Thursday, September 12, 2013

Follow Up on the Fabric Covered Storage Boxes

We've all heard the cliche definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result that is popularly attributed (probably misattributed) to Einstein. On the other hand, we've all also been told many times that, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again! 

I suppose this may be a difference between scientists, business people, and motivational speakers. It may be a difference of optimists versus pessimists. Or maybe, it means don't screw up the same way twice-- at least change your strategy a bit before you screw up a second time. That, my dear readers, is what I am here to talk about today.

You see, my first attempt at covering boxes for the closet with fabric was expensive, labor and time intensive, and mostly unsuccessful. A sane person would have moved on. I, of course, did not. In fact, it was while blogging about my first attempt that I realized that perhaps I just hadn't really prepared myself for success. I hadn't read enough tutorials. I hadn't really applied myself. After a little more research I found that AGirlAndAGlueGun has a much better tutorial and method for box covering. She used one big piece of fabric, rather than lots of little rectangles. Aha.
This time I did not plan on making 5 boxes. I did not buy new supplies. I found some clearance rack ikat cotton that I'd rejected during the couch pillow project but sort of dig anyway and another box I'd used during my move that still held the contents of my "costume box" (a story for another day-- I've already waxed poetic enough for today). 

I mostly used the technique suggested by agaagg for the most part: 
1) Cut off the wings
2) Put the box on the fabric and cut out the corners (leaving about 2 inches of extra fabric on each side).
3) Snip up to the corner of the box
4) Use spray adhesive to stick the short sides up on the box, wrapping those extra 2 inches around the side. 
5) On the long sides, fold those extra 2 inches over (spray adhesive that, too). 
6) Use spray adhesive to stick the long sides up on the box. 

By the end of this process, I was about 15 minutes total into the box covering and very pleased with the result. I almost quit while I was ahead, re-filled the box, and put it up on the shelf. But, of course, the story doesn't end there... The inside was still unfinished. 

Sticking to my guns on this whole "don't sink any more money into these damn boxes" thing, I pulled some white cotton fabric that I use for pattern drafting out of my stash and set to work trying to cover the inside. I basically used the same technique as I had for the outside, but it didn't turn out quite so pretty. Actually, it turned out sort of a mess. To be fair, the mess may be due in large part to the fact that I wasn't trying very hard, and the white fabric is a little bit see through. If I really cared and wanted to spend the money, a piece of ribbon over the "seam" where the inside fabric meets the outside and hide most of the ugly. But really, it's better than the cardboard and I'm not spending another dime. 
Overall, this project was much faster (less than an hour on the whole box!) than the last. While I would still not call it "fast" or "simple" like other ladies have, I learned some important lessons that would make it more fast and simple-- for just in case you're a masochist thinking about trying this yourself. 

1) Use wide fabric that will cover the entire box in one piece. If it's wide enough to cover the inside too, all the better!
2) Dark fabric doesn't show the spray adhesive through it like light fabric does.
3) For any folding that needs to be done, do it on the ground before trying to stick anything to the box.
4) Work from bottom to top when smoothing the fabric onto the cardboard to avoid wrinkles.
5) Lower your expectations significantly before you begin

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