Build a DIY Stool With Storage From a Simple Crate

2 Materials
1 Hour

Find yourself overrun with books and nowhere to store them properly? I just may have a solution to your problem! My kids love to read, and lately I’ve found that we don’t have enough storage solutions for their books. I decided to make a whimsical galaxy storage crate to create some stylish storage for books. But where will they read all of these books we’ve been collecting? Right on top of the crate! I’ll show you how to take these crates to the next level by turning them into stylish stools that match your room decor. Affordable, stylish, and functional, what more could you ask for?

Tools and Materials

  • File crate
  • Thin piece of hardboard
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 1 ½”x1 ½” piece of wood
  • Sand paper
  • Wood glue
  • Clamp
  • Project foam pad
  • Scissors
  • Flannel fabric
  • Spray glue adhesive
  • Heavy duty staple gun
  • Poly-fil quilt batting
Create the Base for the Cushion
Create the Base for the Cushion

Using a piece of thin hardboard I cut it to just a bit larger than the top of my crate. This would create the base for my cushion, so it’s important that while thin, it is also durable and can hold up to the weight of someone sitting on it. If you don’t have the tools needed to cut one down to size, make sure to measure and then head on over to your local hardware store. Most hardware stores will make basic cuts for you.

Attach Blocks
Attach Blocks

I didn’t want one of my wiggly kiddos sliding off the crate, so I needed to make sure that I had an easy way to secure the cushion to the crate. I solved this problem using four wooden blocks.

Mark the Corners

I flipped the crate over, with the hardboard under it, and marked the inside edges using a pencil. This crate was ideal for this because it had a bunch of holes that allowed me to easily get inside and mark the corners.

Mark with a Pencil

Then I used a ruler to clearly mark where I had made the pencil marks.

Cut the Blocks

Using a piece of 1 ½”x1 ½” wood I cut four blocks that were 2” long each. These would serve as “stoppers” to stop the cushion from sliding off the wood.


I sanded the edges to make sure that nobody would accidentally get a splinter when removing the cushion to get to one of the books inside the storage crate. 

Attach the Blocks

I took each of the sanded blocks, applied a bit of wood glue, and placed them in each corner where I had marked it with a pencil.



For wood glue to work properly, it’s important to allow it the recommended amount of time to dry. I let mine dry for at least 30 minutes while clamped, and then another few hours until I was sure it was completely dry. If you don’t have a clamp, use something heavy to weigh the blocks down while drying.

All Four Blocks Attached

Create the Cushion
Create the Cushion

What I’m about to teach you can be used to create any cushion, so feel free to apply what you learned to another piece of furniture in your house. I used thin foam for my cushion, and doubled it up to create a thicker piece. This saved me quite a chunk of change. 

Match the Foam

The pieces of foam I had didn’t quite fit my hardboard base, it was too long on one side and too short on the other. 

Mark the Foam

I flipped the whole thing over and marked where I wanted to cut the foam. 

Cut the Foam

Foam is easy to cut so I was able to do it with some basic craft scissors.

Flip it Over

Then I flipped the whole piece over again, and placed those two bits I had cut off on the end that didn’t have foam and voila, we’ve solved a problem.

Attach the Cushion to the Hardboard
Attach the Cushion to the Hardboard

This part was pretty easy. Using some spray adhesive I glued the foam onto the board, and then the second layer of foam to the first. Spray adhesive is my absolute favorite craft product. I’ve used this spray adhesive to hold a stencil in place as I stenciled an entire wall. And it also comes in handy here.

Stuck Tight!
Fabric Options
Cut the Batting and Fabric

This step is where you can really personalize your storage crate stool. I decided to work with flannel because I wanted the cushions to be super soft. The galaxy and unicorn fabric that I found coordinated well with both the crate I was using and the decor in my kids’ room.

Lay out the Fabric and Batting

I lay out the fabric with the print side down, and then lay the batting on top of it, lining up the corners where possible.

Center the Stool

I placed the stool foam side down in the center of the fabric and batting. Make sure that you have enough space on each side to pull it up and over the edge of the hardboard.

Mark and Cut the Batting and Fabric

I marked the batting as I went so I knew where to cut. When you cut, only cut one layer at a time as it can shift if you try to do both of them together. First I cut the batting, then I cut the fabric slightly larger than the batting. Just a reminder that this will create the bottom of the cushion and as such won’t be seen so it doesn’t have to be exactly perfect. 

Save Your Scraps

Save your scraps for future projects. You never know when these scraps will come in use and I’d love to make a coordinating project with the same fabric.

Attach the Batting and Fabric
Attach the Batting and Fabric

With the cushion centered on the batting and fabric, I was ready to attach everything. 

Use a Staple Gun


Get your hands on a heavy duty staple gun if you don’t have one already! These go for around $20 and come in handy on light upholstery and woodworking projects.

Spray Adhesive

First, I lightly attached the batting and fabric using my spray adhesive.

Gently Attach the Fabric

I sprayed each side and gently attached the batting and fabric up and over the hardboard. Make sure not to pull too tight because it can pucker the fabric.

Continue Attaching the Fabric
Trim the Corners

Then I trimmed the corners just a bit because I didn’t want too much extra material getting in the way when I tightened my corners. 

Fold Down the Corners

I left just enough to be able to fold it over like a hospital sheet. 

Secure with a Staple Gun

Then I secured everything with a staple gun. I stapled one on each side, to make sure everything was evenly secured, and then continued stapling in the same fashion.

Staple All Around
DIY Stool with Storage
DIY Storage Crate

This storage crate stool makes it easy for kids to keep their books in one place and easily accessible for when they want to pull one out to read. It keeps things off the floor and out of sight, while still being stylish. What would you store in a storage crate like this? Let me know in the comments below!

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Sarah Vanderkooy
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • David David on May 20, 2020

    Would it not be easier if you attached the blocks later?

  • Charleen Charleen on Jun 02, 2020

    Do you have a picture of it completed with the top on? The one you have looks like it is sitting on top or is that how it is supposed to look with the blocks showing and a gap between the lid and the crate?

  • Margaet may Margaet may on Jun 07, 2020

    What’s the purpose of the blocks?

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