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CRAFT: Make Space for Crafting

By Diane Gilleland
If you have a lot of stuff, and you want a custom-sized, custom-crafted way to store it, look no further than plastic canvas. Here, I’ll show you how to build a simple lidded box, and give it your own unique spin.

Materials

2 sheets 10-count plastic canvas available at most chain craft stores, or online at anniesattic.com
Sharpie marker
Scissors
Tapestry needle
Yarn
or other material as discussed below
Fabric scraps (optional)
Hand-sewing needle and thread (optional)

Directions

Pc Box 01
Sizing Up the Box
Step 1: Take the items you want to store, and place them on the plastic canvas, near a corner. Then, use a Sharpie to mark the bottom panel of the box. I like to make my boxes just a little larger than I need, so they’ll have room for future stuff.
Cut this piece out of the canvas.
Pc Box 02
Step 2: Next, figure out how deep your box will need to be in order to fit the items you want to store. You can measure this with a ruler, or eyeball it.
Pc Box 03
Step 3: Using the base you cut in Step 1 as a measuring guide, cut out 4 sides for your box. Make these side panels as tall as the measurement you decided on in Step 2.
Pc Box 04
Step 4: Now, in order to make a lid for your box, you’ll need to cut a piece that’s slightly larger than the base. Use your base piece as a measuring guide, and cut the lid piece so it’s 1 row of squares larger on all 4 sides, as shown above. (We do this, by the way, so that the finished lid will fit nicely on the finished box.)
Pc Box 05
Step 5: Then, use the lid piece as a measuring guide to cut out 4 sides for the lid. They should be between 1″–2″ deep. You should now have 10 cut pieces of plastic canvas.
Pc Box 06
Stitching the Box
Some crafters don’t like plastic canvas work because they think: a) it has to be covered with traditional needlepoint, and b) all that needlepoint is too time-consuming.
But seriously, there’s a whole world of interesting needlepoint stitches that work up much more quickly than the traditional continental stitch. You can find some of them here and here, and many libraries have old needlepoint books with even more options.
Pc Box 07
In addition, you can “think outside the box,” as it were, when it comes to choosing your stitchery materials. You can use any worsted-weight cotton or wool yarn, of course, but as you can see here, paper raffia (available at party supply stores) and narrow ribbon also create interesting effects.
Pc Box 08
For this box, I’m stitching with cotton yarn. I’m using the Slanted Gobelin Stitch because it covers lots of ground quickly. And then, to make things even faster, I’m going to add some fabric inserts to cover parts of the canvas. In this image, you can see the base and side pieces of my box, all stitched and ready for fabric.
Pc Box 09
Here are the lid pieces, also stitched and ready for a fabric insert.
Pc Box 10
Adding Fabric
Step 6: This project is a great way to use small scraps of a favorite fabric. Just cut a piece that’s about 1/2″ larger on all sides than the uncovered part of the canvas.
Then fold under all 4 sides of the fabric so that the piece fits nicely into this opening. Press the folds.
Pc Box 11
Step 7: Thread a hand-sewing needle. Place the fabric over the plastic canvas, lining it up with the uncovered area. Then, bring the needle up through one of the holes in the canvas, catching the edge of the fabric as shown here.
Next, pass the needle back down through the same hole. Move to the next hole and repeat this stitch, and the next, and so on until you’ve stitched all 4 edges of the fabric down.
Pc Box 11-1
Assembling the Box
We’re going to stitch all the pieces together at this point, so it’s a good moment to talk about how to start and end a strand of yarn.
To join 2 pieces together, place them wrong sides together, lining up all the holes. Then, pass the needle through 1 layer of canvas only, pulling the yarn through until you have about a 2″ tail sitting between the 2 pieces.
Pc Box 13
Join the pieces with a whipstitch, catching that loose end in the first stitches as shown. A whipstitch, by the way, just involves passing your needle through both pieces of canvas in the same direction.
Pc Box 14
At the end of a seam, you can tie off a strand of yarn by passing it under some stitches at the back of the canvas, as shown here, and then cutting it.
Pc Box 15
Step 8: Start the assembly process by joining all 4 sides of the box to the base piece.
Pc Box 16
Step 9: Then, fold the sides up and whipstitch them together at each corner. Stitch from the bottom to the top — it’s much easier to tie off the strands at the end of each seam that way.
Pc Box 17
Step 10: Lastly, whip stitch around the top edge of the box to finish it. When you’re stitching around the corners of the box. take a couple extra stitches — this will help cover up the canvas at those points.
Pc Box 18
Step 11: Repeat Steps 15-17 to assemble a lid for your box, and you’re done!
About the Author:
author_dianegilleland.jpg
Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod, a blog and bi-weekly podcast about making stuff. Her first book, Kanzashi In Bloom is currently out in bookstores.


