National Organizational Month: Shabby to Chic Storage!

I don’t know about you, but the space in my house that I’ve been allotted for my sewing room is pretty tight. In fact, I share my sewing room with our guest bedroom. Fortunately, we don’t often have guests over who stay the night. However, I just found out that we are expecting some out of town guests next month, and it became glaringly obvious that I needed to do something about storage for my in-progress projects.

I really liked Katrina’s idea from last week of using cute boxes to store her fabrics, but my house is decorated in such a way, that I wasn’t able to find boxes off the shelf that I felt fit my home’s style and looked intentional, rather than an afterthought. I needed storage that was customizable, and that featured ultra-chic designs. In the contest we ran a while ago asking people for their organizational tips, one customer said that she uses shoe boxes wrapped in craft paper to store her WIPs. Genius! I have plenty of shoes, and shoe boxes for that matter, and craft paper is easy to find in so many great and beautiful patterns. My mission was to find a pretty way to store my in-progress projects in this Murphy-bed’s shelves.

After about an hour of wrapping, my boxes looked beautiful, and fit the space wonderfully.

If you too want to make beautiful, custom boxes for your sewing space that will only cost you about $12-15, check out my tutorial below.

Step 1: Gather your supplies
For this project, I used three regular-sized shoe boxes and one tall boot box.
In addition, you will need:
Adhesive spray
Measuring tape
Glue stick (optional)
Craft paper, or high-quality wrapping paper

Step 2: Measure and cut.
Once you have your supplies together, take your first box and remove the lid. Measure the sides of your box, and add about an inch and a half so that you have enough overhang to tuck the fabric on the inside of the box.

Once you have your measurement, in this case, 5-1/2″, place your box on your paper and measure 5-1/2″ away from every edge.

Once your box is sitting nicely on its paper with its edges measured around it, I recommend marking the box edges on the paper so that you can easily line it back up. Next, spray a light layer of adhesive on the bottom of the box, and place it back up on your paper using your marks as your guide.

Step 3: Mark and cut your corners.
With your box securely settled on your paper, use a square edge (can be a corner of paper, or even the edge of your box lid) to mark where you’re going to cut your corners. The key here is to make sure that you have a straight line coming off from each corner of your box. In total, you’ll make eight lines.

Once your lines are drawn, cut as accurately as you can. If you cut too far inside of the lines, your box may not be completely covered.

Step 4: Spray and stick!
Once all of your edges are cut, lay down a drop cloth of some sort and spray your paper with your adhesive. You want to make sure that your spray is even and not too heavy. If you spray too much adhesive on the paper, it may tint the color or crumple the paper. Once sprayed, simply fold your paper up and over the edge, making sure to press firmly on the top.

If you have any overage on your side edges, don’t worry. Simply grab a glue stick and seal them down. It’s better to have too much paper than not enough.

Once you’ve finished all of your sides, repeat the same steps with your lid. After I had finished my boxes, I used some thicker craft paper for labels. While I didn’t think about it at the time, if I could go back, I would purchase paper with a gloss coating on it so that I could use a dry-erase pen and easily remove the project name when I’m ready.

Once you’ve got your boxes wrapped and your labels in place, voila! You have beautiful, custom storage for a fraction of the cost.

As an added bonus, once you’ve got your boxes wrapped, you likely have some cardboard tubes left over that your paper was wrapped around. If you have a longer box (boot box), cut your tubes down so they fit nicely inside, and wrap miscellaneous yardage around them. This is such a fast and easy storage solution, and it keeps your longer cuts of yardage from wrinkling.


  1. B J Elder - January 16, 2013

    Great project. From a post on Pinterest I saw you could also paint labels with chalboard paint and then you can write on them what project is in that box.

  2. Susan - January 16, 2013

    Don’t forget the “old” rubber cement if you just CANNOT spray!

  3. connie b - January 16, 2013

    what a wonderful idea, that is much nicer than a stack of plastic containers

  4. quiltnut - January 16, 2013

    wonderful…I have done this too!

  5. pamela lockett - January 16, 2013

    Thank you for such a great idea. I can’t wait to complete my boxes.

  6. Alisha - January 16, 2013

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments!
    Great feedback, Susan and B J! You absolutely could use rubber cement instead of spray adhesive. Looking back, that might have been easier. 🙂 I also LOVE chalkboard paint labels, they are so great.

  7. ruth - January 16, 2013

    What a great idea! So why did I toss all my shoe boxes away? Maybe I need to buy more shoes.

  8. Cheri s - January 16, 2013

    Wow!!!! My Aunt did this type of project years ago
    To cover boxes for her craft projects and I now have
    those boxes and will do more for my crafts
    Thanks for the memories

  9. Cotton Peony - January 16, 2013

    Hubby is a fanatic of box collecting. To bad I cut just about all of them into squares to recyle.. but I do have 1 or 2 tucked away just for this project. Perfect and thanks. I do think the double sided tape on the paper ends is a requirement for this.

  10. Laura Rondilone - January 16, 2013

    I’m thinking I might try this with fabric that just seems to keep getting passed up! Could even laminate one side in order to have a way to write on/wipe off.

  11. Cindy Radtke - January 16, 2013

    I like to make a ‘pocket’ on the end using clear vinyl. Just use clear tape to secure the bottom and two sides after you’ve cut the size you want. Presto you have a pocket to slip a piece of card stock into with the contents in plain view. Project finished, change the card label and you’re ready for the next bundle of supplies.

  12. Judy - January 16, 2013

    What adhesive spray do you use? I love this
    Idea! I have plenty shoe boxes. I have all shelves in
    my sewing room closet. These will look pretty and
    help me arrange my sewing, silk ribbon embroidery,
    felting, etc. I think I had better get some chalk
    board paint so I can tell what is in all of the boxes!!
    Thanks so much for the idea!

  13. Conni B. - January 17, 2013

    Great idea i have done something very similar. When i have gathered everything for a project, i put it all into an shoe box and then take a photo copy of some of the material and use it on the front of the box to show whats inside. Sort of like wrapping paper

  14. Barb B. - January 17, 2013

    I love this idea. Often thought and have collected old contact paper. I really haven’t done anything with it though. Will do it now. Thanks.

  15. Ramona - January 17, 2013

    I have done this using contact paper with a cute design. You don’t need spray adhesive or rubber cement

  16. ednao - January 18, 2013

    I have some boxes that I’ve used for 15-20 years, covered with wallpaper leftovers. Sometimes clerks in shoe stores will have extra boxes they will give you, and boot boxes are great. I have also covered boxes with fabric matching my decor. Thanks for your ideas.

  17. Betty - January 24, 2013

    Avery makes some labels that are chalkboard and dry erase so you can stick to boxes and label. I found them at Staples. I think they are from the Martha Stewart line of office supplies.