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Takeout Tonight! Make a quick, custom carryall from a takeout box!

July 9, 2012

We're stepping away from the sewing machine for this one! It's gonna get a little crafty, and there will be some sloppy gluey fun, so put on your grubby clothes or a coverup.

The project is a customized box that you can use for a gift box or as a handbag (though it won't stand up to a whole lot of wear and tear). Coordination obsessives: This is a handy way to really get all your colors together for an outfit or a gift presentation.

To start with, you'll need a plain takeout box. You don't want a used one, and it should not be waxed. You want just plain cardstock. (You can also always make your own!) My sample features a red box, but ideally, you want a white one. I definitely had some issues with the color bleeding during the process.

With a pair of pliers, straighten the wire ends of your handle so you can easily remove it from the box. Set the handle aside -- it will get reinstalled at the end.

3-takeout-box.JPGOnce your handle is removed, unfold your box and lay it out flat.

You'll also need a piece of fabric to cover your unfurled box. For this project, I opted for a striped cotton print, but you could use almost anything. (Hello, stash reducer!) As with anything, testing is key -- some fabrics will not react well to the Mod Podge we'll use in an upcoming step.

I like to use my unfolded box to size out and cut a rough square of fabric big enough to cover the whole thing..

4-takeout-box.JPGNext, I liberally apply Mod Podge to the outside of the box. Liberally. You can get pretty glorpy with it, especially if your fabric tests were successful. 

Once you have a good coat down, slap it down on the wrong side of your fabric. You may have noticed that my work area is covered with cut open plastic grocery bags. This is key to easy cleanup and preventing sad, sad happenings.

5a-takeout-box.JPGNext, layer another set of plastic bags on top of the project. Make sure all sticky bits are covered.

6-takeout-box.JPGOnce you have all your protective plastic in place, put weights on top of the whole shebang. Coffee table books are excellent for this. (Can you guess who my favorite cartoonist is?) Check to make sure all the little flaps are covered. That's what all those little decks of cards are for in the image below.

7-takeout-box.JPGLet your weighted, gluey project sit for a while. Now would be a good time to do some sewing if you have a project on hand.

After a couple of hours, peel back the plastic and begin trimming your fabric right to the edges of the box.(Note: Use your cruddy scissors, so long as they can cut fabric without chewing it up.) It's OK if the glue isn't completely dry at this point, but you do want to make sure your box and fabric are well adhered to one another.

Go ahead and fold the box at all the creases. It's actually beneficial to not have things 100 percent dry at this point, because your fabric will be a little more elastic.

Notice in the photo below the area where my red box color bled. White is right!


Next, go over all the handle insertion holes with an awl or old seam ripper to make sure the fabric is open. Since there is going to be some gluey residue, this is not the time to use your nicest, sharpest tools. This is the time to use the ones that aren't that great, but you haven't had the heart to throw out.

10-takeout-box.JPGRefold your box back to its original shape and replace the handle.

Now, you can add whatever decoration you like. For the demo, I opted to keep things simple with a satin bow, hot glued in place. Looking at this box, you can tell I've already got Halloween on the brain, even though it's only July!

This is obviously a very simple project, but it can be upgraded in a number of ways to suit your needs and style. Use a brocade or dupioni scrap. Sub out the metal handle for a ribbon or cord to make a softer, more elegant look. Reinforce the cut edges of your fabric by adding a decorative trim -- just be sure the box will still fold into shape easily. Add rhinestones, appliques, or a cut out motif from your favorite print. Use craft papers instead of fabric to cover your box. Lacquer the exterior after your Mod Podge is dry to make it a little more modern. This also a good rainy-day project for little ones, though they'll need some supervision and assistance. You can get crazy creative and burn through your scrap pile at the same time! 

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This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on July 9, 2012 10:35 PM.

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