How to glue fabric to cardboard

Updated July 20, 2017

The possibilities are endless when you glue fabric to cardboard. Whether you want to simply cover tissue boxes with fabric and use them for storage of small toys or you want to cover cardboard boxes to set on a shelf, it's an easy project that can dress up a room. Use leftover fabric from sewing projects or buy remnants that you like. The materials needed are inexpensive, but the results can look rich.

Select sturdy cardboard boxes that will hold up for your purpose. You need a good box if you're going to spend the time to glue fabric to it. Wipe off any dirt from the cardboard.

Trim any parts of the box that are not needed. If the cardboard box has top flaps that you don't want, now is the time to cut them off. Use scissors and clean up the edges so the box has neat, straight lines.

Measure one side of the box. Cut a piece of fabric that size to fit the box with an extra 2.5 cm (1 inch) of fabric to overlap the top of the box.

Apply découpage glue to the front of the box. Carefully place the fabric on the box front and work from the middle out to the edges releasing any air bubbles along the way. Fold the extra fabric over the top of the box to give it a clean edge.

Apply découpage glue over top of the fabric and along all of the edges to seal the edges to the cardboard. Be sure to wash the paintbrush thoroughly after use.

Measure the other sides of the box and cut a piece of fabric to fit each side. You don't have to use all the same fabric design. Mix up the fabric for a fun look. Apply the fabric using découpage glue.


Mix up the fabric for a more whimsical look, or use matching patterns and colours for a more traditional look.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Ruler
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Découpage glue
  • Paintbrush
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About the Author

Peggy Hazelwood began editing engineering reports in 1987, then textbooks for major publishers and now writes articles online. She has written business articles for the "Boulder County Business Report" and has completed writing courses through EEI and Career Track. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in speech communication from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.