How to make decorative fabric-covered boxes

Updated July 20, 2017

Decorative fabric-covered hat boxes are a beautiful accessory and a wonderful gift. Depending on what fabric pattern you use to cover the box, they are appropriate for almost anywhere in a home. They are great for holding items such as the television remote and the TV schedule so they are out of view and easy to find. Liquid starch makes the project easy and fun, and since the glue dries clear, no one is the wiser about how you made your fabric-covered box.

Place the bottom of the hatbox in the middle of the piece of fabric you wish to use to cover it. Use an opaque fabric unless you want the box to show through the fabric, and avoid light backgrounds unless covering a white box.

With the box sitting on the wrong side of the fabric, run the fabric up the outside box wall, over the rim, down the interior wall, and end a minimum of 2.5 cm (1 inch) onto the interior floor of the hatbox.

Make sure you can do this all the way around the diameter of the hatbox. Cut fabric to this size. It is not important that it be exact or neat, the cut edges will not show in the finished fabric-covered box.

Repeat with the top of the hat box. Place the round lid on top of the piece of fabric. Cut a fabric circle that will stretch across the outside top of the lid, up the short sides, over the lip and down into the inside of the lid, including a minimum of 2.5 cm (1 inch) on the lid's inside top.

Soak the cut-to-size pieces of fabric in liquid starch poured into a bowl. Make sure to saturate every inch of the fabric.

Remove box bottom fabric from the starch bath, squeezing excess starch back into the bowl.

Place the box in the middle of the starch soaked fabric, wrong side facing the outside of the box. Gently stroke the fabric into place, up the sides, folding and tucking excess fabric evenly into pleats around the perimeter of the box as necessary, making sure to press all areas firmly to make contact with the box as the starch is acting as glue. Pat the fabric over the box rim to the inside, folding and tucking as before, all the way to the bottom side of the box and out onto its bottom. Let dry.

Remove the hatbox top fabric from the starch bath, squeezing out excess into the bowl.

Lay the lid on the wrong side of the starch-soaked circle of fabric and gently stroke the fabric into place on the outside of the lid, up the short side, over the rim and down the interior of the lid. Press the remainder of the fabric onto the interior lid top, cutting small snips evenly around the raw edge up to, but not including, the side of the box to splay the fabric to lie flat. Let dry.

Using the craft knife, cut a piece of cardboard the size of the inside bottom of the box for the bottom floor liner. Hot-glue a scrap of quilt batting onto one side of the cardboard circle, and cut out a circle of matching or coordinating cotton fabric that covers the batting and wraps around to the back of the cardboard.

Place the bottom liner, batting side down, against the wrong side of the fabric circle. Pull the cut edges of the circle to the back of the cardboard circle, pleating as necessary only on the back and hot-glue the fabric edges to the cardboard. Place covered floor liner in the bottom of the box, hot-gluing it in place if desired.

Cut a piece of cardboard the size of the interior top diameter for a lid liner. Cut a circle of fabric that will cover one side of the liner and wrap around to cover a minimum of 2.5 cm (1 inch) of the back.

Soak in liquid starch and squeeze out excess. Cover one side of the lid liner, being sure to press all areas firmly to the cardboard, and fold over edge to the back. Pleat fabric on back of the liner as necessary and let dry. When dry, hot-glue in place in the top of the hatbox lid to cover all raw edges.


Don't have a hat box? You can find them at car boot sales or consignment shops, and craft stores carry a papier-mache model that works as well, if not better than its original counterpart. A blow-dryer will speed up the drying process.


Hot glue and the guns are extremely hot; use with caution.

Things You'll Need

  • Hatbox
  • Cotton fabric
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric scissors
  • Liquid starch
  • Bowl
  • Craft knife
  • Cardboard
  • Batting
  • Hot-glue gun
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About the Author

Marge Burkell is a professional artist that has been writing since 1985. Specializing in home and garden, quilting and crafts, her work has appeared in "Quilting Today," "Art to Wear" and "Craft & Needlework" as well as her own line of sewing patterns. Burkell authors multiple blogs and has written for iVillage, among other Internet sites.