Throwback Thursday - Milk Crate Seats

I am very excited about this linky because I can do it even though my hard drive crashed! This week I am going to revisit my most popular post - milk crate seats. The only thing that I would change is to use a thicker shower curtain on the last step. Other than that, they worked very well as seats AND as storage!

Originally posted 8/6/12

After much procrastination, I finally got around to making my milk crate seats for my classroom. I can't remember the countless places where I got my inspiration for my version, so please let me know if something sounds familiar.

The main problem I had in getting these seats started was finding fabric I liked that went with my theme. I didn't want another pattern clashing with my other projects, but I really didn't want solid color either. Then somewhere along the way, I thought that a plastic tablecloth would be the way to go so I could wipe it off. But it had to be durable enough for fifth graders. So yeah, that was a challenge.

So here's what I did.  I used:
  • 12"x12" milk crates from The Container Store (These were much sturdier than the cheap ones from any other store that I saw. The downsides are that they are a little more expensive, though I did get them on sale, and they don't have the inner lip on which to rest the seat.)
  • 14"x14" pre-cut pieces of 1" thick foam (I was thinking that I wanted the seats to be 14"x14" because my seats would have to sit on top of the crates. Lo and behold, Hobby Lobby had pre-cut pieces of 14"x14" foam! Score!)
  • 14"x14" pieces of wood (I think mine are 1/2" thick. I can't remember. Everything in that aisle at Lowe's was a blur. Overwhelming!! Luckily, the guy at Lowe's cut them to 14"x14" for no additional charge.)
  • clear plastic shower curtain liner, cut about 16"x16" each
  • fat quarters of fabric (18"x21")
  • zip ties (Yeah, so those didn't work for me. I'm going to see if I can cut some 12"x12" squares of wood and glue them or otherwise attach them to the bottom of the seats to keep them from sliding.)
  • staple gun with LOTS of staples (Man! These used to freak me out, but I used them a bunch this summer and have gotten over my fear...kind of.)
Now, most places I've read suggest using spray glue to attach the foam to the board. Since I didn't have any, I didn't do that. And, if both things were 14"x14", why didn't they totally match up?! Anywho...Staple the edges of the fabric to the underside of the board.

Cover with pieces of the shower curtain and staple again. I retrospect, maybe I should have gone with a vinyl tablecover or something thicker.

Staple two zip ties to the underside of the seat where the board will rest on the crate. Place seat on the crate and tighten ties (not too tight, or you won't be able to open it far). (This is what I get for writing this up before I'm totally done - the staples were not strong enough to hold the zip ties in place and they came off almost immediately. Since the holes were farther down on the crate than I thought, I'm okay with this not working.) Plan B - Attach the 12"x12" wood squares to the underside of the seat. No picture yet, because my dad will be helping me with this part this week.

I will be keeping a clipboard (if it fits) and a mini pencil box with pencils and highlighters inside. I considered stapling a pencil pouch to the underside of the seat to hold small supplies, but the mini pencil boxes were cheaper.

In summary, I probably spent $15 per seat, and I'm not sure that I'd do this again. But, they are cute and match my room. Just hope that they don't get destroyed the first week! Pretty sure the first student to poke a hole in them will get a detention. Fair warning...


  1. Those look amazing! Way to go! Maybe three days of detention would be more appropriate ; )
    Kids Math Teacher

  2. I just happened by your blog and saw these, what a terrific idea! These would be great for the kids' bedrooms too.

  3. Diane,
    It's a year later...I really want to know if the milkcrate seats held up. I want to make about 4 or 5 for my teacher table but I am worried that they will not hold up and I don't want to spend $50 on something that I will have to throw away at the end of the year:(



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