Easy scrap fabric storage bins
Is it just me or do your fabric scraps multiply like rabbits, too? I keep adding to my scrap pile and it keeps turning into a disorganized mountain. I finally came up with a solution: easy scrap fabric storage bins.
I made these storage bins last week, and they make me so happy every time I look at them! After returning from my trip to Tennessee, my sewing room was a disaster. I should be embarrassed to show you these photos, but sometimes I like to keep it real. This is what it looked like before:
There’s still too much stuff for one room, but I’m taking baby steps. Let me get back to my fabric scrap solution. I found these collapsible storage bins at Target and they were only $4 each on sale (I bought seven of them.)
They were a little too big (tall) for my shelf space, so I had to modify them by cutting down the cardboard inserts. I also wanted them to be color coded, so I used my fabric scraps to make something similar to a binding strip to go around the top of each bin.
Since I needed to remove the top strip that went around each bin anyways (to make it shorter), it was an easy solution to get color and function at the same time. Let me show you how I did it.
Other supplies you’ll need:
- seam ripper
- fabric glue
- Clover Wonder Clips or binder clips or clothes pins
First, remove the top strip (similar to a binding) using a seam ripper.
Second, cut 2 1/2″ wide strips of scrap fabric in your desired color. You’ll need 46″ total length. Press the strip in half, wrong sides together, along the long edge. Unfold and bring each long edge to the center-crease and press. Fold in half along the original crease and press again.
Third, assemble the bin and wrap the binding strip along the top edge of the storage bin and secure with the Wonder Clips.
Remove the Wonder Clips on one side. Starting on the outside edge, apply the fabric glue underneath the binding strip on that side. Replace the clips. Rotate the bin and continue on to the next side. Bonus: no need to miter the corners!
Repeat until you get to the end. Overlap the beginning and ending binding strips and glue in place. You’ll do the same thing on the inside edge of the binding strip. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight.
Remove the Wonder Clips and you’re done! Well, almost. You still have sort through all of your scraps. I sorted AND ironed all of mine! Here’s how I grouped them by color:
- white/black/low volume
I was surprised to find that the white, black and low volume bin was the fullest followed by the holiday and novelty bin.
Because I have a small sewing room, I use every inch of space I can. I have an awkward area behind my sewing room door that I’ve used to put an IKEA shelf up. This is where my new scrap fabric storage bins live.
It’s functional and I’m maximizing space. I would love to be able to place my bins along a wall. They’re so much prettier there!
I now have a basket that I keep near my cutting table to put scraps in. When it gets full, I’ll sort the scraps and put them into my scrap fabric storage bins. I’m debating on whether I want to cut my scraps into usable sizes such as 2 1/2″ squares, 5″ squares, skinny strips, etc. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for your scraps?
My next task is to go through all of my rulers and scrapbooking supplies. Maybe I’ll free up some more space for fabric. Ha ha! Truly, I need to live a long life to use up what I already have. I was able to donate a box of fabric and some quilt tops to Quilts for Kids. It felt really good to give my unwanted stash a new home.
Have a great, organized day!
Hi Julie, I am new to your website and am enjoying it very much. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this post today. I have similar storage bins and I love what you have done with yours! What a great idea. I pondered for a long while on how to color code my storage bins and finally gave up on the idea, plus what makes my situation so bad is all nine of my storage bins fit snuggly into a storage unit that was made for them, making it difficult to see what is in each one. Your idea will work beautifully for my storage bins also. Thanks so much for sharing how you did your project. Plus, they really beautify the storage bins! At the end of your posts you mentioned that you were able to donate fabric to Quilts for Kids. I have volunteered with our local Chapter of Quilts for Kids here in North Georgia area since March, 2012, right after they started the Chapter and have loved every minute of it. I’m sure they were very grateful for your contribution. Again, I love your site!
I like your idea of the color coded boxes. I wish I had space either vertical or horizontal for them, but alas, I don’t. I think I’ll con’t. to keep all the same color fabric in covered plastic tubs, which get stacked on top of each other. I still run into issues with multi colored fabrics, which box do they go in? Do you have a size requirement for your scraps, like if smaller than _, then it’s a scrap?
Hi Julie, Love this post! My sewing room is neatly organized in an IKEA Kallax unit with some of IKEA cubes BUT my master bedroom’s nightstand does not have doors. So I will be getting one of these storage cubes (I measured and they will work) and attach fabric around the top to match my room decor. Thanks.
