In last week's post I shared a picture from my listening center. This week I thought I’d share the great crate storage that doubles as seats in my listening center. These six crate stools have been a wonderful addition to my classroom. They’re the perfect height for the table and hold my extra listening centers and book sets. Once you get started, they are really easy to make.
Before you begin, you will need the following supplies:
- File crates: They must have the lip inside that would normally hold hanging file folders. These can be found either at big box stores, in the school supply area, or at office supply stores.
- Fabric: I use oilcloth as it can be wiped off and disinfected easily. Another idea is to use heavyweight vinyl tablecloths. Regular fabric works well, too, but you cannot clean it as easily.
- 1-inch plywood: Take a crate to your local home improvement store in order to get the measurements correct. Usually if you tell them you are a teacher, they will cut the wood for free.
- Foam: I use a foam/egg-crate mattress pad. This is less expensive than purchasing foam from your local fabric store, and a twin foam pad is more than enough for six crates.
- Adhesive: You need either a spray adhesive or some type of glue to hold the foam to the boards. Craft glue for fabrics will work.
- Staple gun: A staple gun is needed for stapling the fabric to the plywood. A small finishing nail gun would work, too, as long as the nails are short enough not to go all the way through the plywood.
- Hammer: Use this to make the staples flush with the wood.
- Permanent marker: This is for tracing the board dimensions onto the foam.
- Scissors: Needed to cut the foam.
To construct the storage seats:
- Roll out the foam and lay boards on top.
- Trace around each board with the permanent marker.
- Using scissors, cut out the foam.
- Apply glue or spray adhesive to each piece of plywood, then place the foam piece on top of the glue. (I leave the smooth side up and glue the bumpy side.)
- Push gently to help the foam adhere to the plywood.
- Let the glue dry about 20–30 minutes before moving onto the next step. (It doesn’t have to be completely dry, just enough so the foam doesn’t slide about.)
- Once the glue has dried, lay the plywood, with foam side down, onto the wrong side of the fabric Cut the fabric, leaving about four or five inches all around.
- Fold the fabric up each long side and staple about every three inches.
- Then fold the ends like you'd wrap a gift and staple. (This part is easier to do with two people.)
If you want a handle, to help lift the seat off, you can wrap and staple ribbon around the center, or create a ribbon loop at the edge and staple. I chose not to have any handles. The seats pop out easily enough for me when I need them to.
Turn over and place into the crate opening. The inside lip will hold the top securely.
These crates are sturdy enough to hold an adult. I sit on them when I am working with students at the listening center. I like how they can be wiped off if needed. In kindergarten, sometimes accidents happen, so using regular cloth wasn’t an option for me. I love the extra storage the crates provide in my classroom.
This is an easy project, fairly inexpensive and fun to do. These crates have been in my classroom for a year now. I’ve even had several families inquire about how to make them: they thought they’d be a great way to add seating and storage to their child’s bedroom or their family room.