Ask CRAFT: Labeling Fabric Bins

Craft & Design


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Kristina writes in:

My daughter’s toys are organized in fabric bins. I need a way to label the bins, preferably:

  • with image and text, for my 3-year-old
  • in a way that a 3-year-old won’t be tempted to rip the label off and tear the bin
  • in a way that can be changed out over time as she grows out of toys and they get replaced with other items
  • in a way that works with any color bin, since most folks use multicolor bin configurations

I’m unsure if the fabric of the bins can tolerate ironing, so I’m reticent about iron-on transfers.

These bins are so common now, and I’m surprised there isn’t a product on the market to label them. CRAFT to the rescue?

Indeed! My best advice for you? Check out our Craft Rooms series, where we went inside crafters’ spaces to see how they stay organized. There are lots of labeled compartments, for sure! For your particular bins, I’d recommend sewing on clear vinyl pouches, into which you can slide a printed label with text and an image. For a tutorial on sewing with clear vinyl, check out our Car Craft Caddy project. Another possible solution would be to hand-embroider the pictures and text on the fronts of the bins. This would be safe and tamper-resistant, but also quite labor intensive. Hope that helps, please send us pictures of your solution! If you have advice for labeling Kristina’s bins, let her know in the comments below!

Above image by Mama Bluerose.

16 thoughts on “Ask CRAFT: Labeling Fabric Bins

  1. Therese says:

    Perhaps you could make tags to attach to the handles, that would have a picture on one side, and text on the other. They could either tie on, or be hand stitched closed to prevent removal.

  2. Collette says:

    My mom who has TONS of toys for the grandkids also keeps many of her is the bins like this. What she did was take a picture of the contents and then printed the picture and made it into a hanging tag that goes on the handle. Because most of the kids are not old enough to read, all they have to do is look at the picture to know where to put things away.

  3. barelycrafty says:

    I printed out item names on paper and then cut them in little shapes for shirts/underwear/socks. I used regular paper since they were for my stuff, but for a kiddo I’d probably use cardstock and just hand write the item name on each cut-out. I sewed them onto each box with embroidery thread using a doll needle. It was a little difficult to sew through the cardboard inside the fabric box, but not too bad. They turned out really cute. I did take a few pictures and I’m looking for them now.

  4. quakecountry says:

    Perhaps you can printout the images (laminate them if you wish) and then use velcro to attach them to the bins?

  5. jessica says:

    a quick and easy option would be a computer transfer. While bet you can buy a T-transfer sheet to iron on the the bins, you could also just print the label (a mirrored image of it) on an inkjet printer and then use acetone blending pen and a bonefolder to rub the image on the fabric. This is probably a bit faster than embroidery, but do a test run!

  6. Melinda Miller says:

    Luggage tags. There are many kinds. You could get the kind where you can just put in an image and description. Or, the clear ones, where you can laminate the contents, picture and description, and you have a handy loop, or buckle to put on the fabric bin. And you can change it easy.

  7. Maria says:

    Potato stamp-outs & paint, a project that can involve your daughter.
    Cut a mirror image of each word into a large potato (or you can make a stamp from each letter) along with a picture of the item. Dip in paint, and stamp away!
    Or, if you don’t like using food this way, you could use rubber stamps with pictures and letters and use those (actually, this idea is easier, why didn’t I think of it first?).
    This why, there’s no fear of them getting ripped off or somehow destroyed (I have a 4 year old boy, so I know how that is!!).
    Another idea is felt cut outs, then sew them on – although that might be tricky with a machine, so… a bit time intensive to do by hand.

  8. stonemaven says:

    How about felt silhouettes of the toy cut out in sturdy felt with the name of the toys printed in block letters. They could be fastened to the bins with a button, snap, or Velcro dot. Very interchangeable!

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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