I love our classroom library! I’ve already blogged about my tshirt pillows, but promised to include a crate seat tutorial too. They’re really easy to make and the students love using the crates during reading workshop. We use them in the hallway instead of sitting on the floor too. It seems easier to manage when everyone has a spot and the crates encourage students to sit up too.
You’ll need: fabric, scissors, staple gun with staples, hammer, stuffing, and scotch gard. It helps if you have a second set of hands too. My husband is the hand model in these pictures. 🙂
I cleaned up some old files and used a crate that I already owned. You can also find these at Wal-Mart for around $5. You’ll also need plywood around 1/2 inch thick. We used scraps that we already had in the garage and pieced them together.
Make sure you measure the INSIDE lip of the crate so your wood sits inside.
I prefer flannel to cover the board, but broadcloth or interfacing would work too. Use a staple gun to staple around three edges of the wood. We used 3/8 inch heavy duty staples.
Now that three sides are stapled, stuff polyfill under the flannel to create a cushion. You could also use an old foam mattress pad.
After stuffing most of the seat, I staple it almost shut. I leave a small opening to adjust the stuffing or add a little more before closing.
Finish stapling around the edge of the cushion. I pulled it out so you could get a good look at it.
Now you’re ready for your decorative fabric. 16×18 inches is just about perfect.
Center the board (stuffing side down) over the fabric. This board was made from scraps so there’s an extra piece underneath for support. My other seats only use the one 1/2 inch piece of wood.
Staple all the way around the board. Be sure to keep your fabric pulled tight.
Pop the board back into the crate and you have a new seat for your library! If you decide to scotch gard your fabric, now’s the time to do that.
This next part is optional and only needed if you don’t want the cushions to come on and off.
Sometimes the cushions would pop off the crate so I decided to zip-tie them on. Use a long zip-tie and bend it about 2 inches from the end.
Staple the zip-tie onto the crate, centered left to right.
Loop the zip-tie through the holes in the side of the crate. Do this for BOTH sides before pulling them tight. Trust me. =)
After BOTH sides have been looped with zip-ties, pull them tight. I tuck the extra inside the crate instead of cutting it off. The point can be sharp if you cut it.
Tada! Now you have a lid that will stay on. My students love the crates and I’ve gradually added a few more to our library because of it.
If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to see pictures! Drop me an email.
Such a great idea… I added the link to my blog. http://candlcountrychic.blogspot.com
I'm glad you liked it and thanks for passing it on!
That's awesome!! How much weight do you think it can hold? Just wondering, as the kids grow. : )
I use them daily for my third graders and I sit on one with them too. My husband also tested it out. Our only rule is no jumping/standing on them as I did have one crack with rough-housing. The crates are really thick plastic, so that helps. Good luck!
Thanks for the question and response! I was wondering if these crates would hold fifth graders. I tried to get donations of the commercial milk crates,since they're sturdier, but not avail.
Some of the older crates don't have the lip for the board to sit on. The ones from Walmart work great.
These are so cute! You make it look easy! I have to go find someone to bribe them into making them for me! =)
I promise they are really easy, though I do jump every time the staples go through. You can do it!
This is a great idea! Have you left the seats loose so that you could use the crates for storage or individual book boxes?
I did leave them loose at first, but my students kept taking the lids off and then not putting them back on. I got tired of doing it myself and/or reminding them to do it. I zip-tied them on after that. 🙂
What a creative idea – I love it and plan on trying to make a few myself! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing! This is my summer project. I love your apple fabric!!!! Where did you get it? 🙂
Thank you so much your directions were very clear!! I can't wait to try this for myself.
What a cool idea! Thinking about making them for my son's room for extra seating when friends are over and storage too.
Any luck on just zip tieing one side to allow for access and keep the seats from getting misplaced? (did I say I have BOYS ��)
I just made 3 crates-seats tonight, and I love them. They weren't hard to make at all. Now, I can't wait to take them to my classroom. Thanks so much for the tutorial and the idea. Now, I do have a question. Do kids fight over the seats? How do you use them in your room or what are your rules for using them??
We take turns. If a group is meeting in the hallway, they get first pick of the crates. After that, students go back in groups to pick their items. I mix up the order they go back so that everyone gets a fair chance at the crates. I did have to make the no-standing/jumping on the crates rule though. 🙂
I saw the crates on few pin boards and thought they were creative. When I saw your tutorial I thought I'd give it a try. I don't have a fabric store near me, so I used two old pllows and two old t-shirts. I used the pillow cover as the first fabric and the t-shirts as the second. I wish I knew how to attach a photo. They turned out really well. Thanks for your blog. I've just begun reading teaching blogs, and I'm so inspired for the new school year to begin.
Love these! I'm going to make a couple for my sons playroom.
Have you thought about making the cover stretchy so it's removable and washable?
I just found your blog (through Classroom Freebies) and read your tutorial about the crates. I had seen some on Pinterest and made 5 of them for my classroom this summer. They came out great! I had some remnant pieces of foam, but I loved your idea of using an old mattress cover – genius. A useful tip that I followed was to take my crate to the store where I was buying the wood. The wonderfully helpful man cut the wood to a perfect fit. Lastly, I had some felt which I cut and hot glued to the underside of the seat for a finished look and to cover my aweful stapling job. I'll send a pic (I'm shamelessly proud of these cuties).
I made my first pinterest project and I love it. I am making some for one of my daughters 1st grade classroom…..I too do not like the underside with my stapling. I have an electric stapler and it staples to many at one time. I added on 2 sides a loop for easier top removals.
Thanks for the instructions…..I am very proud of my project and it was all because of your great tutorials.
Some of my teacher friends shared your idea with me. I am excited to find this page so I can share it with others! It is such a great idea. 🙂
Very Good Post.
Decent gen nowadays.
Cheers for sharing with us.
I happened upon your blog a few weeks ago. Thank you for sharing some really great ideas. I'm currently in a credential program and can't wait to try some of these projects for myself when I have my own classroom! These crate seats would also work for various work stations, taking outside for small-group meetings, and serve as extra seating for visitors. I love the prints you used, particularly the apples.
Keep it up!
I love this idea…just wondering, since you've had them for over a year, how did they hold up? I have third graders this year, and a couple are big kids : )
Still using them! Had to replace a couple zip ties, but other than that no problem!
WOW! This is AMAZING!! I am new to 3rd grade and I find your work extremely helpful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your ideas 🙂