Sunday, July 6, 2014

Classroom Overhaul -- Step 4: Make Milk Crate Seats

One of the challenges of having worked in education for 20+ years is that I have a LOT of stuff.  I have tubs of materials stored above my cabinets (which are also stuffed full). The result is that my classroom looks cluttered (even though I know exactly where everything is).  
A big goal for the summer is to sort through those tubs and purge! I'm planning on reducing the amount of tubs and storing my most essential materials in seat crates.  My students will use them as seats during reading groups.

You've seen the images of seat crates on Pinterest! So cute!  Mine turned out great!  
Step 1: Go shopping!  

  • Fabric:  The fabric was 50% off at Joanne Fabrics, and I bought a yard of each (which was too much). I spent about $10 on fabric and ribbon.
  • Foam: We selected a 2" high density foam that was also 50% off at Joanne. We chose the high density foam because we thought it would last longer and be more comfortable for my students than lower density foam.  I bought an entire sheet because I have some other projects for which I'll be using the leftover foam. I spent about $15 on the entire sheet of foam. (My dogs really liked the foam!)

  • Plastic Crates: I bought 5 turquoise plastic crates from Target. They were $3.99 each, so I spent about $20 (with tax).
  • Plywood: We had 5/8" scrap plywood so that was free.
  • Tools: We used a staple gun, scissors, circular saw, measuring tape and other measuring tools -- all of which we already had.
  • Total Cost: about $45 for 5 seat crates.
Step 2: Measure and cut the wood to fit on the interior rim of the crate.

Step 3: Measure and cut the foam so it is the same size as the wood. I traced the outline of the wood onto the foam.

Step 4: Measure and cut the fabric.  We used 2" foam, so we measured the fabric to be 4" wider (all the way around) than the foam/wood seat.  On the first one, we actually measured and cut the fabric pretty precisely. On the others, we just put the seat in the middle of the fabric and cut it so there was a 4" border of material.

Step 5: Staple the fabric onto the foam/wood seat.  
  • First, we folded the fabric so it would be extra strong.

  • For the corners, we folded them into triangular shapes (like we were wrapping a gift).

 Step 6: Staple on the ribbon. I wanted to have a handle to make it easier to pull the seats up. This was optional because I can easily stick my fingers though the crate to pop the seat up.

All Done! The entire project took about an hour and a half!


  1. Great project! They look awesome and I love that they can also hold storage. I was thinking maybe a Bible and spiral notebook with box for writing/coloring stuff. Do you use them for storage also?

  2. What were the dimensions of the crates that you purchased?