23 Creative Ways to Use Milk Crates in Your Classroom

Got milk crates? Here’s how to use them.

23 Creative Ways to Use Milk Crates in the Classroom - We Are Teachers

Every classroom needs more storage, and every teacher needs a budget break. That’s where milk crates come in! There are so many ways to use these inexpensive (or free if you can find them!) crates. Take a look at some of the clever ways folks are using milk crates in the classroom, then head out to gather up a few of your own and give it a try.

1. Craft milk crate seats with built-in storage.

Milk Crates Seats The Apple Tree Room

This Pinterest-worthy project has been popular for ages, and it’s easy to see why. A few simple DIY steps turn milk crates into comfy seats that are the perfect height for little ones. Plus, lift off the padded lid and you’ve got plenty of storage space! Hit the link below for a tutorial.

Source: The Apple Tree Room


2. Add some legs for bigger kids.

Milk Crate Stool Second Hand Chic

Add some legs to the classic padded milk crate seat, and you’ve got a taller stool that’s ideal for older kids or even adults.

Source: Curbly


3. Twine it up for simple seating.

Milk Crates Stool HGTV

Weave a pretty pattern with sisal rope to make this stool. These portable seats would be ideal seating for outdoor learning experiences. Get the how-to at the link below.

Source: HGTV


4. Up the comfort factor with a backrest.

Milk Crate Stool Instructables

A little woodworking, and a plastic milk crate becomes a comfortable chair for just about anyone! It’s not as hard as you think. Check out the link below for instructions.

Source: Instructables


5. Line them up to make a bench…

Milk Crates Bench Sun and Second Grade

Zip-tie several milk crates side-by-side and you’ve got seating for a whole crew! Use the space beneath to store books, toys, or other supplies.

Source:  Sun, Sand, & Second Grade


6. Then turn those benches into a cozy reading nook.

Milk Crates Reading Nook Pinterest

Oh, how we love reading nooks! This one is especially pretty, with its milk crate benches, gauzy backdrop, and floral accents.

Source: Raven/Pinterest


7. Assemble your own stability ball seating.

Milk Crates Ball The Enthusiastic Class

Stability ball chairs are a fun choice for flexible seating, but they can be expensive. Make your own with milk crates and large “bouncy balls” from the discount store!

Source: The Enthusiastic Classroom


8. Attach milk crates under chairs for handy storage.

Milk Crates Under Seat Pinterest

This is a terrific idea for classrooms with tables instead of desks. Use zip ties to attach crates to individual chairs. Now kids have storage no matter where they’re sitting!

Source: Kathy Stephan/Pinterest


9. Or secure them to the sides of desks.

Milk Crates Desks Pinterest

Give students a place to stash their stuff during class, or stock the crates with the supplies they need for that day’s lesson. This is especially useful for the all-in-one desks often used in junior high and high school.

Source: Leah Allsop/Pinterest


10. Build a table to go with the milk crate seats.

Milk Crates Table and Chairs

Milk crates are made to be stackable, which gives you lots of options. Assemble a configuration you like, then top with wood for a sturdy surface.

Source: Janet Neal/Pinterest


11. Create a comfy corner couch.

Milk Crates Couch Brie Brie Blooms

Use plastic crates to make a platform, top with a crib mattress, and add some cushions along the back. Now you’ve got a comfortable place for kids to settle in and read the books you can store underneath!

Source: Brie Brie Blooms


12. Assemble colorful cubbies.

Milk Crate Cubbies Coffee Crafted Teacher

Stack and secure a collection of plastic crates to make individual cubbies for each of your students. Label them with their names so they’ll always have their own space.

Source: The Coffee Crafted Teacher


13. Mount plastic crates to the wall for shelving.

Milk Crate Wall Shelves Container Store

Get crates up off the floor and attach them to the walls instead. You can configure them any way you need, at any height that suits you.

Source: The Container Store


14. Make the most of a corner space.

Milk Crates Corner Shelves Randy Grsckovic Insta

We love this creative use of plastic crates to create corner storage. Remember to use the right hardware to make sure your crates are securely attached to the wall.

Source: Randy Grsckovic/Instagram


15. Turn an unused coat rack into more storage.

Milk Crates Wall Hooks

Hanging crates on the wall is even easier if you can use hardware that’s already there! This is a fantastic way to make use of unneeded coat hooks.

Source: Sara Brinkley Yuille/Pinterest


16. Expand your options by adding some wooden shelves.

Milk Crate Shelves Ever After My Way

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Stack crates with wood shelves between for a sturdy storage solution.

Source: Ever After… My Way


17. Craft a bookcase on wheels.

Milk Crates on Wheels

This rolling bookshelf allows you to take the storage wherever it’s needed most. Wouldn’t this make a really cool traveling library cart?

Source: ALT


18. Throw in file folders for easy classroom mailboxes.

Milk Crate Mailboxes The Primary Peach

Use file folders in plastic crates as “mailboxes” for your students. Return graded papers, distribute daily lessons, hand out flyers to take home… all in one place.

Source: The Primary Peach


19. Plant a classroom garden.

Milk Crates Garden

Lined with burlap and filled with potting soil, milk crates make a great container garden! You can even do this indoors if you put down something to protect the floors first.

Source: Hobby Farms


20. Construct a milk crate cart.

Milk Crates Cart Instructables

The creators of this cart used an old scooter they had lying around. No scooter? Attach wheels and build a handle from some inexpensive PVC pipe instead.

Source: Instructables


21. Fashion a basketball hoop.

Milk Crates Hoop mightytanaka Insta

We all know kids are going to practice their trick shots when they throw papers in the trash can. Why not make a basketball hoop to hang above it by sawing the bottom off an old plastic crate?

Source: mightytanaka/Instagram


22. Set up a coat closet or dress-up center.

Milk Crates Closet Video

Turn cubbies into a closet by adding a metal rod for hanging coats or other items. This would also make a clever space to store dress-up clothes and accessories. Get the DIY at the link below.

Source: Jay Munee DIY/YouTube


23. Set sail for adventure!

Milk Crates Boats

OK, these milk crate boats won’t float, but that won’t stop kids from hopping aboard and using their imaginations! 

Source: Lisa Tiechl/Pinterest

What are your favorite ways to use milk crates in the classroom? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

23 Creative Ways to Use Milk Crates in Your Classroom

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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