Crate Seat Tutorial

I love these adorable seats made from milk or file crates but what I don’t like is lettings kids loose on plain fabric- yikes!

That’s an accident waiting to happen for sure, and if you teach pre-k or kindergarten you know I’m not joking!

file crate seat tutorial
Disclosure: Amazon links included below

Create More Classroom Storage with Crate Seats

I’m always looking for more ways to maximize storage space and organize but I just I couldn’t bring myself to make crate seats until I spied these vinyl polka dot tablecloths at a local discount store for $2.

I instantly knew I had found a solution to my problem. The vinyl is much cheaper and more practical than regular fabric, one tablecloth will easily cover 4-5 seats. Keep reading to find out exactly how to make your very own crate seats in only a few minutes- it took me longer to gather the supplies than it did to make the seats!

crate seat tutorial step by step directions

Milk Crate Seat Supplies

  • Crates
  • Vinyl tablecloth
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • Foam
  • Pieces of particle board or other cheap wood cut to size
  • Tape measure

How to Make Crate Seats

Start by measuring the inside of your crate so you will know exactly what size to cut your boards. If you go to one of the big home improvement stores and tell them you need a few boards cut to size for your classroom they may do it for you if you ask nicely and give them exact measurements. You may need to sand the edges or corners of the board to get that “just right” fit. You don’t want the boards to fit too tightly in the top of your crates because you need to wrap the tablecloth around the edges.

Next, measure and cut your foam to fit on top of the board. Then, spread your tablecloth out on the floor and place the foam on top. Place your board on top of the foam (see picture #3 above)

Now you can start stapling the tablecloth to the board making sure to keep the fabric taught to smooth out any wrinkles (see picture #4 above).

crate seat inside
Once your tablecloth is securely stapled to the board, just turn it over and it should fit in the top of your crate. Above you can see how the seat lifts up for storage. If your crates are more solid and don’t have an opening for you to push the lid upwards you can staple a small loop of ribbon to the underside of the board that you can use to lift the seat.

Follow my Classroom Storage board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

More DIY projects from Pre-K Pages

About Vanessa Levin

Vanessa is the creator of Pre-K Pages and author of the book A Fabulous First Year and Beyond: A Practical Guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers. She has more than two decades of teaching experience and enjoys helping kids and teachers through her professional development sessions. Follow Vanessa on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. RoseAnne says:

    Great idea and easy to do!

  2. I’ve resisted this idea…until you mentioned the table cloth. That’s perfect! Thanks.

    • V. Levin says:

      Great, glad you liked the idea Leah! I couldn’t bring myself to let kids loose on unprotected fabric either :) Plus, the tablecloths at so much cheaper than fabric.

  3. I was going to wrap with clear vinyl, but your idea of a table cloth is brillant! Thanks you for the idea!

  4. V. Levin says:

    Glad you found the idea helpful Sarah, thanks for stopping by!

  5. Plan on making some of these for the classroom. I am going to add a 1 by 2″ trim just under the seat to keep the seat in place. Also could frame out the bottome and add small wheels for kids to push around and put away scattered toys in the storage area.

  6. Wow! Vinyl tablecloths instead of plain fabric. Thank you! You saved me time, money, and gave me the wipe off surface I wanted. Brilliant. :-)

  7. How much weight will these seats hold? Middle school teacher.

    • Vanessa Levin says:

      Good question Cathy! I’m not sure since I have only used them with little people in my pre-k classroom.

    • If you use real milk crates, the weight limit should be greater considering the items that are typically held in them.
      hope that helps.

  8. Did you have specific dimensions on the board you used? Awesome idea!!

    • Vanessa Levin says:

      The dimensions will depend on the type of crate you use. Not all crates are the same size. I just used a measuring tape to measure the inside of the crate. Best of luck!

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