I have a daily mantra… organize, organization, pick up re-organize. My organization is a work in continuous progress. Never satisfied with the end result. My room is always in complete chaos. (And what is scary – I am very organized person – no can do the sewing, jewelry, crafting area,
I saw your blog (one of my favorite go to blogs) and went to Target to get the bins for $4.00. Monday next is the beginning of a new organization of scraps to make them easier to find.
* I was starting to cut scarps into strips and various square sizes, but that became too time consuming, and it ended up with scraps in plastic bins begging to be cut. But my ears were deafened to their screams.Now, I think they will be happy with their new home.
Thanks for your ideas, and sharing all your creations.
Happy New Year my home to yours.
Such a great idea to store you scraps, I have a bunch from finished projects that I just do not know what to do with. Its fabric and you can not just toss it, LOL! I think my room looks like your before photo, so it is nice to know there is hope! I started organizing but, got distracted by projects. Thanks for the inspiration. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018!
Thanks so much for sharing your sewing room and new bins. I am still struggling with how to organize scraps and what size determines a scrap! Your I Love Home blocks are gorgeous!
I might be a bit anal (my friends think so) but I have two size systems: fat quarter or larger and pieces between a fat quarter and 10″ square (or 100 square inches in any configuration). Anything smaller than 100 square inches into the scraps. Because of the way I fold and store my stash and how I use fabric, the pieces between a fat quarter and 100 square inches are folded and stored separate from the larger ones. I find the separation handy because the smaller pieces are the first ones I go to for making miniatures and doing applique.
What fun bins and a wonderful and easy way of personalizing them for each color!
I love the way you personalized the storage cubes at the same time identifying the colors within! I also like that they fit those shelves perfectly! Where did you find those shelves?
I am currently using white plastic bins from the $Tree, the ones with the circle holes on the sides. I don’t have enough shelf space for them currently and have them stacked inside each other with varying degrees off success, they tend to tip over when my kittens pounce on them.
My studio currently looks like it’s been stirred with a stick but I am taking baby steps of stolen moments this summer to remedy that! We recently made a trip to Ikea (2.5 hr one way trip) and bought 4 Billy Bookcases with the glass doors. I have taken all my fabrics out of plastic storage bins and folded them all alike and sorted them by colors/types or collections I want to keep together. I also got the Malm desk with the pull out extension on one side that will house my ironing pad or serger, as the task requires. I am really enjoying having a large sewing table that doesn’t shake and shudder when I sew fast. I put the bookcases on the wall that doesn’t get direct sunlight and oriented my desk/sewing table to face them so I can enjoy looking at my ‘little fabric store”!!
Julie, you are a fountain of creativity! I love your blogs … and you make me feel so much better about my own ‘craft space’ – quilting shared with paper crafts/rubber stamping/knitting/resource garden books/office supplies and everybody else’s paraphernalia
The vertical mini shelves to hold the baskets is brilliant and your method of colour coding is just lovely. Also I think the idea suggested by one of your followers above, to cut scraps initially into larger pieces is also good.
So, by means of your blog, one can not only benefit from your ideas, but also use it as a brain-storming forum.
I have a very good thing to do with scraps. Our guild is having a quilting auction and I donated all my scraps. Of course I like your idea also.
That’s a fabulous idea Julie. No Target this side of the pond but I’m going to look for something similar. Thank you for sharing
Do you mean that I should clean it up when it looks like your “messy” room? Oh! That’s where I went wrong, it looked like that a long time ago, I think. That room is buried under the one I have now. Hmm. I like what you did, it’s a great idea. Thank you.
Hi Julie, Glad to see I am not the only one with a messy sewing room. Thank you for sharing that picture.
You are just so clever. Love your idea for the storage boxes. I find plastic boxes too difficult to see what is inside, but these bins are so cute and you can see right into the top. Thanks for sharing!!
Great idea. My sewing area looks pretty bad too. 😉
Julie Dearest, I haven’t commented on awhile but I do keep up most of the time since you are in my top Five blogs/sites whatever that I take time to actually read through to the end!
