May 27, 2014

Bucket Seats... Made Easy!

Guest post by Katie at Kindergarten Craftiness

My favorite things to share with fellow crafters are crafty how-to’s that are also super practical (especially to teachers). Today I’m sharing a super easy tutorial on how to make bucket seats from those cheap 5-gallon paint buckets that you can get from pretty much any home improvement store. I actually got mine for about $3 each from Walmart. I think they were cheap because they didn’t come with lids but who needs lids when you’re going to make seats for them?

Anyway, for each seat you will need the following materials:
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • About 16” square fabric of your choice (I used fleece because it doesn’t fray, it’s kind of stretchy, and it’s super soft!)
  • Quilt batting or foam padding, both available at a craft store or even Walmart (the thicker the padding, the softer the cushion)
  • 2 wooden circles, one about an inch wider in diameter than your bucket top, one about an inch smaller
  • An electric drill with drill bit and 2-3 screws
  • An upholstery stapler with staples

First thing’s first: lay out your batting and place the larger wooden circle on top. Use the circle as a template to trim the batting.

Next, lay the same large wooden circle on top of your fabric. Trim your fabric into a circle that is slightly larger than the wooden circle. You want to have enough extra fabric all the way around so it can be pulled up over all the edges to be stapled later. Depending on how thick your wood circle is, the amount of extra fabric will vary. With my circle, I only needed to leave about an inch extra on all sides.

At this point, you should have padding about the same size as your circle and fabric slightly larger. I was making a set of 8 seats, so I went ahead and cut all the fabric and batting for all the seats.

Next, you need to attach the small wooden circle to the large wooden circle. I pre-drilled holes in the large circle. Then I added the screws when I had the larger circle centered on the smaller circle. NOTE: I purposely screwed in from the top towards the bottom because, if my screws were a bit too long, I didn’t want them to go through the wood and eventually poke the children in the bum when they went to sit on the seat. This way the top of the screw is on the top of the seat and it is pointy side down.

Once your circles are attached, you can get ready to do the final assembly. Lay the pieces down on a hard surface with the fabric on the bottom, then the padding, with the wooden circles on top (smaller circle facing up).

This is the fun part… the stapling! Start by stapling any side and then stapling the exact opposite side. This helps to ensure the consistent look of the upholstery job along with helping to make sure you have enough fabric for stapling on all the sides. Then do the two spots directly between the first two. At this point you will have sort of created 4 “corners.”

Next, fold up each of the 4 “corners” one at a time and staple those in place creating a sort of octagon shape.

Continue stapling around and securing areas between already secured spots. Your seat should end up looking like this:

If you want to give your seat a really finished look, you can do a fold and secure technique. Simply pinch one of the unsecured spots between your fingers, fold it over to the side, and staple. This helps to provide a much cleaner, more polished look to the seats.

When finished, the bottom of the seat should look like this:

Then all you need to do is place the seat on top of the bucket and you’re done!

I love how the finished bucket seats look and my students love them too because they are a couple inches higher than the crate seats. Plus they provide a lot more storage than regular chairs!

I hope you found this tutorial super easy. For more great crafty ideas, be sure to check out my blog over at Kindergarten Craftiness!

As a teacher, Katie knows it's always great to have easy and practical projects. After teaching Pre-K for years, she has learned to seek out projects that are affordable, easy, and useful in the classroom. She loves to show her creativity in her home and classroom. For more great crafty ideas, check out her blog, Kindergarten Craftiness.


  1. I assume the wood circles were precut? From where?

  2. I am making some! I am going to cover with laminated tablecloth!

  3. I am making some! I am going to cover with laminated tablecloth!

  4. Does anyone know a weight limit for these? I teach 5th grade and wondered if they would hold up for the bigger kids.

    1. Im more than 200 pounds and have used these when camping, they hold up just fine for me :)


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