Introduction: Flatpack Bin or Laundry Basket

Hello there,

I'm Amelie Van Houdenhove en I'm studying Industrial Product Design (IPO), in Howest Kortrijk.

I have to make a task about flat packaging, starting from a existing product. After many sketches and drawings of products and selecting of ideas, I choose to make a flatpack garbage bin or laundry basket. Because you can go every direction in the design. I wanted to keep the idea of changing the volume of the bin, which made it even a bigger challenge. Why an adjustable bin or laundry basket? Because every room needs another bin, example: in the kitchen you need a larger bin than in the bedroom, if your going camping you have a bin that's easy to fold and in use. By using nice colors it's also nice to see. And by adding a bottom you can also use it as a box to store objects inside it.

In my dorm I have two bins, one I use as a laundry basket and the other one as a garbage bin. I find it easy that it's adjustable, so now my bin is smaller than my laundry basket.

It's not so difficult to make, but you need quite some time (2 days) to prepare and make this flat pack bin. Have fun making it!

Step 1: Required Materials

First, collect all the materials before you start making it.

- Fabric (Solid colour, to make contrast with the other fabric), 2 x 2 m

- Fabric with pattern, 3.5 x 2 m

- Cardboard 600 x 800 mm, with a thickness 1 mm (x1), 2 mm (x6) en 3 mm (x1)

- Foamy plate of 5 mm thick

- Wooden sticks, diameter 8 mm, 6 times 170 mm long

- Yellow ribbon 2 times 3 m long and 14 mm wide

- Eyelets with washers

- Pencil

- Knife, for cutting the cardboard

- Scissors, for cutting the fabrics

- Rules

- Superglue

- Sewing machine

Step 2: Cutting the Cardboard

I'm making a bin of 4 layers, so the heigth is 73 cm.

Each layer is different, that makes it possible that they can fit in each other. The layers become smaller to the bottom. Each layer exist out 4 pieces and is 2 mm thick. Tip: write the letters A, B, C and D on the layers, so you can find them easy.

Layer A: 402 x 220 mm

Layer B: 394,5 x 220 mm

Layer C: 387 x 220 mm

Layer D: 379,5 x 220 mm

For the top you need 3 mm cardboard and 5 mm of the foamy plate :

Cardboard, 3 mm: 490 x 490 mm

Foamy plate, 5 mm: 380 x 380 mm

Step 3: Little Cuts in the Cardboard

We need to make cuts/slices in the cardboard for the loops. I don't have many pictures of this so I will explain it how you have do this. I work with 4 layers so I use 6 slices (= 12 total) for the loops and 6 slices (= 12)without loops. If you work with less layers I suggest you make on every side of the bin a place for the loops and a place without loops.

First you mark it on the cardboard, all the dimensions can be found on the pictures of the sketch. Cut them out and make the edges of the slices (without the loops) 45°. Tip: Use another cardboard under the place you cut, because you can cut in the table you work on.

Step 4: Cutting the Fabrics and Sewing

- Cut the fabric with the pattern: 250 x 1800 mm, 4 times for round the layers.

Sew the Fabric with the pattern so that it can fit round the cardboard layers. Sew the side so that it becomes a cylinder if you turn it inside out. And sew only one end, so the layer can by put inside.

- Cut the fabric with the pattern: 30 x 75 mm, these are ribbons for the holes at the sides.

- Cut the fabric without the pattern: 75 x 1800 mm, for little loops.

For this fabric it is more like a ribbon (30 mm wide) that you will make. First you simply sew it together with the extra space, than you turn it inside out. Cut 16 pieces with a length of 100 mm. Sew the ends closed.

For the top.

- Cut the fabric with the pattern at 40 x 250 mm, for the loop at the top for lifting the lit of the bin.

- Cut 2 pieces of the fabric without pattern at 490 x 490 mm and 420 x 420 mm.

Step 5: Making the Layers

Take one of the four fabrics with pattern and the four cardboards of one layer, example of layer A. Put one cardboard in the fabric and go to the sewing machine. You sew next to the cardboard so that each cardboard is solid in the fabric. You repeat that for each layer. On the end you will have a 100 mm over, later with the eyelets we will make it definitive closed. If you make four layer, like me, you should beware of the little cuts in the cardboards. If the cardboard have only (!) 2 cuts for making a loop solid, that's the upside. If you make more or less layers or decided to make on every side of the bin a cut for the loop and a cut to put the loop trough.

Step 6: Make the Slices in the Cardboard for the Little Loops (first One)

We are know going to make 2 diferent of cuts. The first one is to put the loops trough when the bin is finished.

Look to the pictures and follow the steps (to the notes I wrote)

Tip: make the slice big enough like on the sketch of step 2. Because it isn't easy in use when it is to small to put the loops trough when the bin is finished.

Step 7: Make the Slices in the Cardboard for the Little Loops (second One)

You need the yellow ribbons that we make in step 4 and a few wooden sticks.

Follow the steps that I wrote on the pictures.

Tip: make the loop bigger than mine, because it was to small it wasn't easy to put the sticks trough the loops with an other layer in between!

Step 8: Making the Top

We need the cardboard, foam and fabric for the top that we cut before.

- The foam: Cut a little bit with scissors the corners of the fabrics. And take the glue to attach first the corners and than the sides

- Cardboard: Make the opening for the loop (30 x 4 mm) and remove some of the cardboard for the fabric of your ribbon. Put the Fabric also on the cardboard and when its dry turn it upside down. Make a slice where the opening is. Put the self-made ribbon in and attach it with glue and tape on the place where you removed some cardboard

- Now put some glue on the cardboard and put the foam on it. Put something heavy on it so its really good attached on each other.

Step 9: Putting in the Eyelets

You can use an other eyelets sort then I did. Try it first on a little test piece that's equally thick and have the same fabric on it, so you can see if it will work on your work. Mark with a white pencil the place where the you would put the eyelets. You can choose self the measurements, but just make sure that the eyelets are 20 mm from the edges.

Step 10: Cut the Edge of the Layer

Make sure that you use protection on your layer before you cut the rest piece. And you have to be far enough (10 mm) from the eyelets.

Step 11: Close It With the Ribbon

You can choose how you will make the edges from the edges together with the ribbon. I did this so because it have a nice result outside for the eye.

Step 12: How the Make It Larger and Smaller?

Put the layers in each other (pic 2), but than so that the loops are on the same edge as the opening where you have to put them trough. In mine case I have made the loops and the opening to small, so it was a little bit of problem if you wanted to be fast at making it larger and smaller... So don't make the same mistake as I did ;-)

Step 13: End Result :-) and Ways to Fold It