Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Classroom DIY

So, I mentioned in my last post that I got a job as a Kindergarten teacher! I'm so excited! I'll be at a private Christian school pretty close to where we live. Now, because I've been without a job for a while and Isaac works off of commission doing body work AND we just had to spend a little over $5,000 for a new air conditioner inside and out of our home we are renting in Dallas AND I need to stock a classroom and find clothes to wear to teach (what a run-on sentence, huh?) I'm trying to do as much DIY stuff as possible! So, here's my project for the day with instructions.

I plan to use these as seats for the kids for things such as guided reading. The top is removable and we can store guided reading materials such as books and whisper phones in the crate! :)

crate (walmart has them for $3.47 right now 7-24-12)
plywood (not pictured) (hardware store)--they cut it for you if you want
staple gun (hardware store)
staples (hardware store) I got 5/16" so they wouldn't be too long but long enough.
mattress foam (walmart)
pliers (hardware store or husband's tool bag) ;)
scissors (who doesn't have scissors?)
fabric of choice (craft store like Hobby Lobby)--I chose a Peanuts theme for my classroom and anything I can't find that goes with that I get dog stuff to go with Snoopy. :)

First thing's first! There's a lip inside the top of the crate that you will need to measure! * Have it cut to where the wood isn't snug in there because you'll be adding fabric but still big enough that it'll sit on there.

My finger is on the lip you need to measure. Ignore the jerky treats in the back. :) (although, I will say, Costco puts them on for BOGO sometimes AND we had a coupon for other dog treats one time and those were still cheaper. They look like a piece of bacon and I tear one in half at bed time and give each dog one half) I digress....

Now, I'm fortunate enough that my husband cut the wood for me. Usually Home Depot is really good about doing stuff for you if you tell them you're a teacher. But, my husband did have to sand the corners to make them more rounded.

Next, I went to Walmart and got a twin sized mattress pad. It was called a 'convoluted mattress topper'.

After that I went to Hobby Lobby (or for those of you not in the south you can go to a Michaels) and picked out my fabric. I got a simple cotton fabric, but I'm sure fleece would work ok, too. But, to me fleece shows more dirt and what not when it gets dirty.

Now, lay the wood on top of the mattress topper and trace it and cut it out. I ended up using 3 layers of cushion on the seats so that they would have enough cushion on their little booties. :) AND so it would stick over the top of the crate.

It doesn't look like it but there are three layers. The layer in the middle is smaller than the rest.

Now, turn your fabric upside down and stack the foam and put the board on top. Then you can cut enough to stretch REAL tight over the board and staple.

Abby wouldn't have anything to do with the staple gun or scissors
 and I could hardly get Mia out of my face. I think she thought I was
making something for them with all the kisses she gave me.

Pull the fabric really tight over the corners and staple. Then pull the rest in towards the middle so there's nothing on the sides puckering out. If any area puckers a tiny bit it won't matter. But, it doesn't have to look perfect on the bottom. But, if you'd like it to get another rectangle of fabric and lay it over the bottom, fold the ends under and staple.

Voila! They definitely hold up. I sat on one and it held me--that means it's SUPER sturdy!

Look who came to claim she helped after all the stapling and cutting was done! She weighs 40 pounds in case you're wondering. So, she roughly weighs as much as a 5 year old kid. 

Also, I'm going to get a short piece of sturdy canvas (like on backpack straps) and make a loop and staple it under one side of each stool for a handle to pull on to lift. :)


  1. Your seats turned out so cute!! I wanted to make some, but I don't know how they'd hold up with the older and bigger kids!

  2. I know! I sat on it and it was fine but then I tried to lean on one with a knee and almost died! :) HAHAHA!