Monday, July 25, 2011

DIY Project for the Classroom!

I finally gave in and made the crate seats you're seeing all over Blogland and Pinterest!

I wanted this to be a cheap project and I also wanted seats that would work with any theme in the future.  Here is the break down of my materials:
  • Storage Crates (6 @ $3.47/ea. from Walmart)
  • Foam Mattress Topper (1 Full Size @ $11 from Walmart)
  • Ribbon (1 roll @ $1.50 from Joann's)
  • Fabric (2 yds. @ $4.50/yd. from Joann's)
  • Spray Adhesive (free from my craft supplies)
  • Staple Gun + Staples (free from my hubster)
  • Optional: Duct Tape (free from my craft supplies)
  • Some crates have rounded corners.  If your crates do, see Step 2!
Total Cost: $42 (about $7/seat)  Much better than buying those storage cubes at the store!

Here is my step by step tutorial....I hope it's not too confusing!

Step 1: (After purchasing all of your materials)  Prep your wood.  I had a nice man at Home Depot help me pick out the most thrifty option for my wood.  (Thanks, Allan!)  I ended up getting a large (6'x8' maybe?) sheet of plywood and keeping the extra for another was much cheaper this way!  Mr. Allan cut my wood free and helped to make sure it

The wood for my crates (right) and my extra wood (left)!

Step 2: (Not applicable to all crates!)  The crates I purchased from Walmart have rounded corners.  I had to cut off the corners of my plywood in order for the wood to fit down into the crate.  My dad helped me to do this then we sanded all the edges with an orbital sander to make sure there were no splinters (even though it will be covered with fabric, I'd rather be safe than sorry)! 

Step 3: Cut your foam to size and glue to plywood pieces.  I used a mattress topper because it was a lot cheaper.  I used the plywood cut-outs as a template and used a sharpie to mark my pieces.  I cut 6 pieces of foam the same size as my seats and 6 more smaller squares.  Using spray adhesive, glue the smaller square (smooth size down) on your plywood and put the larger piece (smooth size up) on top.  I did a double layer of the foam to make the seats extra cushy!
This is the opposite of how you will glue it, I just wanted to show a size comparison!

Step 4: Cut your fabric to size.  I used a fabric quarter (18"x21") that I had in my craft supplies as a template.  This was the perfect size!

Step 5:  Staple your fabric to the plywood.  I started at the corners to make it neat (similar to wrapping a gift).  My wood was really dense so the staples didn't go all the way down.  I used a hammer to tap them all the way in.  Pull the fabric taught, but not too tight!  I also attached the ribbon loops in this step.  These loops make it easy to get the seat out of the crate to access the storage!   Rachelle of What the Teacher Wants used a different method for her ribbon handle.  Check out her post and choose which method you like best for your crates!
Step 6: As you can see, the bottom of the seat doesn't look very pretty.  I decided to trim the excess fabric and cover the frayed edges with some duct tape.  My hubby didn't have any, so I went to my pink tool kit and got my pink duct tape!  Luckily there are pink polka dots in this fabric so the duct tape matches!  :)  Now, you can flip the seat over and the kiddos can use this as a crate table when they are on the carpet!

Let me know what you think!  If you have any questions about this project, let me know! :)


Literacy Teacher said...

They look great! I love the fabric!

Anne said...

I'm so into these but a little nervous about their stability. Do they seem fairly stable.... enough to get me through a year of 2 half day kindergarten sessions?

Rebecca Rojas said...

Love these! I think this will be my next summer project!! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!!!


Amy Kazanjian said...

Love the idea!! Would you consider these stable enough for am adult to sit on?

Megan Barr said...

How thick is the wood?

anncogan said...

I'm making them now.
I am using 1/2 in" plywood. And adult Amy's size would be fine sitting on it. Precut quilting squares from your fabric store are 18x21.

Emily said...

@Amy: These are definitely stable enough for an averaged size adult. I sat on mine this year with my kindergartners!

@Megan: I just used plywood that was 1/2" like Ann stated. It was the cheapest, most sturdy option.

@Ann: Thanks for the input!

AlmostATeacher said...

From the pictures, it doesn't look like you can use these seats AND store hanging files in them, can you? I don't have a file cabinet, so I am looking for a pattern that will let me get double use out of the crates I'll need to store files. Thanks!

eduesing said...

I made tops like paper box lids using 1x2s as the sides. I pulled the top layer of foam partway down the sides. Hanging files now work. The top piece of plywood was16x19.

mrssmithrlc said...

Great idea - couple of questions:
1. How big IS Amy that these would hold her?
2. How do you keep the kids from getting IN the crates if you use them for both seats and storage?
(would you mind correcting taut (from taught) in Step 5, Line 3? :-)

Josée said...

I'm not able to see your picture anymore. Can u put them back ?

Debbie in S. Florida said...

This looks like a great project and I'd love to see the step-by-step photos, but there are just big, empty squares instead of photos!