When we worked as a stylist in photo studios, we came to appreciate the endless ways apple boxes could be used. These wood boxes in graduated sizes have a handle routed out at one end, making them easy to move around for whatever need came up: a model could stand on one to make her taller…the photographer could use one as a step stool to reach her high view camera…three or four could become platforms to hold heavy sheets of marble or other platforms for a still-life…

Apple Boxes gif

A recent post at Core 77 about making your own apple boxes for use in a shop or at home made us want a couple of sets to keep around the Laboratory to use as step stool, sitting stool, small table, ledge or stand for books or objects, a way to elevate something…(like using them as wood bed legs in our ongoing quest to solve our bed vibration problem).

We COULD make our own, but were happy to find them at Amazon. We love that one nests inside another to conserve space, packing four  into the footprint of one.

Apple Boxes 1


The boxes are “unfinished,” so you can use them as-is, oil or varnish them, or paint them. We find the “beat-up” look of the vintage painted ones at top really beautiful and curiously furniture-like.

Core 77 A has some excellent videos for digital fabrication of apple boxes.

If you’re using just a saw and router, you’ll find a great step-by-step DIY here.


Vintage apple boxes at top from Mary Howard Studio Props & Set Services

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

4 replies on “Endlessly Useful Photographer’s Apple Boxes

  1. Hi Sally,

    I like the apple crates from Matthews brand. So nice they come personalized.

    I’ve had my bed on 4 apple crates for the last 6 months. The box spring has begun to fail structurally. I’ve repaired it fairly well, but I think 6 crates would be the minimum for a double bed.

    Cheers from Chelsea


  2. Thank you Matthew. A recommendation from you has big cred in my book.

    Glad to hear you prop your bed on crates…we should form a club. (:

  3. HI! I found your website because I am searching for apple crates. How do you get personalized Mathews apple crates? Also the dark ones you featured, are those Mathews? Thanks so much!

  4. Vintage apple boxes at top from Mary Howard Studio Props & Set Services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *