Upcycle a Cardboard Box Into a Home Storage Savior

6 Materials
1 Hour

I love keeping my things neat and orderly and nothing helps more than storage boxes! Rather than going out to the store to buy them, I decided to make my own from cardboard boxes. I love that I can choose the fabric color and design to suit my aesthetic. These awesome boxes aren’t only functional, they’re decorative as well! If you are looking to get a little more organized around the house this is the upcycle for you! Follow my easy, step-by-step tutorial and learn how to make these amazing boxes for all your storage needs!

Tools and Materials:

  • Cardboard box
  • Masking tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Fabric
  • Glue
  • Rope
How to upcycle cardboard boxes
Fold in the tabs

I started off by making sure my storage box would be strong and secure by folding all the tabs inside the box. I used strong masking tape to make sure the tabs were safely stuck in place.

Mark handles
Mark handles

Next, I made markings which I would use as a guide to cut holes in the side of the box for handles. I marked 1.5 inches from the top of the box, 2 inches from the side, and 3 inches from the top which would be the bottom of the handle. Having handles on a storage box adds so much to its functionality! 

Cut out handles

Using my Exacto knife, I cut handles into the box. If you don’t have an Exacto knife, scissors will work just as well! I love how after this small, simple step the box really starts to look like a storage box. 

Upcycle cardboard boxes for storage

Once my handles were cut out, I stuck masking tape around their raw edges to add some additional strength and to smooth the edges. 

Measure the fabric
Cover in fabric

Now it’s time for the fun part! If you have any extra fabric sitting around at home, this is the perfect time to use it! You don’t need a lot of fabric, I used about ⅝ of a yard and started by simply checking that I had enough to wrap around the whole box. A great tip when using fabric with a pattern is to make sure the fabric lines up with the box. 

Glue on fabric

I cut my fabric to size and then got out my hot glue gun. I started sticking the fabric onto the box, starting at the center. When making these amazing storage boxes I prefer to use a thicker fabric to help add to the sturdiness of the box. Usually, I use a canvas fabric but any thick fabric works! 

Pull fabric tight

I gradually made my way around the box, applying glue and sticking down the fabric tightly as I glued. It’s important to pay special attention to the corners of the box to make sure the fabric is sitting properly. 

Fold in the edge

As I came back to the point where I started, I folded the end of the fabric before I stuck it down. This will help give your new box the perfect finish! 

Cover the bottom

I was then ready to move on to the bottom of my box. I wrapped the bottom the same way I would a gift. This part isn’t going to be seen so if it isn’t neat it’s okay! The important part is that the fabric sits as flat as possible.

Cut the corners

Next, I turned the box over to work on the top. To get the fabric sitting nice and straight inside, I cut the 4 corner seams open. I then stuck my fabric pieces down inside the box, making sure to pull them tight as I stuck. 

Fold paper
Make an inner lining

A little detail that really helps turn this cardboard box into a stunning storage box is adding a lining to the inside. I used printer paper to line the inside. I folded the top edge of all my pieces to make the papers the same height as the box. The folded pieces would then line the bottom of the box. 

Cut the fabric

Once the inside was lined I moved on to cutting out the handles in my fabric. I started by cutting a straight line at the edge of the handle. I then made a diagonal cut from the corner on both sides. This made it easier to cut out the rest of the fabric.

Add detail
Add detail to the box

To add a little extra something to the box and give it a decorative finish I took some corded leather and wrapped it around the handles. Rope or twine will work just as well to add that extra flair to the storage box. I wrapped it around very tightly and couldn't wait to see how much it added to the style of the box.

Cardboard box upcycle

I am so obsessed with this easy to make storage box! What would you store in this amazing upcycled box? Let me know in the comments below! 

Resources for this project:

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Amy Patterson Buchert Amy Patterson Buchert on Oct 14, 2020

    Love it! Have you tried to do the paper first then glue the fabric down so the paper won’t get caught when adding items? I’m thinking the inside edges might look nice with the fabric showing versus paper.

  • Nitskeet Nitskeet on Oct 14, 2020

    Shouldn’t you coat the cardboard with something so it doesn’t attract roaches and other bugs to it, or does the material covering the box handle that?

  • Amy Lanier Amy Lanier on Oct 21, 2020

    My absolute favorite save on this app! This is a wonderful, beautiful, idea and I cannot wait to try this myself. I'm going to get me some materials today! Thank you for being so creative and sharing wonderful idea!


Join the conversation

2 of 35 comments
  • Clair A. Gervais Clair A. Gervais on Nov 29, 2020

    Great project! Please keep sharing your ideas!!

  • Pamela Pamela on Dec 22, 2020

    I'm always amazed that people don't look for ways like this to repurpose/reuse items instead of buying plastic containers, etc. What you did was a very inexpensive way to make a useful and pretty storage solution. I have quite a few left over fabric scraps from quilting and I often use them to cover tin cans, shoe boxes, etc. to use for various purposes. They look pretty on a pantry shelf or lined up in a closet.