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DIY: Cute Crate Seats – a Cheap {and Easy} Seating Option

I am going back into the classroom after 3 years of being an early intervention program teacher (I went into other teacher’s classrooms and worked with small groups of students who were having difficulty in reading and/or math).  Ironically, I will be back in the old classroom I was in three years ago and I have an exciting adventure ahead of me!  I will still be part time and this year I’ll be job sharing a second grade classroom with one of my favorite people and one of the teachers I admire most, Angie Owens.  She is awesome and keeps me on my toes when it comes to thinking outside the box and keeping it creative.

So, that means I have been busy, busy, busy getting ready for my new batch of second graders.  And, it has been liking starting from scratch!  I’ve been busy finding furniture, hooking up computers and other technology, planning curriculum, and decorating!   Decorating is the most fun part!  I figure if we (the students AND I) spend so much time in this place it should look good and feel good when we’re there.    Angie and I decided on a fun, bright, and clean color scheme of lime, aqua, orange, and cherry.  It is looking so good and I can’t wait to show you pictures when it is totally done.  One of my favorite parts of the classroom are these cute benches we made.  I thought it would be nice to show you how I made them since they are super easy and would make great {cheap} seating for a playroom or study space in your home as well as fun, colorful {and did I say cheap?} seating in my classroom.

First, I took one of the file crates to a home improvement store to have plywood cut to fit the inside of the crate.  This way the wood will sit inside the crate and rest on the lip {where you would normally put hanging file folders}.  It is helpful to actually take a crate inside since they are curved on the inside.  This ensures you will be leaving with boards that actually fit.  If you also happen to be an educator, many home improvement store will cut the boards for you for FREE.  Of course, you will have to pay for the boards but plywood is reasonably cheap.  {It took one large board and one small board to make 25 of these for my classroom!}

Next, I took rolls of foam (purchased in the craft department at Walmart) and laid it out flat on a table.  I placed a board on top and traced around it with a box cutter.  I cut through the remainder of the foam using a pair of scissors.

I adhered the foam square to the top of the board using spray adhesive.  I then placed the board on top of the fabric I wanted to use and cut the fabric large enough to wrap around the sides of the wood with a few inches of overhang.  {A yard of fabric will give you enough to cover about 4 seats}.

Next, using an electric staple gun (you can certainly use a manual one, I just borrowed this one from my handy mother!) I stapled the fabric to the backside of the board.  I started by stapling both of the longer sides.  I pulled the fabric tight enough to get the wrinkles out but not too tight (you don’t want it to rip when someone sits down!).

Then, I did the corners.  I folded the fabric kind of like an envelop or like wrapping a present.  Just play around with it until it looks smooth.  {Don’t worry too much.  If it doesn’t look right at first you can always pull a few staples out and try again!}.

Finally, I folded up the other sides (the short sides) and stapled them down.  The whole project {making 25 of these} took me about 3 hours with help from one other person after the boards were cut.  So, if you are just making one or two of these it would be a project you could do during one nap time! 😉

I am really pleased with how they turned out!  They look really cheerful in the room and I think the kids will really enjoy using them!  Plus, if I haven’t already mentioned this is a cheap seating option. 😉

Cost breakdown:

Plywood about 2/3″ thick (one large sheet and one small sheet) about $45 {this was enough for 25 seats}
File Folder Crates $3.50 each at Walmart {check your local store prices – you can probably price match these for $3 like I did!}
1 inch Foam about $16 each at Walmart {I bought three rolls to do 25 seats – Walmart was WAY cheaper than the craft store!}
A box of staples $3 at the home improvement store
Cloth {varies in cost depending on what you select, roughly $5 per yard – you can get 4 seats out of a yard}

I ran the numbers on this project and came up with about $8.50 per crate seat for all the materials and it doesn’t take a lot of skill or time to whip them together!  Not bad!

*Disclosure: I am a Walmart Mom. This post is sponsored by Walmart.   Walmart has provided me with product and/or compensation in exchange for my time and efforts in creating this post. My participation is voluntary. As always, my opinion is my own.

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  1. How Cute are these!!!! Love your creativity!!!!

  2. Wow!!! These seats are totally awesome and would be perfect for my loft apartment – it’s huge and we don’t have much furniture or seating options as we’re on such a budget. Thanks for this!!!! Those crate seats look great.

  3. Hi! I’ve been following your web site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

  4. Mallory says:

    I’m excited about your how to for this project. I’m thinking About doing these for my music room, however I’m having a hard time locating the crates for as cheap as you mentioned. You purchased them at Walmart? Is there a specific brand etc? I can on,y afford to do this project if I can find crates cheap enough because I need 20.

    • Denisesawyer says:

      I found them at this price a couple years ago at Walmart the cheapest – but I had to wait until the back to school stuff was out and on sale. You’ll likely find them starting mid July at a good price. They usually have a lot of them then for college/back to school, in many colors
      Wholesome Mommy

      • Thank you! Would you also mind sharing the sharing the home improvement store which cut the boards for free for you?

  5. How are you cleaning yours?

  6. Wow! In the end I got a blog from where I can really obtain useful information regarding my study
    and knowledge.

  7. Susan McDonnell says:

    This is such a wonderful idea. I’ve been looking for seating for my school library. I’ll have a go!


    Susan, Western Australia

  8. Ashley Ledet says:

    This is so helpful! Thank you!

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