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DIY Recipe Box Using a Wine Crate

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What can you put into a wooden wine crate after the wine is gone? You can repurpose it and make one chic DIY recipe box for your kitchen to hold and organize all your favorite recipes.


I promised last week that I would show you one last item that I wanted to make for my kitchen cart island.

A few posts ago I shared that I added a second shelf to the island. One of the reasons I added the second shelf to my rolling island kitchen cart was that I wanted a handy place for my recipe box.

I have a small kitchen with no room to keep it handy. 5 years ago, I totally reorganized my recipe box. How I organized it has worked extremely well over the years so I didn’t change that aspect of the box. I did however want to give the box a new look so it would feel more “foodie chic” on my cart.

I was inspired about a DIY wine crate idea when we were in France last year.

I have always wanted a wine crate basket for my bike after seeing one like this when I was in NYC a few years ago for a blogging event. A very stylish woman was on her way to work on a black vintage bike with a wine crate on the back holding her tote. So chic…

When I saw a few again in France, even though I knew I didn’t have a place to ride my bike, I was inspired to find a way to use a wine crate in my home somewhere.

Completed repurposed wine crate recipe box on kitchen island.

As you can see, I found a way.

Recipe box diy idea using a wooden wine crate. Finished recipe box on a kitchen island.

I custom made it to fit my needs and on the shelf on my kitchen cart island using wine crate fronts so there would be a winery logo on each side of the recipe box.

I am thrilled with it as it adds a little more of the ” foodie chic” feel to my kitchen. I know it is just a recipe box, but I love it for the fact that I made something I envisioned and custom designed it for my needs.

How to Make a DIY Recipe Card Box By Repurposing a Wooden Wine Crate

4 wine crate fronts removed from the crate. Repurposing wooden wine crates ideas.

I made my DIY recipe card box to fit large 5′ x 8″ index cards. I also only used wine crate front panels instead of just one wine crate. This way I could have a winery logo on each side of my box.

Try to find front panels with the same thickness, but know it still can be made if they are not. One of my panels was thicker and one had grooves.

Supplies needed to fill and organize a new recipe card box. Glue stick, Sharpie, Scissors, Index cards and divider tabs.

supplies needed:

I cut the panels down to size. If you have one wine crate, you will have enough wood to make the box, but will have only one winery logo, unless your crate has more than one logo on it – some do.

Further down in the post is a list of where you can find wine crates.

  • 5 Wine crate front panels
    • 2 for Front and Back: Cut to size: 9-3/16″ (w) x 4-3/8″ (h)
    • 2 for Sides: Cut to size: 13″ (w) x 4-3/8″ (h)
    • Optional: Wood Divider: Cut to size: 8-1/4″ (w) x 5″ (h)
  • 1/4″ plywood for bottom – Cut to size: 8-1/4″ (w) x 13″ (l) *If using one wine crate, no need for plywood – you can use bottom of wine crate.
  • Clear acetate – saved from packaging or you can buy a few sheets at your local copy shop.
  • Pencil
  • Straight-edge
  • Saw
  • Wood glue
  • 5/8″ long carpet tacks
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Drill and thin drill bit

For recipe cards and dividers:

Time needed: 2 hours.

How to Make a DIY Recipe Box Using a Wine Crate

  1. Take Wine Crate Apart


    If you are using an intact wine crate, you will need to take it apart. Use a small pry bar to carefully take it apart. If you are using wine crate front panels to make a box – proceed to next step.

  2. Cut Each Panel To Size


    I used 4 wine crate panel fronts and cut them down to fit the width of 5″ x 8″ index cards. When the box is assembled it is 4-4/8″ high.

    I cut a piece of clear acetate to make a template. This makes it easy to see the logo as you center the template over it when marking each for the size. The sizes are listed in supplies list above.

  3. Find Center of Each Wine Crate Panel


    Lay clear template over logo, find center and lightly trace around it using a pencil. Repeat for each panel. Using a table saw or jigsaw, cut each out.

    Note: Front and back panels will be shorter. The side panels will be longer so choose longer winery logos for the sides so you won’t have to cut as much of them off.

    Plywood and wine crate fronts getting ready to be cut to make a custom recipe card box.

  4. Cut Plywood For Bottom


    Since I used wine crate front panels to make my box, I needed a piece of plywood for the bottom of my box. If you are using a full wine crate, use the bottom of the crate for the bottom, no plywood needed.

    Use a straight edge to mark the plywood to 8-1/4″ (w) x 13″ (l). Cut on lines.
    Sand edges smooth.

    Measuring plywood for bottom on recipe box.

  5. Glue Pieces Together


    Lay wine panels and bottom of box on worktable. Apply wood glue to attach the front, back and sides to the bottom. Let dry.

    Note: You want to make sure to glue the front, back and sides of the box to the side of the bottom. This is important as the inside bottom of the box needs to stay a little wider than 8″ to hold the index cards.

    Wood wine panels being glued together to create a box.

  6. Drill Holes for Tacks


    Use a small drill bit to make a tiny hole to hammer nails in. Drilling a hole will help keep the nails from splitting the wood.

    Drilling a hole for a nail in the side of a recipe box made using a wooden wine crate.

  7. Hammer in Tacks


    Hammer in a nail/tack into each drilled hole.
    Hammering in a nail to make a diy recipe card box using wine crate panels.

  8. Add Nails


    Once the glue is dry, reinforce the assembly of the box using rug tacks or very flat head nails that resemble wine box nails. I placed two nails on each side of the box

    Flat head nails and carpet tacks used to construct a wood wine crate recipe card holder.

