Intro: Make a Storage Bin by Upcycling a Tissue Box
I found myself needing several small storage bins when I recently remodeled my powder room. I was building a recessed shelf unit & the stud that needed to remain right in the middle of it made the shelf unit into more of a cubby unit. I looked around online for something just the right size, and not super expensive, but then got the idea to use items I already have at home. As it turns out the little cube tissue boxes were the perfect size. I wanted them to look nice, too, though, so this instructable is how I turned them from simple cardboard boxes to custom, decorative storage bins.
Step 1: Assemble the Materials
The materials & such I used are:
- empty cube-shaped tissue box
- white glue
- jar with lid
- material [1/4 yd of 45" wide fabric took care of 2 boxes]
Also used, but not shown in picture:
- semi-gloss paint
- scotch tape
- paintbrush for the glue
- braid edging
- hot glue
Step 2: Fold in & Tape the Top Sections
Remove the plastic inside the opening, if there is any. Then cut the corners, fold the flaps in & tape them in place. You could also just cut the top off, but folding in the extra layer helps to reinforce the opening and make the bin sturdier.
Step 3: Paint the Inside
I used some of the semi-gloss white paint I had for the trim in the room to coat the inside of the boxes. Two coats. This helped protect the cardboard from whatever might be stored in the container, brightened it up so it's easier to find what's inside, and also added strength to the box.
Step 4: Get the Decoupage Glue Ready
Put equal parts water and white glue in a jar and mix well.
Step 5: Cut Fabric Piece
The tissue boxes are each about 5" tall. From the full width of my fabric I cut a strip about 9" wide and that gave me an extra 2" to wrap over at the top and the bottom. Also, the fabric was 44/45" wide, so I just cut it at the fold and that gave me two pieces with length to spare.
Step 6: Wrap the Box With the Fabric
Working on one side at a time, use your cheap paintbrush to put on the watered-down glue and adhere the fabric, being sure to center the box in the 9" width of the fabric. I started in the middle of one side, but you could start at an edge. Work your way around to the last side, and as you cover each side, use your fingers to smooth the fabric and really get the glue into the fabric.
Step 7: Cut, Hem and Glue End in Place
When you have one side to go, cut the length of fabric so that after folding over a bit at the end it will overlap the starting edge. Use the glue to "hem" the edge and then adhere that last bit of fabric to the box. Make sure to press firmly on that folded end, and use a little extra glue to attach it.
Step 8: Glue Bottom Edges of Fabric Down
Folding it like you're wrapping a present, glue the fabric down to the bottom of the box. There can be a bit of build-up of fabric thickness, so be sure to use any needed additional glue, and pressing it down carefully with your fingers.
Step 9: Glue Top Edges Into Box
Now glue the top edges into the inside of the box. Because the circumference of the inside of the box is smaller than the outside there will be a little extra fabric. You could cut the corners & glue the overlapping edges, but it's not a lot of overlap so just try to smooth the excess to the corners and use extra glue to keep it in place. There will be threads coming off the raw edges, you can try to trim them now or just wait for the glue to dry.
Step 10: Add a Second Coat of Glue, Add Bottom Cover
After the first coat of glue is dry to the touch, which can take several hours, paint on a second coat. Smooth as you go, and pay extra attention to where the folds and seams are. You'll want to add an additional layer to the bottom, now's a good time. The folds and seams on the bottom are at risk for pulling apart during use, so I wanted to cover the bottom with something. I considered card stock but I knew that it wouldn't necessarily follow the ups & downs of the fabric to really seal it well, so I instead went for two layers of tissue paper. I cut two squares a little smaller than the size of the bottom of the box, crumpled them up first (I always do that when I decoupage with tissue paper, then if it gets a little wrinkled in the gluing that's OK) and glued them on. They really did a nice job of sealing up the bottom.
Step 11: Cover Raw Edges Inside Box
The raw edges inside the box need to be covered up. The glue doesn't stick well enough were the fabric laps over the semi-gloss paint, and some of the edges are a little uneven. You could use most anything- folded over & glued extra fabric, hem tape, ribbon, etc. I chose a dark brown braid and hot-glued it along the edge.
Step 12: Ready to Use!
Since I will have several of these, I wanted to label them. I might get label holders to glue on later, but for now I printed some onto label sheets and cut them out. Make sure the decoupage glue is really completely dry (again, takes several hours) before you try to attach any stickers. You could add more layers of glue, but two layers does a pretty good job of stiffening the cardboard and making it a sturdy bin.
Custom sturdy bins, extremely low cost, and fewer cardboard boxes going into the landfill. Most of the supplies I had on hand, but I spent about a dollar per bin on the fabric and trim. Since they only use a small amount of fabric, one might even be able to find something around the house and not spend anything at all.
Now, put them on your shelf and enjoy!