I’m thinking you have solved my scrap stash storage problem! This is actually a system that I would use. It’s visual, I can see the colors instantly, I don’t have to take time initially to throw the scrap in it’s new home, and manageable. Where to put them in my space is the question but you’ve gotten me this far I think I can go the test of the way on my own. Unless, you just want to come South , to AlabamA, and visit me here on the Hillis’ family Farm. I could have some Arnold Palmer tea ( that’s half sweet tea & half lemonade, lots of ice) & we could sort my scrap stash together either on the front porch while watching the cotton picker machines pick cotton, or in my sewing room sitting area. Doesn’t that sound fun? Y’all come on down!
Jane Ellen Hillis
Hello Julie, I would love to have a sewing room once again to get all messy and then get to spend a day cleaning it up and reorganizing. It was always a great way to rediscover fabrics, patterns and misc., for me. LOL. I like your Basket idea with the colored binding, it would help so much with sorting and searching. After we moved and I lost my sewing room, I discovered small wicker baskets or even adorable or really pretty tins were great for storing bigger scraps and fat quarters in and I even sat some around the living room area. Have a great day!
Thanks Julie for sharing this great idea!
Great idea color coding the scrap bins and I never would have thought to cut them down to fit. I just wish I had the space to do something similar. I’m just sewing out of my little dining room. Cutting the scraps down sounds like a good idea, but I found that when I did that I needed larger pieces for small projects, so I stopped doing that. Problems, problems!
Neat idea Julie! I think I will be making a trip to our local Target store.
I love this idea! It’s a great way to organize, and economical!
I also love that you showed us the “before” picture of your sewing room! Mine gets filled up and looks so much like yours! I need to spend a day and reorganize it all in Sept.
Thanks for a super project!
Great idea –I have those same bins –I put labels on mine but I think your idea is cuter 🙂
Definitely cut your smaller scraps to 5″. Then you have the ability to cut 2 1/2 squares as needed.
Great project. I love the color coding.
What did you use to cut the boxes down? In your tute, the bin looks like the original size, but the finished ones are definitely shorter. So how did you get them cut off evenly? Great idea, though. I don’t have anywhere to stack them and not enough room to leave on the floor. At first I thought you devised some kind of lid for the bins. Didn’t realize it was a shelf. LOL. Alas, no IKEA nearby either. Bummer.
Julie, it’s so good to see your mess! My sewing room looks like your before picture and I spent hours in there organizing yesterday. Oh those pesky scraps! Your bin idea might be the solution for me…thanks for the idea and for showing us that even the pros sometimes have messy situations!
I wish I had such an organized mind. Great idea!! I would love to hear more of your organizational ideas. I need help!!
Julie, you gave us a great description of your process. Thank you for sharing your idea. Happy Quilting!!
A little too much work for me 🙂 My solution would be to just glue a color square to the front of the storage cube–green for all greens, blue for all blues, and so on. But then I would also not be trimming the cubes down to size. Great idea–why didn’t I think of it?–Target here I come !!! And the dog and I can walk to there, and get a Starbucks too!!!! What’s not to like ?? Thank you
great boxes for scraps and personalising them by colour looks so colourful!
I’m so glad you showed us your attractive and organized sewing room. After viewing the two photos of the chaos in your working area, I was feeling so sorry for you. You have such good ideas for storage!
Julie, the scrap bins are a stroke of genius! Now I’m looking around my sewing room for a perch for the same kinds of bins. Hmmm…
What a grand idea, I have a closet that needs to be emptied and a perfect place for storage. Color coded bins a lovely idea. Love the sewing room.
Love this idea! Your room looks great.
Great idea for scraps and love how you color coded the top. Genius!
Great fabric bins you have created and your color coordinated bindings are very clever. Being organized is crucial to having more tme to be creative! Yay. <3
What a great idea. I’m happy to see your sewing room could be a twin to mine. Lol. Isn’t it nice to get it in order once in awhile. Thanks for sharing your idea,I for one am going to look for something similar,unfortunately we in Canada don’t have a Target. I always look forward to your posts.
What a great idea. My craft room is used for both sewing and paper crafting. I have so many stamps that I really should get rid of and it would give me so much more room.
I do have one question…I love the wall hanging that shows the spools, sewing machine and different sart quilt blocks. Is that a pattern and do you know where I could find it if it si. That would just look perfect in my room. Thanks for all that you share. I love your blog.
What a great idea!! Looks nice too.
That is such a perfect idea for scraps, easy to see what you have all organized and color coded too. Thank you so much for sharing!
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