Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Episode 006 How to make a milkcrate cushioned ottoman


Now for the Quick Project Rundown (QPR).

  • PROJECT: How to make a milk crate ottoman
  • STEPS: 5
  • PROJECT LENGTH: 45 min
  • DIFFICULTLY LEVEL: Level 2 Wrench  
  • MATERIALS: (1) Milk crate,(2) pieces of plywood 13x13 & 12x12, polyester fill, (4) 1" wood screws, Duck tape, hot glue sticks, bed sheets or fabric
  • TOOLS: Drill, scissors, hot glue gun, straight pins, yard stick or tape measure, piece of soap

STEP 2: MEASURE & CUT WOOD.  You're going to need 2 pieces of wood to create a lid for the ottoman.  The top piece is for the actual seat (what you attached the cushion and fabric to) and the 2nd piece will fit inside of the top of the crate to keep the seat from sliding around.
Measure the opening of your milk crate.  Cut one piece at 13" x 13" and one piece at 12" x 12".
STEP 3: LAY OUT PATTERN & CUT.  Lay out your bed sheet or piece of fabric on the floor and with a yard stick and piece of soap (great for marking on fabric) draw out the pattern below.  This is how we'll cover the sides of the milk crate.  Make sure to leave an extra inch of fabric around the "plus sign."  You are going to need that extra material to glue
the edges together.

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE BOTTOM.  After you have cut out the "plus sign," lay it down good side up (because we are working on this inside out).  Sit the milk crate in the middle and lifting all of the arms of the "plus sign" up, tape them to the inside of the crate (see below).
At each corner, bring the flanges together and with the straight pins, pin them together at snugly and close to the crate as you can.  This will create a seam for you to glue together.

Now that you have the seams made, open the flaps, lay down a bead of hot glue close to the seam, close flaps and squeeze together.  Warning! Hot glue does not feel good on your fingers.
After the seams have cooled and hardened, slide the whole sleeve off, flip inside out and slide it back onto the milk crate.

Now to finish off the bottom piece, pull the edges over and tuck it under itself (if you have enough material) for a clean edge.  Lay a bead of hot glue down on the inside of the crate and press down the edge.

Once all the edges are glued down, at an angle, cut out the extra material in the corners (or your lid won't fit in).
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE TOP.  With your bed sheet or fabric, grab you yard stick and measure out a 23" x 23" square.  Even though the seat square is 13" x 13", this is the material that you will use to cover your seat so it has to accommodate the cushion and the wood.  (see drawing below)

Lay down material, image side down.  Take your poly filling and set it in the middle.  Next, take the 13"x 13" piece of wood and set it on top of the cushion to make a delicious seating sandwich.
Pull edges over and with the Duck tape, tape them down to the wood.  I suggest starting with one side, taping it down in the middle then pull the opposite edge and tape that down in the middle.  Next, turn the piece of wood, tape it down in the middle, then pull on the opposite edge and tape that down in the middle.  Now take the corner material and make a hospital corner (I think that's what it is) and tape that down.

It should look like this.  It doesn't need to be beautiful.
Lastly, take the 12"x 12" piece of wood and lay it over the taped seams and screw it in the middle of each edge. This will keep the fabric in place.

Voila!  Sit your lid on top of the milk crate and you've got yourself a cushioned ottoman.  All of my materials for this project cost $1.65.  A comparable ottoman in stores costs $19.95 for a total cost savings of $18.30.

Try these other styles.  This one features buffalo, deer, foxes, and pine trees for the hipster in you.
Matchy Matchy.

For a more upscale ottoman, I used a fancy satin material that I got from Lorraine's Fabric Store.  This is the Oprah Winfrey of ottomans.


  1. Call me crazy, but I'm going to attempt to make at least 8 of these bad boys for my classroom! I'll keep you posted on the outcome!

    シ Tracey
    Our Cool School

  2. Love the idea. I made four of them for my classroom. I did have to adjust the pattern to 15 inches instead of 13. I feel it's better to work with extra material than not to have enough!

  3. You go girl! Missed you last year in Nashville!