Thursday, 30 June 2016

Cover a Box Tutorial

Hello and welcome to my blog.

 If you are visiting for the first time feel free to have a look around though I'm more often to be found now on Instagram (almost daily and sometimes several times in the day).  

Today I want to share my tutorial to cover a box for the Finish-A-Long tutorial week.

I have these cardboard boxes left over from feeding the cat!  They used to hold sachets of cat food, but I find them useful to store scraps: bonus HSTs, squares, triangles and other bits that are leftover from other projects.  But they do not look that attractive, do they?

I did cover one ages ago and fully expected to cover all of them.   They are much prettier that way I think and help to keep my sewing room tidy!

Here is how I did it...and just in case you have a different sized box I have not made it specific to my box measurements.

First measure your box:

1. Measure across the front and one side of your box.  Now add 1/2" for your seam allowance.   This is measurement A.

2. Measure from the top edge, down around the bottom and up the other side.  Now add 1/2" for your seam allowance.  This is measurement B.  (My tape measure is hooked over the top edge on the side you cannot see.)

You need to cut two rectangles of fabric measuring A" x B", one for the outer and one for the lining.  

My measurements, (which include the seam allowance) worked out as 12" X 15 1/2" so that is the size of my rectangles.

The outer cover
Fold your rectangle in half, with right sides together,  match one side A edge to the other.  Stitch both side seams of the outer cover.

Check the box fits snuggly inside the outer cover.   

If it doesn't, make adjustments to your side seams until it does.  Line up the side seams with the middle of the sides of your box.  

Smooth out the triangle flaps on both sides at the bottom of your box.  Fold the triangles up the side of the box and crease along the edge of your box. 

Remove the box and pin the triangle flap to the side of the outer cover and stitch in place.  I have turned my box upside down in this photo below to show my stitching.

In case you are wondering why I chose to do this, folding the flap up the sides of the box ensures the bottom of your box will stay smooth increasing stability.   I also think it makes a nice feature. 

Press under 1/4" seam allowance to the top edge of your outer cover.

If you wish to add handles to your box, cut two 5" lengths of braid.  Fold the braid in half and pin in place on the outer cover, centring the middle of your braid with the side seam.   Stitch in place to the top edge of your outer cover, within the seam allowance, so your machine stitching will not show when you finish your box.  

The lining

 Fold your lining rectangle in half, with right sides together,  match one side A to the other, as before.   Stitch both side seams of the lining.  

Mark the triangle flaps on your lining as before, making a crease which will box the corners of your lining.   This time stitch along the crease as shown in the photo.

  Trim the excess off.  

Turn under your 1/4" seam allowance to the top edge of your lining as you did before with the outer cover.


 Fit the box inside the outer cover and the lining inside the box, as shown in the photo.  The outer cover seam allowance on the top edge should be folded over the edge of the box to the inside and the lining should be lined up to the edge, the seam allowance folded under.  Hold both lining and outer cover in place with clips.  Tuck the raw edge of the braid handle to the inside and clip in place.

Hand stitch around the edge of the box.  It only took a few minutes!  Or alternatively you could glue in place.

And ta da !  Here is the finished covered box!  

Fill up with scraps or whatever you choose! Here are three together ...

For the orange version I used a quilted outer panel.   I made it slightly larger than my measurements to allow for a bit of shrinkage due to the quilting.  In all other respects the process was the same as above.  It is a great way to practice machine quilting on a small scale and uses up scraps of wadding.

I hope this will help you organise your sewing spaces and make it pretty with your favourite fabrics.  I am hoping to have a whole rainbow of boxes soon.   
Please share photos of your covered boxes with me using the hashtag #nickyscoveredbox as I'd love to see what you do with this idea. They might also make great presents when filled with something crafty for a friend.  

The link up of FAL finishes closes tomorrow, Thursday 7th July.  The following day, Friday 8th July, the link up for your new list for quarter three of the 2016 Finish-A-Long will open, closing on 16th July.  

Remember you can only win prizes at the end of quarter three if you first link up your list of proposed finishes.  

I think I will add a few of these boxes to my list and a whole lot more besides I'm sure!



I have now covered more boxes, with a bit of a change.  One with a contrast fabric around the top edge of the box (a), one with a pieced strip around the top edge of the box and one with a contrast fabric on the short ends of the box (b).

Variation (a) I have added a contrast fabric strip round the top edge of my box by adding 'A' length strips to my rectangle and reducing the 'B' length to compenate but adding in my seam allowance.  

For example:
My original rectangle was 12" x 15 1/2"  

I added two 2 1/2" x 12" wide contrast strips, so my main fabric was reduced to 12" x 10 1/2".  Otherwise construction was the same.

Variation (b) To add a contrast fabric to the short sides of my box I added a fabric strip by adding 'B' length strips to my rectangle, and compensating as before.

For example:
My original rectangle was 12" x 15 1/2"  

I added two 2 1/2" x 15 1/2" wide contrast strips, so my main fabric was reduced to 7 1/2" x 15 1/2".  Otherwise construction was the same.

I am already thinking of other alternatives, including fussy cut strips around the top, pockets on the outside or even in the lining, divisions inside the box and I'm sure there are more that could be added.


  1. Fabulous... This is a great tutorial and I will make a covered box, sometime soon!

  2. What a great storage idea. They will make a colourful addition to your sewing area.

  3. Such a great idea and they are pretty too!

  4. Very clever and what a fun look! Thanks for sharing, Nicky!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial! I use the boxes I get from mailed coffee, and tried covering them with wrapping paper, which...rips. Shocking! But I haven't gotten around to figuring out how to measure for fabric, so I appreciate this!

  6. These are perfect! I'm in need of one of those :) and now I have a tut on hand! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Love this tutorial - looks very straight forward now I just need to collect some boxes that are the right size for my shelves!

  8. Great idea, and my sewing space(s) need tidying desperately!! *off to find a box*

  9. Love! Now where can i get boxes?!

  10. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing, I'm thinking Christmas gifts in them :)

  11. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing, I'm thinking Christmas gifts in them :)


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