Easy Vintage Berry Crates

berry baskets

Do you love vintage pieces? Today, we are going to speak about how to make easy vintage berry crates.  As I said summer is here and this means berry season.  I especially look forward to this produce being available in abundance!

I begin thinking about berry smoothies, blueberry galettes, and blueberry pies and adding these fruits to Sangria.

Besides enjoying berries, I also am a fan of vintage fruit crates. Are you a fan? Do you know the ones with the metal edges and the patina? For me, this has been on my search for thrifting. Unfortunately, I have had no luck.

So, I came up with the next best thing, make my own vintage-looking crates. And wait until you see how I make these little berry crates! This is such a great way to add an old look.

It took one click on my computer, and BAM I find these new berry crates HERE at Amazon.

Before I get into how to make vintage berry crates, I think I will share a few ideas on how to use these too!

Different Ideas to Use These Berry Crates for Food and in the Home

A Few Ways to Use These Old Crates

9 Easy Ways to Use Old-Looking Berry Crates in Your Home

  • Besides berries, how about lining these containers with a pretty napkin and filling it with your favorite snack poolside?   
  • Also, line with a napkin and fill with a slider and fries. 
  • How about adding a small glass dish and filling it with your favorite dipping sauce for fries?
  • Another example is lining it with paper and filling these with an assortment of cheeses, fruits, and crackers on a charcuterie board or tray.
  • I also think these will be fun with different candies and small desserts. Think about, wrapped chocolates, and M&M’s.
  • Store hair ties to grab these easily and keep them neat.
  • Make a May Day basket for a family member or friend.
  • How about adding nail polish wrapped with cellophane and a pretty ribbon and giving this as a gift?
  • Store crayons for the kids to color

These will also be great for favors for your guests for a birthday party, bridal shower, or graduation party. Fill a cellophane bag inside with cookies and treats.

Make Vintage Berry Crates Easily Using Tea Stain

Using Natural Products to Stain These Crates

After receiving the new crates, I began coming up with an idea of how to age them and make them vintage looking.  I didn’t want to deal with stains.  These containers are balsa wood and I think the stain would have been too heavy and bled through the wood.

Also, I’m trying to keep these old looking berry crates food safe as well so the idea of chemical stains isn’t an option.

baskets before doing anything to them

So, how did I make these berry crates look old? 

Step 1: Make Hot Tea or Coffee to Begin Staining

I brewed some hot tea using our Keurig machine.  After it cooled, using a chip brush I began adding the tea to stain the berry crates naturally.

Supplies List:

  • wood berry crates
  • tea bags or brewed coffee
  • ground cloves or ground cinnamon
  • chip brush
  • plastic container or bowl for tea or coffee
  • gray craft paint

Above you can see the tea did change these crates, however, this didn’t give them quite the look I am wanting.

Adding Ground Clove and Tea for Vintage Crate Look

Step 2: Pour Clove onto a Paper plate

Next, I took the plastic top off the spice jar and poured a decent amount of the spice into a bowl. This gives these fruit crates a more vintage appearance.


hot tea and cloves

How To Make Vintage Berry Crates after brushing using the brush

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container after painted with tea for staining

Meanwhile, while the cartons were drying I kept the tea nearby, to keep my brush a bit damp.  

Above, you will notice the different textures beginning to take shape from the spice.

How To Make Vintage Berry Crates dipping the brush into to the tea to add more dry clove
adding the cry clove to add even more of a vintage look to the berry crates

the baskets drying overnight

Adding More Texture and Age Using Craft Paint

Step 3: Brush a Bit of Medium Grey Craft Paint on

Next, to add even more of a vintage look to the crates, I use a small brush and medium gray craft paint. 

a small paint brush

Here add a bit of paint and smooth into the upper corners and bottom corners.  Fruit crates tend to get that blackish or charcoal color on seams and corners.  Doing this step didn’t take long and added extra age to the vintage look.

How To Make Vintage Berry Crates adding medium grey craft paint to add another layer of an old age look

Adding These Vintage Containers to My Decor

Step 4: Adding These to Different Spots on the Top of My Kitchen Hutch

Lastly, adding these tea and spice-stained crates to my summer hutch brings a touch of whimsy.  They also add a rustic natural look that I love mixed with elegant pieces. 

the vintage crates next to a topiary, old green seltzer bottle and a small flower pot with a moss ball inside
How To Make Vintage Berry Crates a close up of the baskets

Here’s an example where the texture and details of this simple aging process can be seen.

the vintge berry crates next to a cloche with a flowerpot inside filled with lambs ear.  two flower pots stacked next to the cloche with moss inside the flowerpots

I truly think these fruit baskets definitely have the old, aged appearance of a vintage berry basket! Don’t you?

I’m beyond thrilled with this natural technique. And this is another reason why I enjoy nature and natural products!

a close up of the finished craft project

I hope you enjoyed these easy vintage berry crates. This project is especially fast and easy to create. Let me know if you love old pieces in your home too. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. 

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54 thoughts on “Easy Vintage Berry Crates

  1. I can almost smell the cloves through the computer screen. I thought you were going to show us how to make the actual berry crate based on your post title. The way you stained the wood resulted in a beautiful color. Enjoy using these for summer decor!

  2. These look lovely and aged. Vintage inspired…I’ve done this with new grape crates. I used diluted paint. I love your layered technique.

  3. This is such a great craft!!! Thanks so much for sharing how you transform these little berry baskets… How cute!!!!

  4. Pinning these right now, Cindy, they are so fantastic! I love the way you used the cloves to add texture and tea for the stain. You are so creative and always coming up with ideas I would have never thought of in a million years. I’m super excited to try these! Hugs, CoCo

  5. These are so cool Cindy! I have some berry baskets and I can’t wait to try this technique on them! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Farmhouse Friday – we’re featuring you at tomorrow’s party!

  6. Popping over from Farmhouse Friday. Wow, they look just like authentic timeworn berry baskets. So cool! I’ve used the tea technique for aging but never cloves and gray paint. I’m definitely trying that next time.

  7. Great post, Cindy! I love vintage berry crates! Thanks for sharing all these tips! Have a great week!

  8. These are so cool, Cindy! I love that they can be used throughout the year and how you aged them to perfection too. They’re fabulous! Pinning – CoCo

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