Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Crafting » Crafting: No-Sew » Craft Room, Part 1 (covered cardboard storage boxes)

Craft Room, Part 1 (covered cardboard storage boxes)



I have a lot of stuff.

Well, craft room stuff.
And it keeps growing and growing.
So the time came to organize.
And of course have a little fun with it.
So…….I made these storage boxes completely out of old cardboard boxes covered with a little fabric on the front.
**And ended up being surprisingly thick and sturdy.**
And each box pulls out separately with it’s own little handle opening…
(And once again, I’m using fabric by Laura Gunn……and loving it!)
They are perfect for stashing all sorts of supplies, tools, and odds and ends.
And they sit nicely above my work space.
Interested in those cubbies?
There was a retail store that had gone out of business at the mall and all of those little cubbies were slots for shirts or something in the store.  I snagged one of them up for almost nothing and they were giving away those pieces of sturdy laminate that we glued to the top of the cubbies with epoxy glue.  Worked like a charm and gives me 48 x 32 inches of sturdy cutting and crafting space.  So be sure to check out the shops going out of business.  They might just have the perfect table or desk for your craft room.
A tip?
Those shelves holding the storage boxes are scrap pieces of wood that I found in the bargain bin at Home Depot.  Remember when I first discovered that tip about the hardware store?  Each of those pieces of wood are about 45 x 11 x 1.5 inches, and cost me $2 each.  Perfect for some shelving.
Another tip?
That roll of paper hanging below the shelves is a roll of kid’s art paper (for the art easel) from Ikea.  Only a few dollars I think.  But I am always sketching an idea or tracing clothing to duplicate it and use as a pattern…..and now it’s right at my fingertips.  Love that stuff.
**I have seen others use cardboard to create their own boxes and such… I had to try my hand at some.  And am glad that I did.
Would you like to create some storage boxes yourself?
First, gather some old cardboard boxes. 
(Try to collect some sturdier boxes so that you don’t have to glue many layers together to make your storage boxes sturdier.)
Decide how many boxes you want and cut enough for all of the sides of your boxes.  I am giving directions for boxes that are 10 inches tall by 10 inches wide and 11 inches deep.  These are perfect for my shelves…..but adjust for your own shelves.
Here are the pieces for one box.
The bottom piece is 10 x 9 inches, the two side pieces are 11 x 10 inches, and the front and back pieces are 10 x 9 inches…..with a 1.5 x 3 inch opening on the front piece.  Each piece is 1/2 inch thick and are two pieces of cardboard thick……for added strength.
To assemble, I glued (with the hottest setting on my glue gun) the bottom piece to the inside bottoms of the front and back piece.
See from the bottom how the bottom piece is glued to the inside of the front and back piece?
Then glue that section to the inside of the side pieces…….so the side pieces cover everything and all of the raw edges.  You will be surprised at how study this new little box is.
Next, I spray painted the sides and upper edges white.  You can leave your boxes brown or alter them with spray paint if you’d like.  You can also spray paint the inside/back/bottom but I didn’t bother…..because they aren’t really seen.
Then I applied a moderate layer or Mod Podge to the front section of the box…
And then placed a slightly bigger piece of fabric over top…and smoothed it all out.
Then I made slits in the fabric, where the opening is on the front of the box.
Then I folded those pieces over while applying more Mod Podge.
After the Mod Podge underneath was dry, I trimmed off the edges…..
…….and then applied another layer (pretty thick) of Mod Podge over the top…..making sure to Mod Podge all of the raw edges of fabric and pressing them firmly against the box.


Allow to dry completely……
And that’s it.
Your boxes are ready to be filled…..
…and the clutter organized.


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  2. heather says:

    Wow!!! that is awesome….i brought alot of boxes home at Christmas time in case and they have been sitting in my garage waiting to be thrown in the trash…I’m in the middle of a desk area makeover so I am so thankful I saw this before I threw those boxes out!!! Genius idea;) Thanks!

  3. Sara says:

    Love these. Do you have any tips on ways to make them usable for bathroom storage? I was thinking “designer duct tape” to seal the edges/seams and covering with contact paper. .

  4. KATE says:

    Very fun idea. Do you know what brand the poppy fabric was? Thanks!

  5. celesta hicks says:

    Wonderful idea!! I had been thinking of making my own storage boxes and now I have no reason to put it off!
    Thank you and you are a blessing!

  6. Mariana Herrmann says:

    Hi Ashley,
    Very nice idea. I have a blog in Brazil and I shared it there –
    Rgds, Mariana.

  7. CARNASHUN says:


  8. Ann says:

    I just stumbled across it and love the covered boxes! I almost didn’t make them because they were so perfect looking I figured mine would be a bust but I looked at your pictures with your directions and loved that you actually showed each step how it will look in process with NOT perfect lines and WITHOUT perfectly glistening modge podge but still looking awesome at the end.

