Great Crate Challenge… what I created with two crates and a $50 budget

Back in January I took part in the Calgary Renovation Show Great Crate Challenge… five local influencers were given two wood crates and a $50 budget to come up with something fun to be displayed at the show!… being as practical as I am I wanted to make something that was really functional and good looking… Seeing the crates I instantly knew what I wanted to create… a rolling crate storage ottoman that could be used as additional seating…

crates and planks

I applied glue to one side of each of the crates, pressed the glue sides together, and secured them with a clamp until they had dried… I cut down a wood plank to the exact size of the bottoms of the two crates once they were together… this would give much needed stability to the thin sided crates and create a solid base for screwing in the little casters.

You can see in the above shot I also cut a plank for the base of the top cushion that would becoming the ottoman cover and seat.  I used the solid wood plank for the top, as well, for stability for the overall ottoman… it needed to hold an adult sitting on it, in my mind, for it to be really functional. Now this top plank I cut down just a little smaller than the full size of the top as I planned to upholster it and didn’t want the top cushion hanging out all over the top like a giant mushroom cap BUT I ensured it was large enough that it wouldn’t fall inside of the crate edges.

crate challenge supplies

I was unable to turn up a thicker foam for the top, on my supply shopping adventure, so I purchased a roll of thinner foam and planned to layer it to build up an aesthetically pleasing thickness for the ottoman cushion top… I used the top plank as the measurement guide for the the foam rectangles and traced out the shape… then with a large sharp exact-o knife and cutting mat I cut the foam pieces out.

batting for crate ottoman top

Now to make sure it was really comfy I also used some quilt batting over top of the foam… this batting was also used to help hold the foam on the top of the top plank into place… Once the two pieces of foam were lined up on the top plank of wood I wrapped the batting over top, down the sides, and then under my top plank, where I secured it into place with staples… cutting away excess bulk at the corners – essentially miter joint at each corner with the batting 🙂 The batting is very forgiving here… staple it down then cut away… or cut and staple… whichever you way you can manipulate the material more easily.

crate ottoman top, foam, and ruler

For the fabric I chose to work with burlap… it would help me to achieve the overall look I was going for… when working with burlap I like to line all of the pieces with fabric to keep the seams and burlap stable as burlap can get a little out of control at times… I also always iron the burlap pieces like you should with any fabric when sewing… but not with the iron we use for our clothes – depending on the burlap you pickup it can be a little stinky (fabric store burlap is much nicer than hardware store burlap 😉 but it all depends on how rustic a look you are going for)

I cut the following pieces 1″ + my seam allowance, larger than the actual size required to create a tight cushion that would fit snugly on the foam and plank top, as I wanted to create a pinched edge around all sides and corners of the upholstered top:

1 top in burlap/1 top in liner fabric (I used an old bed sheet for the liner fabric)

2 long sides burlap / 2 long sides in liner fabric

2 short sides in burlap / 2 short sides in liner fabric

2 long sides 6″ wide in  burlap / 2 long side 6″ wide in liner fabric – for the bottom of the cushion

2 short sides 6″ wide in burlap / 2 short side 6″ wide in liner fabric – for the bottom of the cushion

crate ottoman cushion fabric

 

As I wanted a clean top cushion and to be able to pull the cover that I was sewing down over the top of the batting, cushion, and board I didn’t have a solid bottom – just four strips that were sewn along the long sides…  this turned into some finicky hand sewing and cutting away excess fabric at the bottom to mitre the fabric in at the corners to keep the bulk down and to create a nice finished look… Once the cover had the top and sides sewn together I sewed the 6″ wide strips to the bottom edges – along the sides only leaving them hanging from the bottom to be pulled under, mitred and those mitred seams in from the corners on the underside sewn down by hand.

Before attaching the cushion cover to the bottom off the plank I placed the cover over top, pinched the edges of the fabric around the top and hand stitched a seam on the outside of the fabric at 1″ in from the edge all the way around the top of the cushion and also at the four corners… to create the flange you see around the cushion… then I did the same all the way around the bottom edge… it’s a little finicky with the underside pieces being loose but I was achieving the look I was after.

Once I created the 1″ pinched seams around all the edges the cover was snug to the padded cushion… now the bottom mitred seams could be done and the cover would stay put on the cushion… once the mitres were sorted, excess fabric snipped away, and all sewn down I stapled the edge of the fabric to additionally secure the fabric cover to the cushion… if you want to get super tight here you could cut a rectangle to cover the opening… hand sewing the edge down to the underside of the cushion.

underside of crate cushion

I’m sure there are other ways to achieve this same look by leaving open other edges and hand sewing those closed after getting the plank/foam/batting stuffed in but for me, at midnight, this is what my brain turned up 😉 and the ottoman cushion top was complete!

PAINT!… As shown up above… the little can of FAT… I did my paint wash style of painting for this crate to give it a greyed old weathered wood look… I watered down my chosen colour and applied it all over the crate… it does go on darker and lighten as it dries… when doing paint washes I always recommend doing a test piece to ensure you’ve created a wash that will give you the results you want even as far as applying any finish that you plan to use over top as finishes like waxes or clear coats over a paint wash can change the look of the dried paint wash… for this rustic crate I did not seal the finish once it had dired… no wax and no clear… the wood was slightly rough which played perfect in with the old weathered crate look 🙂

Here are two posts where I show various paint washing techniques: Weathered Wood Feet & Shiplap Wall

crate challenge rolling storage ottoman

The colour of the wood worked perfectly with the burlap. The weight of the top seat/cover combined with the roughness of fabric and wood, and the little 1″ handsewn flange around the edge holds the cushion perfectly in place… it is easily lifts off as the cover is snug on the cushion, and sturdy, yet comfy for an adult to sit upon!…

And of course it was Oliver tested and approved before going on display at the Home Renovation Show! 😉

kitty approved crate ottoman

After the Home Renovation Show one lucky attendee won this ottoman! I have to admit I was sad to have to let her go… I’ll have to whip up one for our nest!

Have you created anything fun with crates? I want to hear all about it! Leave me a comment below… and a link to your website with your project! Can’t wait to see!… Sharing this one over at Costal Charm – who doesn’t like a fun link party!?

xo

Lacey

2 Responses to Great Crate Challenge… what I created with two crates and a $50 budget

  1. Fantastic work Lacey, creativity and ingenuity shine when we’re given less means to work with and this ottoman is proof of it. Plus, if Oliver approved it, it really must be first-rate! Congratulations on the stunning end-result, it’s giving me the urge to do the challenge myself.

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