Due to its timeless nature, wood is the material of choice for many displays. New store owners are often on a tight budget so they look for low-cost ways to create an attractive wooden display. By making their own stained wooden crates, they can achieve the same results as professionally manufactured versions without the high price tag.
Grocery and home improvement stores are good places to get free wooden crates as some vendors ship products in them. To clean and stain them, purchase wood cleaner, wood stain, wood brightener, a paintbrush, and a nylon scrub brush. Apply wood cleaner to each crate, following the product instructions. Remove any leftover residue or grime with a nylon scrub brush.
If the wood becomes darker during cleaning, apply a wood brightener that contains the active ingredient oxalic acid. This substance neutralizes the dark and staining tannins contained in certain types of wood like cedar and redwood. It is easy to confuse tanning stains with mildew so do not make this mistake. If streaks are present, apply the wood brightener to verify whether they are tannins. After cleaning and brightening the wood, let the stained wooden crates dry for at least 24 hours.
Once the wood is dry, the staining process can begin. Select a work surface and place newspaper or a drop cloth on the area to avoid staining it. Wear clothing that is suitable for discard should stain get on it. Apply the stain with a paintbrush, working in the direction of the grain of the wood, maintaining a wet edge. Use as much stain as the wood will absorb and cover all surfaces of the crate.
Once the crate is completely stained, wait approximately 30 minutes. Apply a dry paintbrush to the stain and remove the excess that has not yet soaked into the surface of the wood. A penetrating stain does not dry hard but stain that remains on the wood surface may become sticky. It could come off on whatever it is storing or anything it touches.