Related

Comments

  1. Rachel Hobson says:

    Sewing fabric onto plastic canvas!? Brilliant! I love it!
    Thanks, as always, for such well thought-out and clearly illustrated tutorials. They are the best!

  2. LadyDreamgirl says:

    If the wrong side of the stitching is kinda sloppy you could totally line the insides of these boxes with fabric too. Fabric lining = it’s even harder for people to tell it’s made of plastic canvas! YEY!
    P.S. I openly admit to being generally averse to plastic canvas. It tends to look kind of tacky to me, but this project and your round needle/pencil/long slender things case project have convinced me that plastic canvas can be awesome.

  3. rootmix.blogspot.com says:

    i’ve always wanted a way to custom-size pretty storage containers and these ones are so nice! i even have some thrifted plastic canvas to use! love the fabric insert idea!
    rm
    #craftsocial and p.s. i love your craftypods!

  4. ctb says:

    I love this! Can’t wait to try it w/ some of plastic twine I have….

  5. czl says:

    My grandmother made us kleenex-box cozies like this when I was really little — she also made me a sewing box to keep all my supplies. Wish I had them with me (they’re at my parent’s house) or I’d post a pic. I loved them! Thanks for the post.

  6. Anonymous says:

    my grandmother used to make these too! she had fantastic style!

  7. ssbsel says:

    these boxes are very cute. the fabric used is perfect to match with yarn. Great project to do and enjoy…. very colorful… wish i could make one…. :)

  8. mamarose22 says:

    I do a lot of plastic canvas projects. Although I can usually make boxes to fit different things, I do like how you matched yarn to fabric and utilized them in this project. I wish there were more sites that feature free plastic canvas projects. I make lots of ornaments and tissue boxes etc. from plastic canvas, I also crochet and sew things with a group of volunteers and we sell our wares and donate the profits to several charities. PC tissue boxes are a big seller. Of course they don’t sell for much considering how much time it takes to make them. Hopefully you might post some more PC projects in the near future.

  9. limoncellodituscany.wordpress.com says:

    This is sooooooo great. I would definitely try it

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  11. Jenn S says:

    This is SOOO cute. Love the colors too. I recently discovered plastic canvas but really didn’t know what modern things you could make with it. I’m brand new to the craft but want to blog about me learning how to do it. I will mention your tutorial and give links back to this site.
    It’s so cute I called my 13 year old niece and told her we are going to learn how to make cute things from plastic canvas!

  12. Jenn S says:

    This is SOOO cute. Love the colors too. I recently discovered plastic canvas but really didn’t know what modern things you could make with it. I’m brand new to the craft but want to blog about me learning how to do it. I will mention your tutorial and give links back to this site.
    It’s so cute I called my 13 year old niece and told her we are going to learn how to make cute things from plastic canvas!

  13. helen young says:

    I have used plastic canvas before but this box is some kind unique to me i like the fabric it blend nicely with the wool.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I’m a kid … this summer i learned how to do plastic canvas and i love it! I already did three different boxes with different colours.

    BTW the fabric idea is fab! I really like this too, and your work is so neat! I wish i could work like that!!

    KEEP IT ALL UP!!
    AND PLEASE DO UPLOAD MORE OF THIS ON THE WEB!

    (you can make your own website at http://www.weebly.com, free is you use a weebly domain- send its address by email if you publish it!)

  15. I really like the colours and patterns on these boxes – your designs are very eye-catching and sure to get noticed. They would look nice as storage boxes for craft rooms, or even in the kitchen for small utensils, or bathroom for cotton balls and other various items best tidied away, don’t you think?