Learn how to make a cheap DIY recipe box from a repurposed wine crate. Fun and easy craft project making a family recipe box using a wine crate.
If you love cooking and are a vivid collector of recipes (as I am) then you might share this problem: how to store and organize those loose recipes so you can find them when you want to use them.
If you are the kind of recipe collector that writes them all down on neat index cards and categorizes them by ingredient and dinner course, then I tip my hat to you.
I am not that organized when it comes to my favorite family recipes. But I have a few truly vintage recipes that I want to keep safe and easy to use. In my current
system chaos, I was bound to lose or damage them so I wanted a better way to keep them safe.
So I set out to create a family recipe box that was A) cute, B) cheap, and C) really easy to make.
I made this DIY recipe box using a wine crate I had laying around and simply decorated the box with some sharpie decorations. Easy, quick, and very affordable.
So let’s get started: how to make a cheap DIY recipe box.
How to Make a Recipe Box
The steps for making a personal recipe box couldn’t be easier:
- Decide on the form of your recipes (index cards, printouts, cutouts)
- Find a box or crate that fits the size of your recipes
- Decorate the box in your own personal style
- Organize the recipes inside the box (use dividers to categorize them) and done!
Couldn’t be easier.
Now let me show you how I made my wine crate recipe box.
How to decorate a plain wooden wine box.
First I rescued this wine crate from the dump pile. As you can see it had been in that pile for a bit. Luckily enough it wasn’t too roughed up. Nothing that a good wipe and some soap and water couldn’t fix. When it was clean and dry I went on to the next step.
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I practiced on the wrong side of the wooden lid first. I drew a decoration that reminded me of henna tattoos like in this pin. Although my design was nothing as fancy as that. Then I drew a grid of dots on the side of the wine crate to help me transfer the design over.
If you are a perfectionist you might want to make a proper template of your design and use a transfer method to draw it on the crate. I was going for the handmade look so I wasn’t too concerned with perfection.
I drew my design with a pencil which allowed me to erase mistakes.
Then I redrew the design with an acid-free ink pen with a soft tip.
Next up was putting on an audiobook and starting stippling away. Making dots and dots and more dots to fill in my designs on all sides of the wine box.
That part was fun and didn’t nearly take as long as I thought.
I did a little test run if it would work to add a protective glaze over the crate but it didn’t. It made the ink run on the wood. Maybe in the future, I’ll try to see if a protective oil would work. But for now, I am happy with the outcome.
Next came the most fun part. Collecting those old recipes and giving them their proper home. I have some old handwritten recipes from my mom that are at least 40 years old, and that I treasure.
There are also some recipes my sister typed out for my mom when she was learning to type on one of those analog typewriters (that are so old we didn’t even know the word analog back then).
And I have a few menus I collected on vacations that have inspiring ideas on them that I am meaning to recreate. As well as some cutouts from very old magazines.
It all went into my wine crate as is. No need for index cards or any kind of real organization. I have no patience for that. But this wine crate idea for a recipe box really works well with that kind of recipe organization too.
Diane from In My Own Style made a wonderful vintage wine crate recipe box that is perfect for use with cards.
If you like her project but can’t find vintage wine crates then you can fake them with this technique I showed you in the post on how to make a new wine crate look old and french.
Another great idea for a recipe box is this recipe cabinet redo by the Apple Street Cottage.
I am really happy with how easy and fun this DIY recipe box project was. It came out even better than I had hoped.
Now I’ll have to go hunt for more recipes that are worthy of my homemade recipe box.
Luckily some of my friends in the Pinterest Challenge group have been sharing their favorite recipes. So I am sure there are some keepers among those.
Cake Décor with Strawberry Roses
Gail @Purple Hues and Me says
Your lovely recipe box using a wine crate is such a great idea, Marianne! I wish I had thought of it – I have an old wine crate, too! I had been thinking about organizing my recipes, too! I’m embarrassed to say that I keep mine in a ziplock bag. But the more I thought about it, the more I dreaded taking the time to organize my recipes. I’m so glad you’ve inspired me to get out my wine crate and get to work! Thanks!
What a pretty way to store your treasured recipes! If you want to seal it, try a spray like Krylon. It shouldn’t make the ink run.
What a lovely makeover. The design is perfect. At first I thought you’d done some wood burning but using a sharpie is a similar effect and much much easier.
I smiled when I saw your recipes, handwritten recipes are just the best aren’t they? So special. I have some my mum typed on an old manual typewriter too. You now have a perfect place to keep them together and protected.
I really love this idea. Sadly I do not have any old family recipes as the women in my family did not write anything down. However I really love your final product and particularly your design on the crate. I would have spent hours trying to decide on my design and then scared to get started so that I didn’t mess it up. I applaud your confidence in doing this project.
This is the sweetest! Seems like a perfect repository to keep them together and safe, but still very accessible!
I love your recipe box, I love it’s from a recycle box.
The best diy’s are the ones that we can make with what we have.
Julie Huston says
I love the design on the box! Your box turned out cute.
Tammy Straub says
I love your recipe box. What a great ideal. I have my recipes from my mother, my mother-in-law and a great aunt, my husbands paternal grandmother plus their cookbooks. With all of that I had to go with something a little bit larger. I found a small trunk at a flea market that looks like old leather books strapped together. And like you. I’m not great about having everything perfectly in a specified order. Mainly just having it all where I can find it is what I need.