  9. Optional: Make a Movable Wood Divider


    I made my recipe card box longer than I needed, not only for when my recipe card collection grows, but also to divide it into two sections. This give me a place to put magazine recipe clippings and recipes I printed out from blogs into the back that I want to try out. If we like them, then they will get a recipe card. If not, the clipping or printable goes into recycling.

    I used a 5th wine crate front to make this wood divider. I cut it to be very snug inside the box. This way I can move it when needed, but it is snug enough to keep the cards in the front of the box from falling down inside the box.

    Close up shot of wood recipe card box made using a wine crate.

  10. Close Up of Divider

    Wood wine crate front used to make a divider in a recipe card holder box.

  11. Fill the Box With Recipe Cards


    I made my recipe cards using 5 x 8 index cards and followed the same recipe box organizing I shared in this post: Recipe Box ReDux

    I used super thick plain white index cards and stick on insertable tabs to make the category dividers.

    I printed out the category names using MS Word and the font Century Schoolbook.

    Clever idea upcycling a wine box in the kitchen to make a diy recipe holder card box.

How to Make a Stay-Clean Recipe Card Cover

DIY clear cover for recipe cards so they don't get splattered when cooking or baking. Wood wine crate in background.

I am sure you are familiar with the acrylic cookbook stands that you place an open cookbook in so that you can see your cookbooks through it so it won’t get splattered as you prep and cook.

I made something similar on a much smaller scale for my recipe cards.

Wine crate fronts repurposed and made into a wood recipe box filled with white index cards and dividers.

It is stored right in the recipe box where I can easily grab it when I remove a card to make a recipe.

Clear acetate sheets from packaging. I save these to use when crafting.

To make it I used a thick piece of acetate. I save acetate from packaging to use to cover drawer labels, make clear templates as I did to make sure I cut the winery logos so they were centered.

Close up of DIY clear cover for recipe cards when you are using them.

I cut the acetate to 8″ wide x 6-1/2″ tall. I then scored a line 1-1/2″ down from the top using the tip of a pair if scissors. Scoring is not cutting, but making a groove in the acetate that you can then fold.

When the cover sits on the counter, it is raised up a bit and the recipe card slides right in.

Where to Find Wine Crates for Creative DIY Decor

Wood wine crates cut to size to make a diy recipe card holder.

Wood wine crates, wine boxes or crate front panels to repurpose can be found:

  • At thrift stores and yard sales. Many times they may be holding smaller items for sale so don’t overlook them.
  • On Ebay and Etsy. Check the shipping price though, many of the listings are from the UK and shipping is way too much.
  • Ask at your local liquor store. They may give them to you or charge a nominal fee.

More Wooden DIY Wine Crate Ideas

Kitchen island with recipe box on it. Text overlay says Make It! Wine crate recipe card box.

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20 Comments

  1. I hope you and yours are safe and healthy. Thanks for posting, as I’ve recently purchased some organic poulets that are still in that hung hen, legs extended position. This is a perfect way to cook without drying out those legs. I’ve got to say, although I love my Staubs, color me green with envy! Your ironware! Sigh, guess I’ll just have to keep on searching. All the best to you and yours and thanks for this timely post

  2. I would trust Tony with my life. This is a good man. I, too, will ask for the “trust me” selection when I go to “Noodle Pudding” tonight. Love the man, love the food.persian grocery

  3. Oh my goodness! How fun to see you at our link party! I used to follow your blog years ago, and then just got out of the habit of reading so many blogs. Starting my own led to that! Thank you for sharing your wonderful project! I hope to see you again this week at Embracing Home and Family!

  4. This is so cute, Diane! I love the character in this piece. Another good way to protect recipe cards is to use the clear plexi frames from Dollar Tree- both the easel style or the refrigerator magnets. Hope you and your family continue to be well!

  5. Love this! Your blog always inspires me! I also want to say that I truly appreciate that your blog continues to not only be inspirational but after many years you still provide content that your average reader can relate to! So many bloggers I follow, as they have gotten more popular and get more endorsements, push items that begin to get way out of my price range and it’s sad, because after following someone for so long you oddly feel like they are your friends. :) Thank you for providing all of us regular folk with relatable content!

  6. This is such a great idea. I’m into all things French and Italian. In anticipation of a planned trip to Italy this year (sadly canceled due to Covid) we started watching movies filmed there and I started trying to learn the language. One thing I did learn was the Italian custom of long midday breaks and their culture of enjoying leisure, or as the put it, dolce fa niente, the sweetness of doing nothing. It has become my new motto. You can imagine my surprise when I found a wine crate in a restaurant with this on the side. Of course I googled it and found that I could buy this on line but couldn’t figure out what I could do with it. The last thing I need is something else to hang on the wall. I’ll be showing your project to my husband so that I can have something similar. Of course, purchasing crates of wine (as opposed to empty wine crates) is more appealing but surely out of my price range! Thanks for sharing such a great idea.
    Btw, I love your cart and talked my son into buying one for his small kitchen. They’re great!

    1. Ciao! Margo – Sorry that your trip to Italy had to be cancelled. Hopefully in another year or two, we will be able to travel without worry. Excellent idea about following the Italian custom of taking a break in the afternoon. Very smart as life is too short, not to enjoy every single day. I totally understand about not wanting more to hang on the walls. :-)

      My cart has truly made my small kitchen a highly functioning one. I hope you enjoy yours. :-)

  7. Love it! You are so creative Diane! Thanks so much for the amazing ideas you always give us!

  8. Good thinking and engineering to realize your vision! Your tutorials are always so well described and illustrated, too! You now have the most chic recipe box!