Fabric & Cardboard Storage Boxes

Wondering why I haven’t been posting lately? It’s because I just moved to a bigger and nicer apartment! It is a huge upgrade in terms of size and comfort and I’m absolutely in love with it, but there’s only one problem: it has considerably less closet space.

One very long trip to Ikea later, I had bought enough Billy bookcases to make a massive, floor-to-ceiling library for the living room, but I was surprised to discover that they don’t make any kind of boxes or baskets that fit inside the Billy series.

The solution was standing in front of me: I had over 50 cardboard boxes from the move that I could either throw away or recycle into custom-made storage baskets for my library! This craft is cheap, easy, and gives stunning results that look very expensive – what more can you ask for?

Finished Box

You’ll need:

  • Cardboard boxes.
  • A sturdy fabric (canvas or similar). I got the beige Lenda fabric from Ikea, which is cheap, has a great rustic texture and a lovely colour.
  • Wide leather straps. Or you can do as I did and buy a cheap faux-leather belt and cut it up.
  • Fabric glue or a glue gun.
  • Rivets.

Instructions:

1. Get the cardboard box and cut the top flaps. Mine was too big, so I cut it all open and glued it back together in the right size.

Cardboard Box

2. Measure the box and cut two pieces of fabric in the shape you see in the picture below, one for the outside of the box and another slightly smaller for the inside.

Cut Fabric

Tip: Remember to add flaps of 1,5 cm approx. to each side and at least 4 cm on top so that you can get a nice finish without frayed edges.

3. Start by glueing the fabric on the inside of the box. Begin with the bottom, then two opposite sides, then the other two, and finally the top edge. Since the edge is going to be covered with the outside fabric, it doesn’t matter if it’s not pretty.

Inside Fabric

4. For the outside fabric, start by glueing the bottom, then the lateral sides. Then iron the flaps on the front and backsides of the box so that they keep the proper shape and glue them carefully in place.

Outside Fabric

5. Lastly, fold the top edges so you get a nice straight finish, iron them, and glue them on the inside of the box. The fabric-covering part is finished!

Fabric Covered Box

6. Now it’s time to add the handles. Since thick faux-leather ribbon is expensive and difficult to find, I bought a very cheap belt and I cut it in the size I wanted, and the result is perfect!

Handles Cut From Belt
Before and after poking the holes on the extremes

7. Poke a hole on both extremes of the handle and another couple of holes in the box (remember to make them closer together than the holes in the handle so it curves a bit and your hand fits between the box and the handle!) Add a couple of rivets to hold the handle in place, and you’re done!

Installing the handles

And here are the baskets once installed in the bookcases. They are ideal to hide ugly and messy stuff at hand, easy to slide out to see the contents, surprisingly sturdy, and (at least from the outside) they look professionally made!

Boxes in Bookcase

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