Recycled Fabric Box Tutorial

A long, long time ago I posted some pictures of cute fabric boxes. I've been wanting to make some ever since and I have no idea why I never got around to it until now. I had some upholstery samples lying around and I decided to use eco-felt (made from 100% recycled plastic bottles) for the lining, so they're not only cute but earth friendly as well! The thickness of the two combined makes the box nice and sturdy, no ironing or interfacing needed. My first attempt was an utter failure, but the second box is lovely and I am using it to keep some new fabric-covered embroidery thread bobbins I made, via The Small Object. 

They're just recycled cardboard with fabric glued on, then you sandwich them together. They're a little tough at first, but using YES Glue instead of fabric glue makes it much easier. Click on this link to go straight to the how-to. I think I will be making many, many more of these in the future. 

Anywho, I whipped up a little tutorial on how to make the boxes since it's a teensy bit trickier than it looks, and I think my way might be the easiest after some trial and error. Here it goes:

How to Make a Recycled Fabric Box

1. Since I used samples, the pieces still had paper glued to part of them, which needed to be cut off. Pin the remaining rectangle to a suitable size piece of felt and use pinking shears to trim the edges evenly. My rectangle came out to about 7x10 inches.

2. Mark a 1 1/2 inch square on each corner and cut them out. (If you want a box with more shallow sides, make the squares 1 inch. If you want it to be deeper, make them 2 inches.)

3. On your sewing machine, line the edge of the fabric up with the edge of your presser foot to get a small hem and stitch the top, bottom, and sides of the cross, but don't stitch into the corners you cut out. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of every section. (I found it was easiest to just leave the thread attached and sew it quickly, then I cut all the threads when it was all done. See picture. Quick and dirty, and effective.)

4. Fold the corners up and pin them together, and it will begin to resemble a box. At this point you can either have the felt or the fabric on the outside of the box. With this thicker fabric I like it on the outside.

5. Stitch up the corners on your sewing machine, and be sure to stitch all the way over the ends for a nice finish.

6. If you're like me, spend 5 full minutes picking fuzzy bits off the pinked edges and, voila! Your sweet little fabric box is finito!

One little interesting thing now that I've made a few of these is that I'm left with an increasing stack of little felt and fabric squares. I wonder what I could use these for, I rather like them!

If you have found this or any of my other free patterns useful and would like to help me keep creating them I accept PayPal donations!


  1. Anonymous12:53 PM

    these would be nice in heavy upols. linen or hemp as well...earthy and kinda ZEN...M :)

  2. Anonymous1:25 AM

    Great use with the corner squares. I'm always grabbing scraps of cardboard for wrapping up floss. I like your idea SO much better. Beautiful.

  3. Anonymous5:56 PM

    This is the first time I comment on your site, but I've been reading it for about a few months. I admire the passion with which you write the articles and dream that someday I can do the same. Love

  4. Anonymous9:56 AM

    you could make little needle books out of your corner scraps

  5. I made a couple of these and gave you a shout-out in my blog - http://tinyurl.com/7byz5vt

    Thanks...One will go to my daughter for her birthday in June.