Yeah! I can finally check-off one of my summer to-do's. Over the past year I have seen several blogs and posts on Pinterest that outlined how to make student seating out of plastic crates and was inspired to try and create them myself. They were surprisingly easy to make (and I'm not very crafty!), and they were not too expensive either. I bought the crates at Wal-Mart for $26.97 for a set of six (I actually made 8, but that's neither here nor there). They had several nice colors to choose from.
They also had some great heavy-duty fabric available for $6.97 a yard. I bought three yards, but I could have easily gotten away with two. I had previously priced foam padding at my local fabric store and it was way out of my budget. One of the blogs I found had used a foam mattress topper for the seat padding, and I went that route instead. Wal-Mart carries them for $11.97. I bought a full-size topper, and I put double padding on each seat. It worked out perfectly with a little bit to spare (remember, I made eight seats. If you are only making six, you might be able to get away with a twin if you only put one layer of padding).
Crossed the street to Lowe's to find the wood. I bought one sheet of 1/2" plywood for $18.47, and a very helpful (and handsome!) young man cut if for me right there in the store. Lowe's will make three cuts for free, but when I mentioned that I was making them for my classroom, he cut them all for free. Unfortunately, I mis-measured (duh!) and had to trim them when I got home. The perfect size to fit on the lip inside the crate ended up being 12.75" by 15.5".
Okay, now everything was ready to put together. I cut the fabric and the foam. Make sure the foam is the same size as the board, you don't want any overlap as it will keep the board from fitting snuggly inside the crate. When you cut the fabric, make sure to cut it 2-3" larger than the board all the way around. Save yourself some time, and cut through several layers at one time.
Lay the fabric face down. Put the padding in the center of the fabric and lay the board on top. Using a staple gun, staple the fabric along one side (do not pull). On the opposite side, pull the fabric tight by leaning down on the board, and staple in place starting with the staple in the middle and working your way towards the corners. On the other two sides, you need to worry about the corners. I started by putting one staple in the center and then moving to the corner. I tucked the fabric, making a hospital corner (kind of like how you would wrap a package), and then pulling tight and stapling in place.
The last step is to add a loop. Since these seats have a dual function (student seating and storage), you want to be able to easily access the storage portion of the seat. So, I added a loop of grosgrain ribbon (just look at those beautiful bent staples!).
Voila! The finished product: