How to Build a Milk Crate Bench
Milk crate containers are versatile interlocking boxes. The boxes are usually square or rectangular with square grids for the sides and bottom. At one time, these crates were made for carrying milk bottles or cartons for delivery. The shape is so popular and convenient that the crates are now made for consumers in many popular colors. Two milk crates can be converted to a bench for casual seating or as a workbench. Here are tips on how to make a milk crate bench.
Choose two milk crate containers of the same size. The square containers are usually 13 inches wide by 13 inches long and 11 inches deep. Be sure the containers have the square grid bottoms. Solid bottom containers are not suited to this quick project. The crates are turned upside-down for the bench so that the top is attached to the crate grid.
Make a wood bench top about 1 foot wide by 4 feet long. This can be cut from 3/8-inch thick plywood. Thinner plywood is not suitable as it is not sturdy enough to hold the weight of a person. A bench top can also be made from 2 wood boards about 1 inch thick by 6 inches wide by 48 inches long. These boards side by side will make the top. Visit a lumber or home improvement center and buy plywood or boards cut to the right size.
When two boards are used for the top, two smaller wood pieces should be nailed or screwed across the two top boards to hold them together as one piece. These cross-braces keep the two long boards from shifting on the bench. Attach the cross braces at the very end or the center of the boards so that they do not rest on top of the milk crates. The bench top rests directly on the crate grid for a stable surface.
Mark drill holes to attach the wood top to the milk crates with 3/8-inch bolts and nuts. One plywood bench top needs 2 bolts and nuts at each end for 4 total. Two narrow boards require 2 nuts and bolts at the end of each board for 8 total. Be sure the holes will go through the milk crate grid spaces without damaging the grid itself.
Drill 3/8-inch holes through the wood to match the milk crate grid spaces. Drop the bolts through the wood holes with the heads at the top. Put a wide washer, such as a fender washer, on the other end. Each washer should be about 1-1/2 inches wide with a 3/8-inch hole to fit over the bolt end. These wide washers keep the nut from slipping up through the crate grid. Tighten each washer in place with the 3/8-inch nut. The bench is ready to use.
- Upholstery fabric can be thumb tacked or stapled in place for a smoother seating surface.
- Rectangular milk crates make wider benches as the crates are about 19 inches long.
- Sand off any splinters.
- Stain or paint to protect wood if bench is used outdoors.
Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.
- Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons