DIY Decorative Storage Crates

I think any teacher (and probably most mamas) will tell you that their classroom or house is too small and they’re looking for more storage space. I teach kindergarten and it requires a lot of supplies: crafts, paper, pencils, toys, games, puzzles, manipulatives, books and many more supplies. I’m often looking for more ways to get organized and places to put all of my things.

I’ve seen many different pins on Pinterest for ways to make your own storage containers out of file crates and realized that they could double for chairs around my guided reading table. I could get rid of six chairs in my room by using these storage crates instead AND they would also hold all of the school supplies my kiddos would be bringing on the first day of school — major win!

Here is an easy DIY that includes using wood wrapped with decorative fabric to make a seat, ottoman, chair or simply a decorative storage unit.


  • 6 Sterilite file crates
  • A large piece of plywood cut into six pieces (Lowes cut and rounded the edges at no extra charge)
  • Foam or an eggshell mattress pad
  • Four yards of fabric
  • Spray glue
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Scissors

Before Assembling

  • Buy the file crates and bring one with you when you go to buy and get your wood cut. I can’t stress this enough! You need to make sure that the edges are trimmed down enough so that they’ll fit inside the inner lip of the top of the crate. The board has to fit in the top but can’t be too small or else it will fall through. The nice man that helped me at Lowes spent quite a while making sure that every board fit perfectly.
  • Pick whatever fabric you like to match your classroom or home décor. I picked two designs that complimented each other, though I know my kids won’t care as much as I do what the chairs look like.

To Assemble

  • Cut your eggshell mattress pads so that they’re about the same size as the wood. I cut mine so they were just slightly smaller (1/4 inch smaller than the wood).

  • Spray the board with the spray adhesive and stick the eggshell foam on. This is very helpful so that the foam doesn’t shift when you’re covering them with fabric.
  • Cut the fabric so that it’s several inches larger than the wood on all sides. Don’t worry about frayed edges; no one will see them once it’s assembled.
  • Lay the board down on the fabric so that the eggshell foam is on the floor/table and it’s on the wrong side of the fabric.

  • Working on one side at a time, tightly pull the fabric over the board (like you’re wrapping a present) and staple the fabric in place on the underside of the board. Repeat around all sides.

  • If desired, make a “loop” with any leftover scraps of fabric and staple it to the underside of the board. This will make pulling the seat up a lot easier.

And voila! I made all six crates in about two hours. After making the first one, it went a lot faster because I knew what I was doing. I’m so excited to use them in my classroom this fall!

I’m thinking they have to be more comfortable than the chairs because of the padding from the eggshell foam. These would also be great in your child’s nursery as an ottoman for a glider/rocker.


Good luck and happy DIY!

3 Responses to DIY Decorative Storage Crates

  1. I’m looking at these from Target, and wondering if they will work (since they’re just storage crates). Do your “file crates” have a lip at the top that holds in the seat/pad?


  2. I m totally going to do this for the girls’ playroom…. what a great idea!

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