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How to Upcycle a Milk Crate Into a Storage Ottoman

Kendrick has always loved creating. She is currently converting a cargo van into a home to live and travel in.

This article will show you how to convert an old milk crate into a cool and versatile ottoman that can also serve as a storage container.

This article will show you how to convert an old milk crate into a cool and versatile ottoman that can also serve as a storage container.

In this age of tiny houses and van life, many people are downsizing in creative and sustainable ways. Over the past few months, I have been converting a cargo van into a home for my husband and me to live and travel in with our dog. Two people and a 60-pound dog all living in such a small footprint means that every inch of space is important, and each item often functions as more than one thing.

For instance, these ottomans are used for storage, seating, and even as supports for our bed when it's pulled all the way out. I've had these milk crates sitting around for months at home, just waiting for inspiration to strike. So it made sense to incorporate them into the van build. This is a great way to take something that can be found almost anywhere and spruce it up to make it more practical!

While we probably could have bought ottomans of the right size at a store, we were looking for ways to make our build more sustainable, using as many recycled and upcycled materials as possible.

This guide will show you how we converted old milk crates into versatile storage ottomans so that you can join in the upcycling movement too!

What You'll Need

  • Milk crate
  • 2"–3" foam
  • Plywood
  • Masonite or other thin, light wood
  • Fabric (approximately 24" x 24" square)
  • Jigsaw
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • (2) 1" hinges
  • (8) 3/4" screws
  • (8) 1 1/2" screws
upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Step 1: Cut Plywood, Masonite, and Foam

Turn your milk crate upside down so that the opening is on the bottom. Trace the shape of the top of the milk crate once each onto the plywood, the Masonite, and the foam. Use your jigsaw to cut out each piece.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

You now have all the pieces you need to create your ottoman!

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Step 2: Add Fabric

Lay out your fabric square, right-side down. Place the foam in the center of the fabric. Place the plywood on top of the foam.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Starting on each edge, pull the fabric around and staple it to the plywood.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Next, pull the corners tight and staple.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Pull the excess fabric towards each corner. Fold fabric tabs over each other so they lie flat and staple. Add any additional staples to hold the fabric in place.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman
upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Step 3: Attach Masonite

Place the Masonite square on the bottom of the cushion to cover raw edges of fabric. Using your 3/4" screws, attach the Masonite at each corner and in the center of each edge.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Step 4: Attach Hinges to Cushion

Using your 1 1/5" screws, attach hinges to one edge of the bottom of the cushion. Be sure the hinges can close flat against the bottom of the cushion so your ottoman will close well.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Step 5: Attach Hinges to Milk Crate

Once again using your 1 1/2" screws, attach hinges to the edge of the milk crate. I used another milk crate to hold the cushion up while I drilled. Wood screws will go straight through the plastic of a milk crate and hold strong.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman
upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

Enjoy!

Your milk crate ottoman can be used to store just about anything! Use it well.

upcycling-a-milk-crate-to-make-a-storage-ottoman

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.