Monday, January 30, 2012

Fabric liner

I have finally gotten a tutorial on the fabric liner together! I am posting almost a billion pictures (because I’d rather use a tutorial that “shows” me how to do it, rather than just read it all). Hope you don’t mind!

If you haven’t sewn much before, may I suggest trying this out with a small basket first? If things go wrong, you will have used MUCH less fabric. Not to mention, trying with less fabric will be a lot easier. 

What you’ll need:

Fabric of your choosing (my diaper box only required ½ yard)

Measuring tape
Scissors (or rotary cutter and mat – I used these)
Sewing machine
Box or basket of your choosing

Here’s how:
In this tutorial I will refer to the “right side” and “wrong side” of the fabric.

Measure your box:
Start from the outside at the point in which you want your liner to go to. I wanted 3 inches of my liner to show on the outside of the box, so I started with 3 inches, then I took my measuring tape down the inside, across the bottom, back up the other side, and down 3 inches on the outside again. 


Do this for the length and width of your box. Cut your fabric in those measurements. Your fabric will be a big rectangle at this point.

This next part is my least favorite, because I hate trying to think through measurements. My husband helped me with this part, since he’s so smart!  I hope I can explain it so you understand! If not, just comment with your questions and I’ll get my answers posted for you!

Lay fabric out with the right side up and find the center point of the long side. So, if your fabric is 30”, your center point is going to be at 15”. Mark it with a pin. Now, measure the long side of the box. Add 1/2” to that measurement for seam allowance. Go ahead and divide that number by 2.

Example: Box = 10 long, add ½, making it 10 ½ total. 10 ½ divided by 2 = 5 ¼ 

Remember where that pin is? Now, measure your divided number (in the example it was 5 ¼) from that pin to the left and make a slit at the end of the fabric. Also do this from the pin to the right. You should end up with the box length plus a half inch in between your slits.

Repeat this same procedure on the other long side.

For the short sides, you will do the same procedure with your SHORT side of the box measurements (plus the ½” for seam allowance).

The next step will be cutting out squares in the four corners of your fabric, making a cross. Start with one corner, cut each slit on either side of the corner until the lines intersect, giving you a leftover square. 

I used a ruler to ensure a straight line and to know how far to cut that first slit. Repeat this on all four corners and VOILA, you have a cross.

If you want to ensure your measurements are right, measure each section and it should equal the box length plus ½”.

Now for the fun part! Sewing!

With your fabric laying right side up, fold side 1 onto side 2, lining up the sides evenly. Pin and sew.

Don't forget, we only left room for a 1/4" seam. 

When it is laid back down it will look like this:

Now you will sew side A to side B, just like you did with 1 and 2.

 Here’s how I folded it up to sew (I told you there would be a million pictures!).

A & B are sewn and here's the fabric laid out.

I’m sure you’ve got it figured out, but I took the pictures so I’ll add them anyways. You do the same to sides C and D, then one more time to E and F.

Almost done! Hemming it up: I folded my fabric like this so that I could fold all the sides over so that they were equal, since my cutting wasn't perfect. 

Then I ironed the folded tops.

Then go ahead and hem it all the way around.

Congrats! You’ve done it! You now have a fabulous liner made with the fabric you love! 

Questions? Here's your answers! 

Is it possible to do this without sewing? I don't think the liner would stay together without sewing it, but if you wanted to continue the canvas from the diaper box into the inside, spray adhesive would work for that.
Edit! "No-Sew Hem Tape" might work. 

I bought the fabric at Hobby Lobby! I love that store!


  1. This is a much more straightforward (and less overworked) version than others I have seen. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  2. Is there a way to do this without sewing? ie. fabric adhesive?

    1. I would recommend trying the hem tape that you simply iron on. It can be found at Walmart or any craft store.

  3. Fabric glue might work, but you would probably have to let each side dry before doing the next, or an iron-on tape.

  4. where did you get your fabric? I love the print!

    1. I love this fabric!!! I used it for a bowtie and suspenders shirt for my son!!!

  5. When you folded over the edges and then hemmed it, did that take away from the 3 inches you wanted to leave over the side?

    1. Maybe a little bit, but not too much.

    2. You could add another fabric for the hem, then you wouldn't lose the length, or add on extra in case of a shortage.
      Btw, great tutorial! I love easy crafts in my spare time. I have too many boxes just lying around waiting to be turned into something creative, along with many skeins of yarn in various small baskets. Perfect solution. :)

    3. I think this would be adorable with a lace trim added to the edge of the liner!

  6. I have been saving diaper boxes as well as wipe boxes for this very thing!!! Thank you! I am new to sewing so I appreciate ALL the pictures :)

  7. Great tutorial! I can't wait to try this out.

  8. darn! Over the past year I have thrown away soo many wipe and diaper boxes...there are so many sales on fabric that I could have gone nuts with this idea...Note to self..stop throwing stuff away

  9. Such a cute way to make really cute storage for the home. Where did you find spray adhesive? In a craft store, with other glue...??? I am thinking spray adhesive is genius :)

    1. I found it at Walmart, but Hobby Lobby most likely has it. In Walmart it was near the craft supplies and the craft paint. Enjoy! :)

  10. Just did this project and followed all your instructions from this and previous tutorial except when it came to sewing, I used no sew stitch fabric glue and it came out great! Much easier than I thought it would be!

