Have you ever found a nice, sturdy fabric bin in the clearance section of a store, but the color or print of the fabric made it obvious why it was marked down? Or maybe your decor has changed but you don’t want to shell out money for more of those handy fabric bins you use to store everything out of sight. I found some great fabric bins at Daiso Japan when I was preparing to organize my linen closet, but the tropical pattern on them wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. However, the size was perfect for my shelves and you can’t beat the $2 price tag. With the help of a glue gun, Steam-a-Seam, and less than 1/2 a yard of fabric, I was able to revamp these bins into something that truly stood out on my closet shelves.
Materials (contains affiliate links)
- Square or rectangular fabric bin
- Steam-a-Seam. I prefer the 1/2″ lite version because it’s easier to handle than the thinner size and doesn’t leave the hems too thick or stiff.
- Iron with steam setting
- Hot glue gun
- About 1/2 yard of fabric. Check to make sure your new fabric is opaque enough to cover the old fabric without showing through. Home decor fabric works best, but you could also use a thicker quilting fabric. I have a huge collection of apparel fabric, so I used a non-stretch bottomweight cotton for this project.
- Fabric scissors
- Seam ripper (optional)
Instructions for Covering a Fabric Bin
Measure the length of all four sides of your box, total up the numbers, then add an additional 2″ for the hem and overlap. Next, measure the height of the box, adding an additional 1″ to this measurement for top and bottom hems. Cut your fabric to these dimensions. I decided to keep the brown trim on my box exposed for contrast, so my measurements were slightly smaller than the height of the box. My fabric was 54″ wide, so I was able to cover my large bin with less than 1/2 a yard. Quilting fabric is typically 45″ wide, so if you’re using that you may need more in order to cut it lengthwise.
Lay your fabric on your ironing board and set your iron to the lowest setting that produces steam (usually marked as “blend”). Roll out the Steam-a-Seam and apply it to the long edge, keeping the paper attached to the fusible web. Using the tip of the iron, lightly run it over the strip of paper. This allows the fusible web to bond to the fabric so that when you peel up the paper, you don’t take the fusible with it. Don’t let the iron touch the paper for too long, or it will bond to the paper too tightly.
Remove the paper from the fusible web. Using a seam gauge or a ruler, fold down a 1/2″ hem. Follow up with a longer press of the iron to permanently set the fusible web in place. I like to work in 6 inch sections, pulling the paper away as I go.
When you finish hemming both long sides of the fabric, repeat the procedure on one of the shorter ends. This will be the seam that shows on the box, so make sure the corners are a crisp 90 degree angle.
If you have a handle on your box, you may want to remove it so you don’t have an unsightly bulge on the side of your bin. I used a seam ripper to remove mine easily, but you can also snip the threads with sharp scissors.
Decide where you want your fabric seam to end up on your box. My box was going to be pushed up against the wall of the closet, so I chose to place the seam along the long side that won’t be seen. Using a hot glue gun, run a bead of glue about 1/4″ above the edge of the box. In my case, I wanted to keep the brown trim, so I applied my glue a little higher than the bottom edge. Starting with the end that wasn’t hemmed previously, align your fabric with the edge of the box and gently press flat with your fingers. Try not to squeeze the hot glue out from under the fabric, or you’ll burn your fingers and have to clean up the blob of glue. Work your way around the box, gluing in small sections. You want to make it a little taut going around the corners, but don’t tug on your fabric or you’ll get drag lines!
When you’ve successfully wrapped the entire box in your new fabric, finish it up by overlapping the unhemmed end with the hemmed end of the fabric. I found it easier to glue the hem then press it into place, making sure it was straight.
Ta da! Now you have your very own custom fabric bin! I can envision making a ton of these in different colors and prints. I have some leftover fabric from making my son’s curtains that would be great for a toy bin in his room. I’m also thinking of covering some of those cube bins for our shelving unit to hide all my sewing stuff in the guest room. But for now I’m enjoying my brightly colored fabric bin in our newly organized linen closet.
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