Tuesday, August 18, 2015

HOW TO: DIY Crate Benches

I LOVE making various DIY crafts for my classroom and am so excited that blogging gives me an outlet to share those crafts (as well as "how to" tutorials) with fellow teachers! 

This post will give you relatively detailed instructions on how to turn this: 

Into this:

What you'll need (per bench): 
  1. 3 milk crates 
    • I got mine from Walmart, but many other stores have them as well
  2. Foam/ Cushion Padding 
    • I got mine from Hancock Fabric, but you can get it from almost any fabric/ craft store... except for Michael's- they did not have it. I have also heard of people using eggshell mattress padding from Walmart.
  3. Wood 
    • Home Depot, Lowes, etc. will have multiple options for you... Any type of wood should work just fine, except for plywood. Plywood is too flimsy to hold excessive weight- I know this from personal experience!
  4. 1 yard of Batting 
    • This isn't absolutely necessary, but it keeps the foam from showing through the fabric and it makes your fabric lay smoother 
  5. 1 yard of fabric 
  6. Hardware and tools (see below for specifics)
    1. Most important tool being a staple gun... You can get a relatively cheap one from Hobby Lobby. They almost always have a "40% off one item" coupon floating around- search for and use that to help with cost management. 

Let me start off by giving a HUGE shoutout to the coolest dude on the planet (AKA: my dad). Without him, I wouldn't have known where to start on this project and my benches would not have turned out nearly as sturdy! 

Here is the hardware we used! 
  1. Washers
  2. 1-1/2 in screws 
  3. 2 in screws
  4. 1 inch screws 

Now for the actual "how-to"...

1. Drill 4 holes on both sides of the crate- one on each corner. If you get the crates like I am using, they will have interlocking pockets that allow the crates to connect to each other- you'll want to drill a hole in the center of each pocket. Two of your crates (the top and bottom of your base) will only need holes on one side. One of your crates (the one that will be in the middle of your base) will need holes drilled into both sides. So, in sum, two of your crates will have a total of 4 holes and one of your crates will have a total of 8 holes (4 on each side). 

2. Stack two crates together, popping them into place with the interlocking pockets. 

 3. Connect the two crates together - you will use 2 of the 1-1/2 inch screws (as well as 4 washers and 2 blots) for the two front corners and 2 of the 2 inch screws (as well as 4 washers and 2 bolts) for the two back corners. 

4. Repeat step 3 to connect the third crate. 
 (the front screws will stick out a little bit.. I cut the ends off and sanded down the sharp edge once I got the crates connected)

You now have the base of your bench put together- YAY! :) 

Now you're ready to make the actual seat for your bench! 

 5. You'll need to cut the wood (or pieces of wood, if you make more than one bench like I did) down to size. If you have a handyman of a dad (or brother, husband, boyfriend, etc.), they can cut it for you. If not, go to Home Depot, let them now how long you need it to be, and they'll cut it for you for next to nothing in cost. I personally chose to cut the pieces of wood a few inches longer than the length of the base.

6. Use a marker to trace the piece of wood onto the cushion and cut it out using fabric scissors (or a butcher knife). It's okay if the cushion isn't the exact same size as your board- mine was a little bit wider. 


7. This step is optional. It's not needed, but it's helpful to keep the cushion from sliding off the board when you start wrapping your fabric. Use spray adhesive to glue the cushion to the board. 

8. Using a staple gun, wrap your batting around your board and cushion. 

9. Just as you did for the batting, use a staple gun to wrap the fabric around the board and cushion. 

You now have a seat for your bench! 

 Now you'll need to secure the seat to the base. 

10. Using 4 of the 1 inch screws, connect each crate to the bottom of the board. (4 screws per crate/ 12 screws total) 

 That's all! Now you have classroom benches with storage! 

Pretty easy! We got both benches done in under 2 hours. 

 Even Charlie approves of them. ;) 

I am using mine as computer seats, but they could also be used in your classroom library! I THINK I am going to use the storage area to house my students reading and writing composition books. However, if you use them as library seats, they'd work as an additional bookcase. 

Let me know if you have any questions! I'd love to know if you make these, how you use them, and if my tutorial was of any help to you. :)

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