Appliqued Toy (or anything) Box

posted in: make it | 3

Toy Box

My sweet baby is now at the age where he is on the floor, rolling around, and playing with toys.  I was keeping the toys in a small basket on a shelf (to keep the dog from thinking they were his toys), but the basket is now too small to hold everything.  Thus, I decided it was time for a toy box. That and…if you don’t remember to turn some of them off, you get to hear “Row Row Row Your Boat” in the middle of the night when you hurt your toe after accidentally kicking a toy while looking for a pacifier…at 2:36 am. Fun!

This toy box is really simple to make, however, the trick is to take your time.  Major tools are an iron and a sewing machine capable of sewing a zig zag.

Here’s what you’ll need:

    1. Some sort of canvas or fabric covered bin. I found mine at Hobby Lobby in the purse and tote bag section.
    2. Fabric scrap: Size depends on how much of the bin you want to cover.  This piece will be for the backing.
    3. Fabric scraps: These will be for the letters. I used two fabrics, but you can use whatever suits your fancy.
    4. Fusible Web: Also called Wonder Under, this stuff really is “wonder”ful. :-)
    5. Matching thread.
    6. Scissors
    7. Sewing machine and iron.

Supplies and Letters

Step 1:  Cut out your letters.  *Personal piece of advice: Iron your web on the fabric before you cut out the letters.*  I was so excited about this one, that I forgot to iron mine on first. After I cut out the letters, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make them look as good the second time around so I took little pieces of web and “pieced” them on the backside of the letters. Not ideal, but it worked.  But…the best way to do it is to iron on the fusible web and then cut out your letters.  I always like to free-hand my letters. They’re never perfect, but I like that.

Step 2: Iron/attach the letters to the “back” piece of fabric.


Step 3: Hem the edges of the backing fabric.  Be sure to press the sides under before you actually sew the sides. If there’s anything my Granny taught me in sewing (she’s taught me many things, actually), she says to “Always press your hem first…then the job is already half done.”

Step 4: Applique the letters. I used a simple zig zag stitch, but I did practice on a piece of scrap fabric to make sure my stitch length and width were what I wanted.  *Another piece of advice: Line up your needle placement so that the zig zag is ON the edge of the letter. If you can keep the stitch ON the item being appliqued, it will look much cleaner and almost give the item a “puffy” look. I tried to show it in the picture below.


Step 5: Attach backing fabric to the bin: With your backing fabric edges finished and hemmed, cut out a piece of fusible web to fit the size of the backing fabric. You’ll want to get it as close to the edges as possible as this is what will actually attach it to your fabric bin.  Once the web is on the bin, peel the paper off, line it up on your bin, and iron it on. I made sure to give mine a little extra time to ensure it set properly.

Step 6: Fill that sucker up with the toys (or whatever) and enjoy a (somewhat) clean room.


This is the first one of these I’ve made, but I’m hopelessly in love with it.  It might be an “organizing” themed Christmas this year…if ya know what I mean…


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3 Responses

  1. Debbie
    | Reply

    Kelley – I love this!! I use these canvas boxes for storage in my craft room.

  2. Lisa Ehrhard
    | Reply

    I was just curious as to the brand of embroidery machine you purchased, and if you would recommend it. Your items are really cute.

  3. Kelley
    | Reply

    Thanks for the kind words, Lisa! I have a Janome 300E. They now sell an updated version, the 350E I believe. I would HIGHLY recommend it. While it’s not the professional’s embroidery machine that handles multiple spools of thread, it does all I want it to do and then some (I bought it in 2004 and I have yet to reach the end of its capabilities).

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