I stenciled them first, inspired by this blog (http://thatsmyletter.blogspot.com). But I couldn't quite get the paint to flow, so I used a sharpie to first outline the stencil, but I did use a ball-point pen to trace around the printed stencil. This is a perfect activity to do while watching some TV, like catching up on Breaking Bad.
After stenciling, I stained them with Minwax, color Jacobean. I might have gone lighter and used the Dark Walnut, but I like the grey tones in the Jacobean. After staining them, I let them dry overnight, and then I waxed them with Briwax in Dark Brown. You could also use a polyurethane, but I wanted the finish of the wax, plus I had some already. Pretty cool, huh?
We don't know the space where these would go yet, but we could get some planks of wood to stretch between a couple of the crates, as well as add some casters. I will do a follow up blog once they are in the final position.