How to personalise an old wooden crate or trug


I’m not sure what you would call this old thing; I think it’s a trug and it used to live inside our Victorian ‘coffee table’ chest, but eventually ended up in the garden shed with some bits and bobs in it.  So when we had a much needed ‘shed cull’ recently, it became redundant and I wondered what to do with it.  Since I had bought some flowers and hadn’t planted them out, I thought it might look nice painted with our house number and popped outside the front door as a container for the blooms.

So how did I do it?  Well, It’s not perfect by any means, this is not a ‘how to become a professional sign-writer’ post, but rather a quick upcycle idea.  I just found some number templates on pinterest that I liked, printed them out onto craft paper and used a stick of chalk to colour in the reverse side (the darker the chalk the better if you are doing this onto light coloured wood).

Then simply put the chalky side against the wood and with a pencil, trace the outline of the numbers.  When you remove the paper, you should have template of the numbers, pressed onto the wood in chalk as a paint guide, like this:

Next I took one of the kids’ art brushes and painted in a dark blue-black chalk paint I already had in that I had used on this chest.  Any paint would do really.  Then I popped the pot plants inside and placed it by the door, under the porch.

I  wondered whether to sand the numbers after I had painted them to give it a more shabby, age-worn look.  I haven’t yet, but I might – what do you think, would it look better?

© Copyright Antonia, All rights Reserved. Written For: #tidylife


  1. July 15, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    Putting chalk on the back and tracing over the design on the front – what a brilliantly simple idea! I think the crate looks great and perfect just as it is. Love it.

  2. admin
    July 16, 2014 / 7:26 pm

    Hi Anna, I hope you are good? I know, plain old chalk! The simple ideas are often the best 🙂 I’ve also used carbon paper to transfer a more accurate outline onto wood, that works a treat x

  3. August 14, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    I’ve been saving this post in my e-mail, as I have some wooden drawers I scored from a lady at the tip (I know… Beloved was MORTIFIED!!) that I want to do exactly this with. I’ll keep you posted when I (finally) do! 🙂
    Sue J recently posted…August has arrived (not that you’d know it)My Profile

    • admin
      August 25, 2014 / 4:20 pm

      Yay, great Sue! Looking forward to seeing the finished result x

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