Milk Crate Chair for Camping or Vinyl Storage Upgrade




Introduction: Milk Crate Chair for Camping or Vinyl Storage Upgrade

About: I have too many projects going on to know where all the little cuts and scratches on my hands come from. Follow me here to catch up on my latest builds.

Milk Crates are great form of modular storage! I came up with an easy upgrade that lets you use them as a chair to maximize small spaces. Perfect for camping, vinyl, dorms, and tiny houses!


  1. Milk Crate: If you place on using this for storing vinyl I've found that 13.75'' on all sides work perfect for vinyl. If you are just using it for general storage the size doesn't matter as much.
  2. Paracord: This is what will tie it all together and act as the hinge and supports. It is important to use paracord as it doesn't stretch so your knots will remain tight.
  3. A small section of 3/4'' plywood.
  4. Sand Paper
  5. Wood Stain
  6. Fabric for storage bag (Optional)


  1. Drill with a drill bit approximately 1/4''
  2. Scissors
  3. Sander
  4. Paint brush
  5. Staple gun (Optional)

Step 1: Seat and Back Rest

Depending on the dimensions of the crate your measurements will vary but I'd recommend adding a 1/8'' or so extra to accommodate for the seat slightly shifting.

  1. If using a 13.75'' crate then cut two pieces of 3/8 plywood to 14''.
  2. Sand the edges down till they are round. You can use a power sander although a router would be quicker.
  3. Stain if desired.

Step 2: Creating the Hinges

The hinges are simple and quick to make.

  1. Line up the seat and backrest with the crate.
  2. Drill four holes into the plastic crate and another four that correspond with both pieces of the wood.
  3. Take the paracord and tie loops through the holes.
  4. If the hinge is sloppy then tighten the knots by redoing them or tying two of the loops together with a knot that runs perpendicular to the hinge.

Step 3: Chair Supports

The chair backrest is held upright with paracord supports. They are strong enough I can lean back and gently rock the chair. I weigh 160ish lbs so it's reasonably strong

  1. First drill two holes near what will be the top of the chair.
  2. Tie paracord through both of the holes that were just drilled.
  3. Tie a carabiner to one end of the support
  4. Make a loop on the end of the other support. It is important to adjust the loop so it holds the back at a good angle. At first I set it leaning a little towards the front of the chair, after a few uses the knots tighten it will sit at an appropriate angle.

Step 4: Interior Bag

It's simple to add a bag to the bottom of the seat.

  1. Cut your fabric to fit in the square of the chair.
  2. Once lined up staple it in place.
  3. Add a loop of fabric to make opening the bag and the chair easier.
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    40 Discussions

    This is absolute genius!! When I was a camp counselor, we used to make something similar with 5-Gallon buckets but NO back support. I would like to see upholstered seats (getting old, need cushion!) and maybe back, but I'm sure my wife can figure it out. I LUV this better than round, buckets though because they stack and fit better!! Two thumbs up!!!!

    1 reply

    I've never seen a 5 gallon bucket one but thats awesome you used to make them with the kids. I was an Eagle Scout and getting all this feedback makes me want to teach this to my old troop!

    This is a nice idea. I think I will adapt it as a step up for helping me get into our Surburban, which we need living in the rural north & snow gets too deep at times for regular cars.

    Im not sure I need the crate part. I just want a simple seat ,light with a back rest. mostly for the beach and other events where chairs are not provided here in Japan. This will work.

    Thank you! I've been a member who has just trolled for several years and finally got around to posting. I wish I had earlier because the feedback from the community is inspiring!


    I have just been a finalist in the apple contest and that is inspiring, it is the first online contest I have ever won!!

    Thats very clever making a lantern out of an apple! I wonder if using some pectin or lemon juice could make them last a little longer before turning brown. Very cool!

    My apple turned brown fairly quickly.

    Put it this way though; you are going to be using it only at night so there is no need to worry about the colour.

    If you were displaying it for a little while before dark you could put lemon juice on it, it would smell different when you lit it too.

    As a DJ who usually had more crates than chairs back in my bachelor days I can totally appreciate this! I love simple, state-of-the-shelf solutions. Keep it up!

    1 reply

    Ooooh I could totally see it working well for DJ's. The term "state-of-the-shelf solutions" is brilliant, I haven't heard that one before. Thanks for the feedback, definitely will be posting more soon!

    This is very cool! I use milk crates for all kinds of stuff, but never thought of making a chair.

    I love this. Must get my husband to make me one, so I can sit on it while weeding because my knees can't take the kneeling. Thanks loads. But where do people buy milk crates?

    5 replies

    I know TSC (Tractor Supply Company) carries real milk crates in black.

    Thank you, too, Markz. I don't know if there is a TSC near me, but if I should want black crates and can't find them elsewhere, I'll go looking online for a TSC.

    Wal*Mart even has them over in the stationary section. They're useful for file/book storage.

    I'd be careful with some crates you buy at big box stores. I have one from Target that is made of much thinner plastic then the one I used for the project. I'm not sure where I got mine, if you keep an eye out one will show up in no time.