Home -> Projects -> Bits -> Crates - Futuristic

Crates - Futuristic

Crates - FuturisticCrates are often used as part of larger terrain pieces but are also useful on their own. They work well as objective counters or as random cover to fill gaps on a table-top terrain layout. In this fairly quick project Craig 'Nagasaurus' Hardt turns small pieces of scrap wood into futuristic looking crates.

Materials & Tools

  1. small wooden blocks
  2. matte board
  3. PVA/white glue
  4. thin cardboard
  5. straight pins
  6. sand paper
  7. utility knife
  8. cutting mat
  9. pencil or pen
  10. metal ruler
  11. scissors (optional)
  12. pin vice with #70 drill bit
  13. wire cutters
  14. brushes and paints

Crates - FuturisticMatte board is the thick cardboard used in picture framing (any thick card will work). For the wood it is easiest to use a softer wood such as pine, etc. and make sure to sand them lightly if the surface is rough.


Measure each block and note the dimensions for each of the sides and the top (don't worry about the bottom). Using these measurements cut out 5 rectangles with the utility knife (using the metal ruler as a guide) and glue them to the block with the white/PVA glue.

While the glue is drying cut thin 1/8" strips from the thin cardboard with a utility knife or scissors and lay them out as reinforcing bands around the crates. Try different positions to see what you like before gluing them down. Don't worry about measuring the length exactly - just make them longer than you need and then trim the ends to fit.

After the side plates and the bands are finished and the glue has dried mark your rivet positions. Once you're happy with the rivet placement take the pin vice and drill a short hole through the bands and the matt card plates. Don't worry about drilling all the way in - you can "hammer" the pins in a moment.

Next take a collection of straight pins and use the wire cutters to trim them down to about 1/4 of their original length. Do this over a trash bin or the cut ends will fly all over the place (no one likes to step on a pin). Wearing eye protection is also a smart move.

Now that you have a nice pile of "nails" put a small drop of glue in one of the holes and push in the pin as far as you can by hand. Once you feel resistance pick up the piece so you can put the head of the pin on a hard surface (like your cutting mat, not the kitchen counter) and with even pressure press down with your palm on the opposite side from the pin to drive it into the wood. A small hammer would work as well but take care not to whack your project. Repeat as needed to place all the rivets, wiping off excess glue as you go.

For painting I went with a black undercoat (spray paint) and drybrushed with metallic silver paint. The rivets were highlighted with a touch of metallic gold paint.

You don't have to cover each side of the blocks with the matte board but I found that this hid the wood grain and also added a nice "bulkiness" to the crates. Glue on rivets would also work nicely in place of the straight pins. Using pins can be very tedious but I find that the heads look good at this scale and it is hard to beat them for consistency.

Crates - Futuristic

[Page Top] [Site Home]