I have lived in a very small studio apartment where the storage space was limited. This inspired me to create small storage units by myself. This article is aimed to provide ideas to turn empty shoe boxes (or any other type of boxes) into pretty storage boxes easily and in a budget.
The Valentine storage box
Keep the cards, notes, and little gifts from your loved one in this cute Valentine storage box.
An empty shoe box, cherry red colored cotton cloth, pink colored cotton cloth, pink ribbon, blossom pink colored felt cloth, pencil, PVC/white glue, a pair of scissors, a brush to apply glue
Apply glue to the inside of the box with the aid of a brush. Line the inside of the box with light pink cotton cloth. Cover the outer sides of the box and the lid with the red cotton cloth using the same technique. When the glue has dried completely, mark the border of the lid with a pencil, and apply glue over it. Now cover the marked line with the pink ribbon. (The ribbon may require ironing to make 45 degree angles for the corners). Draw two hearts with a pencil on the reverse side of the felt cloth. Cut the hearts carefully along the outlines with the scissors. Paste the hearts in the bottom corner of the lid inside the ribbon border to finish.
The aluminum foil storage box
I use my aluminum foil storage box to store some packaged items together in the fridge. However, this box can be used for a variety of purposes. I made the aluminum foil box with faux gems and presented it to my mother. She uses it to keep her treasured black and white photographs.
An empty shoe box, sheets of aluminum foil, faux gems, pencil, PVC/white glue, pair of scissors or foil cutter, circular object/drafting compass
Cover the inside, outside and the lid of the box with aluminum foil sheets. A good thing about the aluminum foil is that it does not require the application of glue to stay in place. Now draw a number of circles (of the same size) using a circular object or a drafting compass on another foil sheet. The circles should be enough to line the border of the lid of the box. Place this sheet on a lightly padded surface. Line the inside of the border of each circle with dots, using a pencil. This would create a beautiful circular felt pattern on the other side of the sheet. Now cut along the outline of each circle with the help of a scissors or a foil cutter. Stick these circles on the border of the lid of the box using PVC/white glue with the felt patterned side up. To finish, stick a faux gem in the centre of each circle.
Caution: If you make the aluminum foil box for the fridge, do not put it in the microwave. The aluminum foil is not microwavable.
The collaged storage box
The main theme of this collage storage box is to highlight the beauty of coexistence of different textures. This box can be placed as a central piece on the coffee table of the living room. The hidden advantage is that the box will keep the remotes of different devices in your living room out of sight but readily available whenever required.
An empty shoe box, news papers, crumpled brown paper, water paints, oil paints, textured cloth, glue, brush to apply glue
Cut rectangles of different dimensions from the news papers, crumpled brown paper, and the textured cloth. (You can cut out any other shape but, in my opinion, the rectangles of different sizes bring out the beauty of different textures in the best possible way.) Paint the newspaper and the brown paper rectangles in different colors. Use water paints on some rectangles and oil paints on the others. When the paints are completely dry, apply glue on the outer sides of the box with a brush, and quickly paste the rectangles in different textures randomly to cover the sides of the box. Cover the lid of the box with the textured rectangles in the same way.
This textured storage box will look the best if the color of the textured cloth and the paints go well with the theme of the room in which one desires to keep the box.
The padded storage box
This storage box is ideal for keeping delicate items like small glass collectibles or jewelry.
An empty shoe box, any type of washable fabric, cotton strip roll, tailor’s chalk, needle, thread in complementing color to the fabric, PVC/white glue, a brush to apply glue
Apply glue to the inside of the box with the aid of a brush. Line the box with a layer of cotton strips immediately after applying the glue. Now apply the glue and the cotton strips in the same manner on the top of the lid of the box. When the glue is dried and the cotton is adhered securely, apply the glue liberally over the cotton inside the box and line the box with the fabric. Use a tailor’s chalk to draw simple patterns on the fabric for the lid and the outer sides of the box. The geometric patterns are the easiest to handle. Thread the needle and do a running stitch over the design drawn on the fabric. When the stitch is done, wash the fabric to remove the marks of the tailor’s chalk. (After the wash, the fabric may require ironing to smooth out the wrinkles). After the fabric has dried completely, apply glue to the outer sides of the box, and paste the embroidered fabric on them. In the same way, paste the embroidered fabric over the lid of the box.
This padded box looks the best when a white pattern is sewn over a black fabric.
The insect storage box
The children are going to love this insect storage box. This box can be used to store stuff like stickers, stamps, and little toys etc.
An empty box, a book having pictures of different insects, glue, light grey wrapping paper
Apply glue to the inside of the box using a brush and line it with the light grey wrapping paper. Similarly, cover the outer sides of the box with the same wrapping paper. Find a book having pictures of different species of insects. (Usually the local libraries carry this type of books.) Get the pictures that you like the most photocopied. You can get enlarged photocopies of the pictures if you desire. Cut a sheet of white wrapping paper in the dimensions of the lid of the box. Arrange the images of the insects on this paper in any way you desire. One can create a group of beetles in a queue or one can paste pictures of different insects lining the border. Now get two photocopies of this page, one for the top of the lid of the box and one for the inner base of the box. Paste these two pages at the inner base and on top of the lid of the box respectively.
The beach storage box
I am a beach bum at heart. So, whenever I am designing crafts, I usually include things that remind one of the shores. This box can be made to store seashells or just to display and enjoy the memories of your beach experience.
Empty shoe box, sand, glitter glue (in silver or golden color), seashells, beach images, aqua blue/green wrapping paper, PVC/white glue, a brush to apply glue
Apply the glue to the inside of the box with the help of a brush and paste aqua blue/green wrapping sheet over it. Similarly, cover the outer sides and the lid of the box with the same sheet. Print one or more colored images of the beach according to the dimensions of the lid of the box. Pour some glitter glue and some sand in a bowl. Thoroughly mix the sand and the glitter glue with a brush. Use golden glitter glue if the sand is silver and silver glitter glue if the sand is golden to create an interesting combination. Use the same brush to apply this mixture on the ‘sand’ in the image(s) that you have chosen for display on the box. When the glue dries, paste the picture(s) on the lid of the box. You can also paste beach pictures inside and on the outer sides of the box in the same way. To finish, stick a small seashell in the bottom corner of the lid of the box.
A note on cleaning these boxes: All of these boxes can be conveniently cleaned with the vacuum cleaner, provided everything is properly glued.The lids of all of these boxes can be additionally wrapped in plastic sheets for quick, easy, and convenient cleaning; however, the plastic sheet almost kills the aesthetics!
Personal experience and experimentation with empty boxes