How to Change a Storage Crate into a Storage Crate Seat. An easy project that requires no sewing and can be made in an afternoon.
Last month I told you about my partnership with Waverly Inspirations where every month I will get sent a surprise box filled with fabrics, ribbon, paint, and other goodies. I am then challenged to create something pretty and useful out of the contents of the box within a given theme each month.
Here is the contents of this month’s box. The theme is “Back to School”. As much as I love that back to school feeling and the chance to get a fresh new start, this was a true challenge since I no longer have anyone to get ready for back-to-school anymore.
I do however have lots of experience in doing so. My most recent was when my daughters were in college and I helped them get what they needed to decorate and organize their dorm rooms in such a way that they could fit quite a bit into the tiny spaces.
When I first went to college, my mom had lots of clever ideas that combined decor and storage. She helped me make those first dorm room’s comfy and well organized. When it was my turn to help my daughters, I remembered what she did way back when and added a few new ideas to my arsenal so that we could get it done in a day. A few trips to Walmart were always part of the process. I included some of what I did in a post I wrote which included an idea for Stackable Seating for Dorms.
So to get myself inspired for all things back to school, I headed to Walmart to see what I could find to go with the fabric, ribbon and paint I was sent. As I kept my eyes peeled for inspiration I saw this line up of classic plastic storage crates.
Milk crates… now called storage crates are a timeless staple when it comes time to organizing just about anything very inexpensively. I think they got their start back in the 60’s when some creative hippie repurposed a simple milk crate, probably stolen from a supermarket or dairy back then since you could not buy them. They used it in their college dorm to store and organize their stuff and never knew that they paved the way for manufacturer’s to make and sell them as inexpensive vessels for decorative yet functional storage.
I know 9 out of 10 of you have used one or more of these super affordable, multi-functional storage crates in your life. I had 6 of them back in college. 3 lined up with a board on top and then 3 more on top of that board and then another board on top of those 3 to make a shelving unit in my college apartment. After college, I lined them up on the floor in my clothes closest and used them to hold shoes and folded sweaters.
They are the best stackable storage for a tight space like a dorm room or even a child’s room where they have lots of toys that need to be organized, but easily accessible. I even know a elementary school teacher that made a few of the seats and uses them in her classroom.
When I saw the colors the crates came in, I grabbed 3 that would go with the fabrics I was sent. I made three storage crate seats, each one has a different top. I like to give you options. :-)
The key to transforming the storage crate into a seat is to get a piece of plywood cut to fit inside the lip around the inside of the storage crate. To make this easy, I had the lumber guy at the home improvement store cut it for me.
For the pink storage crate, I used a ready made pillow-form to make a very soft pillow top cushion…
…and 2″ thick foam for this turquoise seat.
…and just used fabric over the plywood to make the seat for the neon orange storage crate.
The crates are so versatile. If you still want the stacking capability of the crates as well as using them as a seat, then you want to just wrap and staple fabric on the plywood since it will sit inside the crate and won’t interfere with the stacking capability.
When storing and keeping things organized, labels are a must. I used pre-made chalkboards. Using the holes in the storage crate design made it easy to thread the ribbon through to hang the chalkboard.
How to Make a Storage Crate Seat For Dorm Rooms, Classrooms and Kid’s Room
Everything needed to make the seat is available at Walmart, except the plywood.
- Sterlight Storage Crate – rectangular shape
- 1 yard Waverly Inspriations fabric
- Semi-gloss craft paint – I used the colors Lagoon, Sunshine, and Fuschia
- 1 – 30″ long piece of ribbon
- 1 – 8″ long piece of ribbon
- 18″ x 18″ pillow form or 2″ thick cushion foam
- 1/4″ thick plywood cut to size: 15-11/16″ x 12-11/16″
- Chalkboard sign
- Staple gun and 1/4″ staples
- Have 1/4″ or 1/2″ thick plywood cut at the home improvement store. If using the Sterlite storage crates from Walmart, get the plywood cut to 15-11/16″ x 12-11/16″. It will fit right on top of the lip inside the storage crates.
2. Paint one side of the plywood with semi-gloss craft paint. This color is called Lagoon. Let dry. Once the seat is completed, this will be the underside of the cover. It is an optional step but one that I like to do so that the top will look finished on both sides.
3. Lay fabric on work table right side down, place pillow or foam next and then plywood with the painted side up.
Variation: If using a pillow form, staple the 4 corners of the pillow to the corners of the plywood first before covering with fabric.
4. Bring the fabric up an over the the layers as if you were wrapping a gift box, but instead of gift wrap and tape, you are using fabric and a staple gun. Before stapling the fabric taut to the underside, fold the edges of the fabric so the edges look like a finished hem… all nice and neat.
5. The underside should look like this. When using the pillow form, the corners are a little harder to smooth out, so you will have more excess at each corner then you will have if using 2″ foam to make your cushioned seat.
6. To easily remove the seat from the crate, make a ribbon pull. Cut an 8″ long piece of ribbon. Fold in half to make a loop and staple to the center of one short side of the top.
7. Remove twine from chalkboard sign and replace with a 30″- long piece of ribbon. Tie on to the storage crate using the holes in the crate. Use chalk to write the contents of the crate on the chalkboard sign.
Use a skewer or toothpick to push the ribbon through the small holes in the chalkboard.
The seat cushion fits right into the storage crate and makes a pretty sweet seat.
Simply pull the ribbon loop to remove the seat cushion to access the contents of the crate.
Now… I know you have used one or more of these classic storage crates in your life. Please tell me… How have you used or still use these them in your home?