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DIY Dry Brushed and Distressed Chalk Painted Numbered Crates

Kids come with a lot of stuff. Books. Toys. Games. Puzzles. Clothes. Sports gear. etc. etc.

And even though we have a playroom… the ‘stuff’ seems to spill over. And sometimes it can feel like it is taking over the house.

Do you know what I’m talkin’ about?

What we need (besides a good old fashioned purge every now and again) is to take advantage of every little piece of space in our house in order to keep things tidy and organized.

But I know I don’t want just any old bin mucking up my living room. Do you?

Enter these dry brushed and distressed numbered chalk painted crates that I made from some inexpensive unfinished wooden crates that I picked up at a big box store. They cost less then $9 each. And with a little DIY, they are now a stylish and functional addition to our living room. The perfect spot to store those puzzles and books close at hand in our living room.

And they fit right under our little window bench. Double bonus.

Dry Brushed and Distressed Numbered Crates with Country Chic Chalk Paint by The Happy Housie


To make these I used:

– wooden crates (I bought mine at Walmart for $8 each)
– wood stain
– Country Chic Chalk Paint in Simplicity
– Country Chic Chalk Paint in Elegance
– a computer print out of my numbers
– a pencil

Step One: Dry brush the Crate in Simplicity

I started out by giving the crate a coat of wood stain and letting it dry.

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates before painting at the happy housie

Once dry, I used a thick craft paint brush to ‘dry brush’ on a coat of Simplicity.

To dry brush, simply dip your brush in the paint, then remove the excess by dragging the brush along the edge of the paint container. You can also remove the excess by dragging the dipped paint brush onto an old rag.

Once your brush is quite ‘dry’, apply the paint onto the crate spreading it out as much as possible until all the paint is off of your brush.

Once the dry brushing is complete, your crate will look something like this….

Dry Brush over Stain rustic numbered crates with simplicity at the happy housie

You really can’t go wrong with this, because if the paint goes on too heavy, it is easy to remove it with a damp cloth (especially within the first hour after painting).

Once the dry brushed crate(s) are “dry” it is time to move onto…

Step Two: Stenciling the Numbers

Start by printing out some numbers that you like on regular printer paper.

Dry Brush over Stain rustic numbered crates printed numbers at the happy housie

Flip the paper over and use a pencil to fill in the number on the BACK of the page… by doing this you are, in effect, creating your own ‘transfer paper’. It should look like this on the back side of the paper:

Dry Brush over Stain rustic numbered crates pencil transfer technique at the happy housie

Then position a number on one of the crates (with the printed side facing up towards you and the penciled side against the crate). Trace over the number outline with your pencil and it will magically transfer the pencil onto your crate, creating an outline of the number directly on your piece.

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates pencil transfer at the happy housie

Step Three: Painting and Distressing the Numbering

Once all the numbering has been outlined on the crates, simply fill in the numbers using your paint (I used Elegance) and a small craft brush. Don’t be nervous- it doesn’t have to be perfect because you can disguise imperfections when you distress it later.

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates with country chich paint at the happy housie

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates painting on Elegance at the happy housie

Once the numbers have been painted, let them dry for less then an hour, and then distress them using a slightly damp cloth. Just press your cloth down where you wish to distress the paint and gently rub back and forth like you are doing some cleaning. Use gentle pressure at first until you get comfortable with how much pressure you need to use to get the look you want.

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates polishing at the happy housie

Here you can see where I removed the paint…

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates areas distressed at the happy housie

Step Four: Waxing

Let your paint dry overnight and then apply a coat of clear wax using (ideally) a wax brush. This was my first project using an actual wax brush rather then a cloth to apply wax and it went on like a dream. I LOVE my wax brush and wish I had gotten one months ago. Let the wax dry for a little while (I let it dry for around an hour) and then buffed it off using a clean, lint free cloth.

Dry brush over stain rustic numbered crates waxing at the happy housie

All done!

Dry Brushed and Distressed Numbered Crates done at The Happy Housie

I love how these look below my DIY window bench  in our living room – they are the perfect spot to store books and puzzles for my boys and give quick and easy access for cleaning up!

Dry Brushed and Distressed Numbered Crates at The Happy Housie

Dry Brushed and Distressed number crates done by The Happy Housie

See where they are ‘hidden’??

Spring Home Tour Living Room Overall at The Happy Housie

Like these?

Pin it to remember it!

DIY Dry Brushed and Distressed Chalk Painted Numbered Crates at The Happy Housie

 Do you have any great ways to hide clutter in your living space? I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading. And remember my housie friends, HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey.



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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the 2014 Country Chic Paint Blog Squad. All opinions are 100% my own.


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  1. These look great Krista! And that living room of yours is just gorgeous!! I’ll be featuring these tomorrow. Have a great weekend!
    Jenn xo

    1. Thanks Julie! They are super handy… and a thrifty way to get such large storage containers (without using plastic:). Thanks for your sweet comments!!

  2. I love it, Krista! Your room is so bright and happy – I yearn to have that kind of colour in my space. Your stenciling always amazes me. Lady, you’ve got patience!

    1. Well Tara pretty quick you get to create your own whole new spaces! How exciting:) Thanks – the stenciling is easier then it looks… but I do need to get a silhouette one of these days. Would save me a lot of pencils:)

    1. I agree – numbers do make things more fun. Hmmm… wonder what it is?! Thanks so much for popping by!

    1. Hi Marilyn!! You should give it a try- a great alternative to sanding after you have painted if you want a distressed look:)

  3. I love this idea, how fabulous and any extra storage is such a bonus. Great tutorial. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me.

  4. Those crates are so adorable… And it must be so nice to have a place to organize things….. I love how the whole room is coming together so well…… 🙂
    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

    1. Thanks so much Crystelle!! They are a great little storage solution for an otherwise wasted space. So thrilled you came by!

  5. Hi Krista – These crates look like they came from a high-end store! Such a great idea and even without small children in the house, I think a lot of us could use these to keep things organized in a chic and stylish way. Love it! What brand of wax brush did you use? With so many of my blogging buddies inspiring me, I plan to take my first baby steps into chalk paint very soon! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and pinning! Have a fantastic week!

    1. Thank you so much Cindy! What a great compliment:) I used a wax brush from Country Chic Paint -they sent it with my paint and wax. When I first started using chalk paint I made my own and used a cloth to do my waxing… but the brush is such a treat – super fun to use:) Thank you for coming by – have a great week!

  6. Cute storage! I was thinking about hunting for some boxes for my porch, but feel pretty motivated to try a DIY now! Love the dry brush look

    1. Hi Tia! I am diggin’ the dry-brushed look too… and it is easier to just dry brush then to have to sand it all off later:) Thanks for coming by!!

    2. Did you make, or buy the cushion? I didn’t see that part of your tutorial.I love how the bench looks like a window seat. I’ve always wanted one, but our windows aren’t low enough.

      1. Hello! The bench is actually an old coffee table that we turned into a bench by upholstering the top with some fabric covered foam and painting the legs out white. The cushions sitting on the bench are some of my DIY Envelope pillows. I don’t have a tutorial for the coffee table/ window bench because I did that project pre-blogging. darn!

    1. Thanks – they definitely are soft and subtle – glad they look beachy too! Thanks for coming by Cynthia!

    1. Hi Tatiana! You definitely should give a wax brush a try- I am SO glad to have it now- much, much better for waxing with. Thanks for coming by!

    1. Thank you Anne! Now to get moving on finishing off the rest of it!! Thanks for coming by -have a great week!

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