is a good example. I was at Home Depot this week picking up flooring for the basement (more on that soon) and came across this fun new section: 
Wood crates and pallets Home Depot

I had to laugh because they are selling pallets now! I actually think this is quite brilliant. None of them are full sized pallets, just half, but still, it's a smart move on their part. It just made me laugh because you can get them for free some places. (Please check with a business before taking pallets though -- some will gladly pass them on, others will not.) 

They had a bunch of other containers and ideas as well -- I love the cute photos they had above with ideas. My mouth did fall open when I saw the price of this one though: 
Long wood box Home Depot

And that's when I got to thinking about this old post. My DIY wood trough is one I get asked about a ton and it's really one of the simplest projects I've ever done. I used a nail gun but you could use clamps and glue or a hammer and nails do to it as well. Have the folks cut your wood if you don't have a saw. 

I have two of these now and the possibilities with them are endless. I love filling them with greenery and lights at Christmas! They look great on a window sill or down the middle of a table -- they're great for filling odd spots. 

Last year I placed one on the bookcase I built in our living room: 
DIY half wall bookcase

It still has dried hydrangeas in it and looks so pretty. :) My first box was free because I used scrap wood. I used cedar for that one but the other is just made with basic pine. Both stain beautifully:
gray fireplace marble tile

If you want to build a smaller one like at Home Depot it will probably run you less than $6, if that. The beauty of it is, if you don't want to do it yourself, just buy it! Remember you'll still need to paint or stain it but I think it's great that they are carrying these items now.

Here's the original tutorial for you! This is my post from years ago so if there are old references that's why. And my boy was just a baby back then! Sniff. Enjoy…

Today I wanted to share another how-to for a project from the family room redo. I’m almost done, I swear. :) When we moved the TV over the long dresser, it meant my accessory options dwindled quite a bit. Whatever I put on there had to be long and low…and I didn’t have anything that would work.
I lived with it for a few days and then an idea came to me. I love the look of the old wood troughs I’ve seen here and there online and in antique shops. I guess they’re called troughs – I have no idea.
I just love them. :)

I knew I could make my own, so that I did. I wanted it to be longer than the TV, so I needed something 48 inches long. I went out the garage and found a scrap of thick molding used as a chair rail in our powder room:

That room has been torn apart for months now. That is how I roll.

I used that as the base, or bottom of the container, because I knew it wouldn’t be seen. For the sides, I wanted a rustic, dark wood. So I dug around the garage some more. And I found some leftover cedar from our shutter fix out front. This is why I’m OK with the fact that we can’t walk through half of our garage. I keep all my scraps for just this. :)

The cedar has a rough side:
cedar wood
But that was a little too rough for me, so I went with the smooth side:

But it needed a little distressing. :)

I grabbed some tools:

And my assistant got to work:
my assistant
For once Mommy said take the hammer and GO FOR IT.
We had a blast. :)

Afterwards this is what we had:
Making a decorative wood box

And after using a foam brush to apply a quick coat of this:
minwax dark walnut
(I tell you what – stain lasts forever. I’ve had this little can for YEARS.)

We ended up with a beautiful, rustic piece of wood:

I put it together like I did the DIY window boxes I showed you here. Basically I glued and nailed the sides onto the sides of the bottom piece of wood, then capped each end off like so:
Decorative wood box
The rough end of the wood shows at each end, but that’s what I wanted. LOVE. By the way, this is so not perfect. There’s some gaps at the ends where wood meets wood -- I just put the not-perfect side on the back. :)

I envisioned big puffy hydrangeas spilling out of it when I made this thing, and they sure don’t disappoint:
trough of hydrangeas
It’s deep enough so I could just put little cups of water in there, then place the flowers in. :)

I’m quite giddy about it’s possibilities too – piled high with acorns and leaves for fall, greenery and ornaments at Christmas, grass and Easter eggs…I could go on and on! It’s the project that keeps on giving. :)

I love how it turned out, and I promise you can do one of these too. This one took about 40 minutes start to finish, but I used a compound saw and a nail gun, which definitely speeds up the process.
It could be done without either though – a hand saw and regular nails would work just fine (the nails would add to the rustic look!).

One more look at my DIY trough-thingamabob:
DIY wood trough
I love how well it fills in that awkward spot! If you decide to try it, I think the cedar was about $4 for an eight foot piece. You could use just about any kind of wood though – you’ll get the same effect with some distressing and stain.

This is such a simple and inexpensive project, I just had to bring it back out from the depths! :) Have a wonderful weekend my friends!
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  1. We just made 20 of these for our wedding in June! We found fencing panels for $1.27 a piece at Lowe's that worked perfectly. I think I spent about $35 total for all of them, and we are filling them with glittered wine bottles, hurricanes with candles in them, and hydrangeas! I have had your first post filed away for years and am so glad that I could pull it out for this.

  2. I made "your" box with an old piece of dark walnut stained wood we used as a "desk". It came together SO easily. I absolutely love it and get loads of compliments on it :) I have dried hydrangeas in it right now...

  3. I LOVE this! This is on my list of things to make for sure. I've seen them with Mason jars in them too, so cute, and easy. Home Depot is selling deconstructed pallets online too--have to admit I went that route, so worth not having to do it myself ��

  4. I would love to make something like this for my dining room table!! But not as long since it's just a 6 footer. Also I think it's hilarious they are picking up on the pallet trend and trying to turn it into profit... can't they just give us the pallets for free when they get a shipment and save the trees?! LoL

  5. Reading about Home Depot selling deconstructed pallets, box, etc. cracks me up. Are they getting despite for business. Have no idea if HD in Grand Junction is selling pallets or not, will have to check it out.
    We don't go to Home Depot very often at all, getting de-constructed pallet is handy as tearing them apart is big pain. We still have several pallets out in our lower back yard, already nicely seasoned.
    Hubs made few boxes last couple years but need to get them painted/stained. They also need sanding as splinters are a danger, guess better get busy as have ideas to use them.
    Really like how you made, stained, and used your troughs, are very versatile for decorating. Happy weekend

  6. Awesome Sarah! Now I'll be paying more attention to troughs!
    Kim ~

  7. I WANT A NAIL GUN!! I'm not at all proficient with power tools, but I bet I could use this one. It would make nailing SO much easier for my arthritic hands. Well, Mothers' Day is coming up....maybe...instead of jewels, flowers or chocolate I could hint about a nail gun! Perhaps I could still get some chocolate along with the nail gun. What do you think? Worth a try!

    I really like the long, narrow planter you made. I also like the ones Home Depot has!
    Just in case I don't get the nail gun for Mothers' Day. ha, ha

    Thanks for the inspiration, Susan. I enjoy your posts.

  8. Did I just call you Susan?? Sorry, Sarah, I don't know why I did that. Anyway, I know that you are NOT Susan, but SARAH!

  9. What are the dimensions of your boxes?


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