  11. I think that a paper box will work the same. That's what I thought it was to begin with. We use those paper ream boxes at school to recycle paper in the classroom, so I think I'll do this for that purpose. Also, I think if it didn't matter to you, you could spray paint the box (if the paint is dark enough) and just put the fabric on the top of the outside for the look of it without the actual liner on the inside. Depending on what you use it for would probably depend on how much work you want to put into it. Thanks for this idea!

  12. Thank you. Good job of giving clear and concise instructions:)

  13. Thank you for this great idea!! I just finished one for my daughter's cute!

  14. Did you spray paint the box in your pics or attach fabric to the sides?
    Would love to try this!

    1. Here is a tutorial on what I did to the box: Some people have suggested using contact paper or mod podging wall paper/scrapbook paper to it. :) Have fun!

  15. Great tutorial! Very easy to follow, love it! Just thought I'd share a little shortcut I used. When you are doing the math to make the slits for the corner cutouts, if you fold the fabric in half, you only have to do this twice instead of four times (once for the long side and once for the short side) Hope that makes sense! :)

    1. Thanks! I didn't even think about folding it in half! Great idea!

  16. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I have a few suggestions as well. Instead of taking fabric to the outside of the box, I would suggest using some hot glue and twine. It looks amazing afterward! Also when you are sewing the hem around the top of the liner, take a thin elastic, 1/4 inch or thinner and sew it in! It helps keep it in better place. Just measure the box and cut the elastic about a 1/2" shorter than the measured length of the box. Hope this is a helpful addition!! Thanks again Mandy!

    1. Have you tried hot glue and twine? It's majorly time, and hot glue, consuming! Looks great in the end but I wouldn't do it to a large box.

  17. Wouldn't the inside be the same size as the outside? (about) I found the inside math to be crazy complicated compared to the outside...

  18. Is it possible to just duplicate the cutout from the outside and sew from there instead of all the squares and measurements?

    1. The outside had more overlap and bigger measurements, so I don't think it would work to duplicate it, the liner would be too big to fit inside the box. Sorry. :(

  19. This tutorial was very easy to follow. I always check Hobby Lobby's clearance fabric section for project fabric. I have lots of boxes different sizes that I can do this with. thanks!!

  20. "This next part is my least favorite, because I hate trying to think through measurements. My husband helped me with this part, since he’s so smart! I hope I can explain it so you understand!"

    You are smart and capable, maker. Don't sell yourself short! I loved this tutorial.

  21. Thanks for the tutorial! I made some boxes today for my cousin's baby shower and they look great. :)

  22. I must have done something wrong, I tried this on a wooden box, no give like the cardboard one used and when I tried to fold over the top there is no give in the hemmed top to stretch over the top edges and go around the box, any help? Thanks

  23. Thank you. This was one of the simplest tutorials I have seen, and a great idea shared.

  24. How do these hold up? I'm not sure I want to put in the effort if the kids destroy them the first time they put their toys away. Thanks!! JenK

  25. fabic glue works well for the liner

  26. I have seen many tutorials and I love that you have all the pictures. I wish more people did this. It would make some SO much easier to follow. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

  27. a really good explanation!
    the only thing I'd add is that when youre cutting the fabric into a cross you don't need to do each corner separetly as it takes a lot more time to do so. I'd advise to fold right side on right side one time into half and cut 2 corners at the same time. it's much faster that way, that's what we do in fashion sewing and it saves a ton of time when you don't have much time (or patience)!

  28. Great idea! Hoeever, wouldn't it be easier to hem the ends and sides before sewing the side seams? The fabric would still be flat so you could just run it through the sewing machine. Also, when measuring the fabric add the hem allowance to the overlap so you still get your 3 inch overlap once hemmed.

  29. Your tutorials are great!! I've only painted them in the past. A good white acrylic. Then got kids with stampers & paint to "attack " the box lol. I should have sealed it because it only lasted 1.5 yrs but live & learn...
    I've also tried replacing liners by making a large rectangle & giving a lot shoe lace. Then tying it tight. Shrug still not as nice but it did work for a while! I still like yours. Much better for longevity ;)

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  31. Just tried it...i think i measured wrong because i had some bunched up fabric...i have a tall cane hamper.i guess i will scrunch it up n add some lace

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