  9. Gail says:

    Thanks SO much for the terrific tutorial for the fabric covered storage boxes !!! I’ve got a really nice room upstairs to do my sewing and crafts, but in the 3 years since we finished building & moved in I have not done a single thing to make it useable. Your project has made me realize i don’t have to spend a fortune to make it happen. I can’t wait to get started.

  10. magnoliasouth says:

    Hi there. This is my first visit and what a great way to store things! I do have a question though. Where is Part 2?

    1. Ashley says:

      This was a series for home decor ideas for the Craft room. Here are the remaining posts to complete the series. Have fun!

  11. Ruth @ Purely Splendid says:

    Oh so pretty! I love the fact that you thought “outside of the box”-LOL and created your own boxes that fit your needs. Off to find some cardboard!

  12. Terri says:

    great idea. was about to spend a fortune on plastic storage containers.. but now i will go to the back of the stores and ask for the FREE boxes they throw out …. and/or that they recycle. many stores will give u boxes if u ask for them .. especially if ur there early am when the stocking is being done…. i use wal-mart and target a lot.. so thats where ill get my premade boxes.. and then ill go to the local habitat for humanity thrift / second hand store and buy my materials really cheap … cost effective is MY requirements for any project.. and this one is going to be perfect all the way around.. thank You so very much for sharing this terrific ‘cost effective” idea with me and others… this is really going to make my day ! Indeed !

  13. Elizabeth says:

    just got this today on my site that I subscribe to and sweetie, these are great… sooo going to try this!!!
    very impressed with your ideas and sooo wish I had thought of this myself… we get boxes from where my husband used to work and I still have bunches lying around sooo I going to give THIS a try… thinking I could really just about redo every room in our apt. Thank you sooo much for sharing… and God bless Sweetie.

  14. Alana says:

    I was thinking that the boxes grocery stores get fruit in would be great for this, as they are very sturdy cardboard – as anyone who has ever had to squash them knows only too well LOL.

  15. Leila says:

    *gasp* i love this!!!!!!!! i have so many large cardboard boxes that I’ve saved for that certain special project and this may be the one. I totally need more storage :) thanks for posting this!

  16. MJ says:

    I love the way you did this!! Have saved up the K-cup boxes as we buy them in 80 counts. They are a great size!! Fat Quarters should work great for this! Can’t wait to try as I am in the process of setting up a new hobby room in my house. Thanks!

  17. Leonore says:

    I’ve been following you for a while by now, and I think you’re great! You are sooo creative and I read every post with a lot of interest. I’m new in crafting and really appreciate your ideas and inspirations.
    Thank you!

  18. kelly barton says:

    i love this!

  19. Curt says:

    FYI… When cutting the cardboard you should cut the 2 pieces being glued together, in different directions. In other words cross the grain of the coragations, this makes for a much stronger box. Also, the corners can be reinforced with paper mâché strips or paper packing tape, paper tape with an adhesive on one side you activate with water.

  20. Collapsible Bulk Containers says:

    wow this is really amazing creativity and its seems to be tghe best way to arrange things..

  21. Jennifer says:

    Hi Ashley,

    You don’t have any of that Laura Gunn Big Poppy fabric left do you? And if so, would you be willing to sell any of it?


  22. Kayla says:

    Oooh! I love these! I instantly loved these b.c of that gorgeous Michael Miller fabric, it’s my ALL time favorite! I’m so glad found your site, and shocked I haven’t been here before. Although, I’ve seen your projects all over, YAY for the interwebs!!!


  23. Fancy Fan says:

    Fantastic! Thankyou so much for the great idea!!

  24. Brenda says:

    GREAT tips!! thanks …. and I have a tip for you ….. screw a hack saw blade to the wall and thread your paper under it – you’ll have a serrated edge to tear your paper with straight edges — so quick and easy ….

  25. Jess says:

    This is great! I featured it on my blog: It posts tomorrow July 16th :D

  26. Amira Qassim says:

    Hi Ashly,
    i have spent many hours surfing your site and it wasn’t enough .. :)
    i loved the idea but there is something i couldn’t get it .. why did you apply another layer of Mod Podge over the top of the fabric ?

  27. ilana sinklier says:

    Great Idea!! I’m trying this right now. I’m using bulk paper boxes and cut my own handles. I am even able to personalize for my son and daughter! Thanks so much for the tutorial and great inspiration!

  28. Sandy says:

    Love this! I recently organized our closets using old Amazon, Costco, and shoe boxes. They do the trick and everything is organized, but it is not at all pretty. I also have a few slots open that I can’t find the right size/shape box for. I didn’t want to go out and spend a fortune on baskets, totes and boxes so I am thrilled at an easy way to pretty up the boxes I have AND make boxes for the odd-shaped spaces. Thank you so much!

  29. Liz says:

    Such a neat idea! I stumbled across this on Pinterest – it was EXACTLY something I was looking for, even though I was performing a search on “box pleats” (totally different reason)! Thank you for sharing this!

