Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tutorial: Reversible Fabric Gift Box

A few weeks ago, Lo and I ordered dinner from a lovely locally-owned Thai restaurant. Delicious crispy spring rolls, pad thai, ginger chicken with rice. Yum. The spring rolls came in a pretty brown, cleverly-designed, cardboard take-out box. I was instantly attracted to the spring roll box. It was love at first bite. That box had my name written all over it. Once empty, I tried hard to clean it so that I might re-use it, but alas it was too yucky to be redeemed. Before I tossed it in the garbage however, I carefully unglued and unfolded it, and copied its sweet sweet shape onto a sheet of newsprint and cut it out. If I couldn't have the box, I could at least try to replicate it. I practiced folding my cut-out to see if I could reproduce the original box. Happily, I could, hee hee! Goodbye soily spring roll box. Hello fresh and clean little template box!

Yes. My relationship with garbage resides on that line between cunning and cuckoo. I know it. You know it. Let us accept it, embrace it, and move on.

In today's tutorial, I will show you how I made my new-fangled version of the box. I discovered in my exploration, that in a snap you can make your box easily reversible, very strong and long-lasting. How you ask? Well, let me show you. Step into my office, and we will begin!

Tutorial: Reversible Fabric Gift Box

You will need:
  • 2 roughly 14" x 18" scraps of fabric in whatever colours you desire
  • 1 roughly 14" x 18" scrap of fabric to place between the other 2 pieces (You may want to use interfacing instead. I didn't have any interfacing so I just used a piece of white cotton.)
  • the box template which is provided here
  • 4 pretty brads
  • pair of scissors
  • tool for poking holes (I used a tiny screwdriver)
  • sewing machine with darning foot
  • Mod Podge
  • paintbrush
  • ribbon and embellishments
1. Photo 1 shows you what the box will look like in the end. Pretty!
2. Blow up this template to twice its size. Cut it out. Create a sandwich with your 3 fabric pieces with top and bottom pieces having good sides out. Ensure that the fabric sandwich is somewhat larger than your template.
3. Using your sewing machine and darning foot, free-motion quilt a stipple pattern on your sandwich. Once your sandwich is quilted, cut-out the template shape.
4. Notice that I added a line of stitching 1/4" from the edge for extra strength. You may want to zigzag the edge or finish it in some other way. I chose to leave it raw.

5. Because I didn't use interfacing, I decided to spread Mod Podge over both the top and bottom fabric layers. I mod-podged one side, let it dry, and then mod-podged the other side.
6. Once dry, the Mod Podge gives the fabric some rigidity.
7. Fold the fabric along all fold lines, according to the template.
8. Next bring two of the corners (see photo#3) up toward each other, and grab the little wedge section (see photo#3) that joins them between your fingers as in #8.

9. Fold that wedge section flat against the long side of the box.
10. Poke a hole through the wedge and through all layers. I used a tiny screw-driver as a hole-poker.
11. Now insert a brad through all layers.
12. At this point, you will see the brad end inside the box.

13. Fold down the little arms of the brad.
14. Repeat steps 8 through 13 to form all sides of the box.
15. Fold down the small top flaps of the box, followed by the large flaps.
16. And finally insert the curvy end of one large flap into the slit in the other large flap.

And that's it! You have a lovely, quilted, strong, long-lasting and reversible fabric box that renders gift wrap redundant. And you made it, yippee!

Place your gift inside, attach a ribbon and maybe an egg carton flower, and you're off to bring joy into someone's little world!

Now this box has at least two personalities. I've devised a catchy little phrase to help you find them. It goes:

Unfold it, reverse it, refold it, behold it!

And there you have it: a whole different gift box! It couldn't be easier, could it?

This is just the little project on which to practice your free-motion quilting. Make a few and you'll soon be ready to tackle more substantial free-motion jobs. That's MY plan anyway!

Now please do have yourself a lovely evening, and I'll see you again soon!


  1. I love this idea Michele! I may need to try it! I also have to tell you how much I love reading your posts. They are always good for a smile. You brighten my day (and that says a lot because I shovelled a lot of snow today and the mail wasn't delivered and therefore the fabric I was waiting for didn't come).

  2. Love this! Gotta try it sometime soon! PS I am constantly still thinking about phrases that I use all the time (remember your giveaway when you asked for the phrases we always say). I keep wanting to email you more sayings that I love! Are you picking up what I am laying down?!

  3. You just boggle my mind. This is brilliant and gorgeous.

  4. First you made me hungry describing that delicious Thai food. YUM. And brilliant on deconstructing / reconstructing the box!

  5. What ingenuity...again! Love this. So, when you reverse it, I'm assuming you have to remove the brads and reinstall from the 'new' outside? I wonder if this would work with Timtex, or if it's too thick...hmmm. I suddenly find myself distracted by the thought of yummy spring rolls.

  6. wow. Is that stinking cool or what?!?

  7. Love it, love it! I will even make this one, it's not beyond me I think! Now I need the white lacy heart to go with it just like yours - thanks Michele - Hugs Nat

  8. Love it Michele! A gift that's the box....and reversible, love that!Thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  9. What great inspiration, I love how you rescued that box from obscurity! Now it's famous and I love it. Reversible!?! Crazy good.

  10. Thanks for this super nice tutorial...you are really smart..waooo..& its totally unique...hmmm

  11. That is one awesome gift box! How you come up with these ideas is beyond me, which is why I keep coming back to see what you do. Really cool.

  12. GENIUS MUCH? Think of the possibilities! I;m envisioning y chinese takeout containers dressed in faux fur. Love it!

  13. Great ! I love boxes, I will try this one too someday !!!!

  14. Wow! I have to admit when I put things into recycling now I always feel guilty. I love the box.

  15. This is lovely, thanks so much :)

  16. Such a cute idea!! Thanks for sharing!!
    I'm your newest follower...come check out my blog when you get a chance :-)
    Shantel @

  17. Wow! Very nice! I'd surely make one of these. Thanks for the tutorial! Quilt fabric

  18. Congratulations Michele! Your blog is excellent. I loved the tutorial. Thank you!

  19. ooo I likey!! I am always looking for new ways to decorate gift so I may have to give this one a go...Thanks Michele :-D


  20. Hi Michele..what a great box! Thanks for dropping by bit addicted to the old hook at the moment
    And of course it panders to the lazy me...comfy sofa seat a bucket of yarn and a hook or two! lol
    Hugs Suz x

  21. You are ridiculously amazing!! I love it.

  22. Michelle, you are absolutely the most creative and valued "Master of Recycling" I've encountered. THANK YOU so much for sharing each and every post - I just love them and since I've only just discovered you in May I'm blessed with days of exploring your blog archives. Yahoo!!!

    I'm wondering - have you see others' rendition of the fabric take-out box or is this idea entirely your own? I especially appreciate the reversible feature. Thank you again. I absolutely adore you and your creative spontaneity!

  23. thanks so much bued, this is my original idea... every now and then I get a good one! :)

  24. très joli coffret, la tu laisse ton imagination pour la déco vraiment bravo l' artiste a bientôt dane si tu veux me mettre dans tes liens a visiter pas de soucis je vais le faire sur mon blog a bientôt de te lire dane

  25. Your website is for sure worth bookmarking.Roberta


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