Finally, I've made the crate seats! I looked at a lot of different posts and websites about how to make crate seats. I saw some that had the plywood on the inside lip of the crate with a chair cushion tied on the crate, and others had a lot of cushioning inside with the fabric stapled to the wood. I thought the chair cushion was a great idea, that way you could wash the cushions or replace them easily. BUT I couldn't find cushions at a reasonable price, and making them was beginning to look as expensive, plus very time consuming.
I decided that was important to me was cleanliness, multipurpose surface, and ease of construction. I wanted the surface to be either removable or washable, so I went with a heavy weight vinyl tablecloth fabric so that I can disinfect it easily. I wanted the cushion to be soft enough to sit on, but firm enough to use as a writing surface/table if needed. Finally, I wanted the construction to be as easy and inexpensive as possible.
I found some inexpensive vinyl table cloths at a discount store that I thought might do, but they ended up being too flimsy, so I went to JoAnn's and found a heavy weight vinyl table cloth (by the yard) with flannel on the back. It was $9.99 a yard, but they had it for 50% off, and I had a 10% off coupon that I found online, so I got 3 yards for pretty cheap! (3 yards created 12 seat covers)
I chose this neutral color because I try to stick with blues and greens in my classroom color scheme, but they did have black, red, dark blue, etc. I just wanted something that would go with anything.
The cushioning is quilt batting. I used 3 layers of thin batting to create a soft but firm cushion. This was free because my mom is a quilter and had a big bolt of batting. I'm not sure how much it costs.
Three layers of batting
Sizing my cardboard template
Finally, I bought a large piece of plywood at Home Depot. I took with me a cardboard template to show the size I needed cut. I bought cabinet grade plywood. It is very sturdy and cost about $16 for the whole sheet. I got 18 boards, so it was less than $1. They were nice enough to cut the entire sheet of plywood for me free of charge! I think it is usually 2 free cuts and 50 cents for every cut after, but they are very kind to teachers. :)
Gather fabric, cushion material, scissors, plywood, and staple gun
Leave 3-4 inches around when cutting out
Place cushion (3 layers quilt batting) and then flip over batting side down
Staple down two opposite ends
Miter fold the edges in to create a tab (like wrapping a gift) and staple down