  30. SHAWN says:

    Great Idea! i have several old and extra banker boxes and I am so doing this with the extra fabric that matches my scrapbook room. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Tiffany says:

    I’m so excited! I have looked for DIY boxes and none of them seemed ‘right’ for the shelves my hubby made. I found this link on pinterest highlighting the paper on a string lol. I am so happy you included the boxes! Thank you!

  32. Esther says:

    I love this idea!!! I don’t have any fabric but I have lots of scrapbooking paper, and I think that would work too.

  33. Maimie says:

    Wow – I just discovered your blog. Amazing. I love the storage boxes – I am converting a spare bedroom to a sewing, quilting, craft room and these will be perfect! Thank you so much for the tutorials. I wish I was as creative as you.

  34. JIm says:

    wow u inspire me….u reely do!!! :DDDDD

  35. elane caruso says:

    Que graça o seu trabalho. Adorei a delicadesa e bom gosto.
    Parabéns, vou copiar a ideia.

  36. Hi says:

    I like this idea a lot. Especially since I am the organized type of person. I make and sell cards so I need organizers. I think I will try to make a couple of these boxes.
    By the way, you make wonderful things and I really want to try to make the T strap flip flops. Love them!

  37. sierra says:

    LOVE IT !

  38. Brittney says:

    um, wow. I LOVE this!!! I am sooooo going to do this in my upcoming living room redo!!! I will totally link to you and let you know when I do the reveal!!! This is amazing! No buying $10-$15 fabric or wicker bins for me!

  39. Erika Price says:

    What a brilliant idea! So much nicer than those plastic boxes I've been using, and a lot cheaper too!

  40. Leah says:

    I love your boxes, great way to reuse some cardboard! And hanging the paper roll under your shelves is such a great idea, I might have to try that in my space.

  41. Kiera says:

    This is a great idea. I've been wanting to try a tutorial I saw on another blog where she covered diaper boxes with canvas and then made basket liners for them. They came out very nice but I'm sure they weren't that cheap. If I cut up my diaper boxes and turn them around I won't have to buy the canvas and can just make the basket liners. Thanks for the GREAT idea!!

  42. Emily Anne Knight Williamson says:

    I did something similar to these a while back… but I used cute contact paper to cover the boxes. It was self adhesive, cute, and had a glossy finish. ( =

  43. Casey says:

    This is such a neat idea. I love that they are (recycled) organizing storage that you can put your creative touch on but they also look uniform and not just thrown together.

  44. The Payne Family says:

    I LOVE your blog and love this idea. I was thinking of making them for kid toys. Will they hold up to kids using them?

    amymetcalf01 at yahoo dot com

  45. Brianna Walling says:

    LOVE LOVE this idea. Just posted a link to it from my blog. Keep up the great work!

  46. MariaT says:

    awesome, thanks for sharing :)

  47. joshua_lacombe says:

    So last night as I was going throught my daughters toy room I thought to myself how I needed to make some boxes to fit in her cubbie system that my father made for the girls. BINGO! Here is a step by step on how to make tose boxes! Love it… Love your site! Off to make 9 of those in a larger size! THANK YOU!

  48. Leah Sannar says:

    Okay, LOVING your blog! I am moving to a new house in November where I will FINALLY have a craft room!!! Can't wait to take the boxes and organize my crafts!! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  49. CourtneyVeronica says:

    Followed your directions and made 6 of these boxes last night. Cutting the cardboard was quite the lengthy process. If I did it again I would try to find already assembled boxes in the size that I needed.

    I bought extra fabric and ended up covering them on 3 sides. I love them!

  50. Ashley says:

    Demi – Sorry that your didn't quite turn out. I cut mine out with an exacto knife and then used the first one as a pattern to trace out the same thing onto cardboard, using a pen. Then I cut out all the others that I needed and followed the tutorial as explained above. Maybe being more precise with the cutting and/or getting more replacement blades for your knife so that the edges are straight and precise.

    Good luck!

  51. Demi says:

    Hi Ashley!! How did you get you boxes exactly the same sizes? And with what tool did you cut the boxes?

    Mine came out as a total mess!

  52. Sammi says:

    I really love these!!!

  53. Kath says:

    This is a great design! We have loads of cardboard from my husband's business, and I'm always looking for things to make from it. This is brilliant! I've already made two and am measuring up some shelving to make some more custom-sized storage boxes. For one of the boxes I have made, I actually sewed the material directly onto the front piece of cardboard before gluing it all down, and it looks pretty good. (Just the outer piece of card, before I glued it to the support piece.) Many thanks for this great idea!!!

  54. Chicycled says:

    LOVE! I just moved to boston so I have a bunch of boxes that are sitting because I didn't want to throw them away…this is a great idea

  55. Zhanna says:

    i already had the idea to make my own storage boxes like this but havent gotten around to making them yet… urs are very cute but here's a tip for those of u who have kiddos and buy diapers by the boxfull! i saved up all my son's size 6 pampers poxes and i have quite a few to make a uniform look after i paint or wrap in fabric! this way u dont have to put together the box- u can just use the diaper boxes!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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