DIY Apple Boxes

two apple boxes one in New York orientation with a Texas on top, forming a "T"

two apple boxes one in New York orientation with a Texas on top, forming a “T”

In my old house I had a problem. I needed to sit on a stool to make my videos, but I didn’t have a stool. My office chair was too squeaky, so I couldn’t use it as a stool, so I was stuck.

Last Christmas, my in-laws gave me a little extra $ for my birthday (since my birthday is December 19), so I started to research a way to spend around $20 and get a stool.

During my research, I found this video:

I’d heard of appleboxes, but hadn’t thought of using one or building one. So, I did some more research and figured out that I could head to Home Depot, get a sheet of plywood and make one myself.

First, you need to know that an Applebox isn’t a storage box, but a platform for putting people or things on. Sure, they probably started out as crates to store apples back in the day, but now an applebox can be legs of a makeshift desk, a stool, a step, the base of a makeshift stage, a base for dolly tracks, or any number of other things.

The basic dimensions of 20″x12″ remains the same, but the third dimension is usually 8″, 4″, 2″, or 1″. Eight inch boxes are called “full-sized” boxes. If 8″ is full, then 4″ is a half box and 2″ is a quarter. A 1″ box is usually called a “pancake.”

If you’re careful, you can get 12″x20″ (2), 12″x8″ (x3), and 8″x20″ (x2) out of a 2’x4’piece of plywood. I wouldn’t go any thinner than 1/2″ plywood, so these dimensions are actually a little big, allowing for some loss from the saw blades. Unlike the video, all of mine have a center support, so they should be able to handle a lot of weight.

The orientation of the box is referred to by place names, so if the box is on end, so that it’s at it’s tallest, it’s referred to as New York (like the tall buildings). If it’s laying flat, it’s Texas because of the width being large like the Lone Star State. On it’s side, it’s L.A. (I guess it kind of resembles California from the side).

How I use mine
When I podcast, I sit on one of my full boxes. When I shoot against the white muslin, I put the tripod on top of two, the first is New York with another Texas on top of it (see the picture above). This actually saves space over using the tripod alone.

I’ve got enough wood for two more full boxes and I’m thinking I need at least one more, so I don’t have to move my top “tripod” box when I want to sit down and shoot a podcast.

How would you use this “low tech” piece of production equipment?


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