Making First Grade FANTASTIC

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A "Crate" Solution

If you're like me, I'm always looking for more storage space in my classroom.  I'm lucky enough to have some cupboards and shelves to store my supplies.  But, what is a teacher to do when 20 children bring backpacks full of wipes and tissues and extra supplies to school on the first day?  Seat crates!

I saw this awesome idea this summer on one of my favorite sites ProTeacher.  If you've never visited, you must!  It's full of great ideas from tons of wonderful teachers.

Anywho...this is what I ended up making this summer:

Actually, I made six of them, with my Mom's help.  I don't have any photos to show how I made them, but I will try to explain.  It's very easy, I promise!

1. First, you need some storage crates that are made to store hanging folders. This gives you a lip around the top edge for the "lid" to sit on.  I bought mine at Walmart when they had all their back to school stuff out, so I think the crates were around $5 each.

2. Take a crate and head to your local home improvement store.  A very kind gentleman cut 6 pieces of plywood for me that fit perfectly in the top part of each crate.  Please note:  It is so important to take a crate with you, not just the measurements.  Our happy helper had to shave little bits off of each piece to get them to fit, which would have been impossible to do without the crate.

3. Next, you'll need to purchase some foam.  I bought a roll of 1 inch foam at Walmart.  It was actually cheaper than it was at the fabric store.  You'll need to cut the foam to fit each piece of plywood.  I then used spray adhesive to stick the foam to the plywood.

4. Last, find some cute fabric to wrap the "lid."  Cut your fabric a little larger than the foam covered plywood so you can wrap it around the edges.  I used a staple gun to upholster the "lids."  Just be sure to pull the fabric taught as you staple.  I did the two longer sides first, then the short sides, and then tucked the corners, much like a hospital corner on a bed.

That's it!  Really, minimal investment and minimal time spent for maximum storage and very cute seating.  And trust me, these puppies are strong!  They hold me and have held all my students really well. When I need to get the lid off, I just put my hand through the handle and pop it up.  I store all my wipes, tissues, and extra supplies in my crates.  My room is so much less cluttered by not having to look at these necessities.

Here's a picture of my crates in action.

They add a fun pop of color and the kids love to sit on them.


  1. Very cute!! :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Super duper cute! I love storage with style! Thanks for sharing!!

    I Love 2 Teach

  3. Oh my gosh... so cute and functional!!!! At first I thought that it was just a way to cover up the file boxes and keep them looking tidy. But, when I scrolled down and saw the table and "chairs" I giggled in surprise. Not only are these crates cute, they are doubly functional! Weekend project here I come! (My husband will love helping out... Ha!) Thank you so much for sharing!!


  4. I am so excited about making these for my classroom this year! Thanks for sharing. Come follow me at my blog to see how the classroom makeover turns out. :-)

  5. I just made these and I'm so excited! Thanks for sharing...I can't wait to see how they look in my room!

  6. I just made my own! You can check them out here:
    Thanks for the tutorial!
    Colleen Patton

  7. Yeah! I'm making them today! I'm so excited to see your hard work :) So cute and I LOVE the colors.

  8. So glad I stumbled upon this little tutorial!! Even if it is almost a year later :)

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  9. I just made these. Super easy and adorable! Thanks for the great idea! I can't wait to bring them into my classroom. :-)