Monday, August 18, 2014

DIY Crate Chairs - 6 Simple Steps

I've really been working hard this summer at redecorating my classroom.  I love all those cute classrooms you see all over the internet and I'm hoping to make mine just as cute.   The next step on my cute classroom quest was to make crate chairs to put around my circle table for small group time.  I can't believe how great they turned out and I thought I'd give a little tutorial on how I did it.  (I have to give a shout out to Eric and the lady at Joann fabrics who both helped me figure out how to do these.)

Material's You'll Need

Crates - I found them for less than $4 a piece at Target
Wood - About an inch or so thick and cut to fit so that they rest on the inner rim of your crates.
Fabric - I used outdoor fabric because it's thick and easily wiped clean.
Staple Gun
Card stock - cut into 1 inch strips
Foam - I used 1" - but thicker would probably be better
Spray Adhesive
Ribbon - optional


Step 1:

I started by heading to Home Depot's scrap wood section.  I found a large board that looked sturdy but not too thick and asked the guy to cut it for me.  (Note that I made sure to go at a time when I knew Home Depot wouldn't be too busy, so the worker would have time to make multiple cuts for me.)  I had measured my crates ahead of time and the Home Depot guy made perfect cuts for me.  I ended up with these boards shown below. (And the best part about it was that since they were scrap pieces they were free!)

The problem was that they didn't quite fit in my crates.  My crates had rounded corners and the boards had square corners.  So at home I took my handy circular saw, set it at a 45 degree angle and cut off all of the corners.  (I always feel so self-sufficient when I whip out the circular saw.  Like I can handle ANYTHING!)

Step 2

The next step was to cut the foam to fit.  I used the cut wood as tracers, traced as many as I needed and cut the foam so that it was the same size as the boards.  I then attached the foam to the boards using spray adhesive so that they wouldn't slide around as I was covering them with fabric.

Next, I cut a piece of fabric so that there was plenty of excess for wrapping around the edges and flipped the wood-foam piece upside-down.

Step 3

The next step I tweaked thanks to the advice of the Joann 's Fabric lady.  I was worried that my outdoor fabric, which frays easily, would come loose.  So, she suggested putting a piece of card stock inside each folded over edge and stapling through the fabric and the card stock.  This way, some of the pressure from the staple goes into the card stock and not completely into the fabric.  So, I cut a large piece of card stock into one inch strips.  I lay one of the strips along the edge of the fabric, as shown below.

Then I folded over the edge, coving the card stock.  Next, I pulled that side up and over the edge of the wood and stapled it in place with a staple gun. 

I then did the same process on the opposite side of the wood, making sure to pull the fabric straight and tight.

Step 4

The corners were a little bit trickier.  I am no expert at this, but I knew I needed to make sure that fabric was taut and straight.  I realized pretty early on that I had too much fabric right at the corners, so I cut off a triangle of extra fabric right at the corner.  This helped everything lay more smoothly.

Then, I folded over one corner at a time, something like wrapping a present, but trying not to create that complete triangle shape that presents get.   You can see in the photo below, that I tucked the excess fabric into itself, creating a quadruple layer of fabric right at the corner. 

I pulled everything down as tight as possible and then folded the corner up, like a present.  I then put in one staple close to the edge and started working on the other corner that was on the same side.

Step 5

Now I had a big flap of triangular material secured only by 2 staples.  I took another piece of card stock and trimmed it to fit the triangle.

Then I placed the card stock under the triangle, and folded the top half of the triangle under the card stock.  I was then able to staple this side down pulling it tight and securing it well.

Step 6

I then turned the board and did the same process on the opposite side.  Finally I went around and added staples to all four sides, making sure they were really secure.  Not all of the staples went in as deeply as I would have liked, so I also went around with a hammer and pounded a few of them in deeper.


Now my cushion was done.  I added a bit of ribbon around the top set of holes on my crate, dropped the cushion in place and voila!  I can't wait to add this to my classroom!


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