We currently live in an Italian neighbourhood and in the fall a good many of our neighbours squished their own grapes to make wine. The result was that there were plenty of these nice wooden crates at the curb when they were done. I knew I HAD to have them, to make SOMETHING, but I didn’t know what, exactly, I was going to do with them. Then my brother-in-law got a cat. Then my brother got a cat. Then my sister-in-law mentioned that she was going to get a cat. And cats like boxes. And these boxes are cat-sized. So there you go.
First I had to clean them off and scrape off the labels and sand them a bit.
The sides of the crates were made from particle board, so I didn’t sand too much, naturally.
I did wonder how the porosity of the particle board would affect my ability to stain it. I guess the only way to find out is to do it!
I used a variety of stains for this, the dregs that were in the bottoms of cans from previous projects. One was a gel stain, which I had never used before.
You can see how dark it goes on.
It almost covered up the ink on the sides of the crate, but came back through once I wiped off the excess.
Here you can see the other two stains, which were more translucent.
Wiping off the excess with a rag after painting it on.
It came out darker depending on the roughness of the wood.
And I forgot about the whole STAINING part of stain, and forgot to wear gloves. Oops.
Once they’d dried, I painted on a quick layer of varathane.
Again, because I didn’t sand them too much, we weren’t looking at baby’s bottom smoothness here.
The completed boxes.
I bought three pillows, each 13″ x 20″, which nearly fit the inside of the boxes.
Fortunately my mother has what amounts to a fabric store in her basement, so I had plenty of patterns to choose from for cushion covers.
I made the cushion covers in the same fashion as I make all my other cushion covers: with the simple overlap in the back that eliminates the need for buttons or zippers, which are beyond my skill level. I double-sewed all the seams because I wanted them to last through being removed for washing. I got the whole thing done super quickly, too, because I was using my grandmother’s sewing machine, which has two settings: terrifyingly fast, and supersonic. And I didn’t sew my thumb to anything, either, so I count that as a win.
The cushions, stuffed inside the covers.
And inside the box. There’s a little gap on the sides, but once the pillows get squished down by the cats they’ll fill the whole space.
I decided they were too tricky to wrap (and a waste of paper), so it’s more of a token wrapping job.