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OT: covering a box with fabric

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  • OT: covering a box with fabric

    I'm making a storage box for the wife's sock knitting machine. Unfortunately, the plywood I am using turned out to be not as nice as I remember. So the outside is going to have to be finished somehow.

    One option is to fill, sand, and paint. Check.

    Another is to wrap the box in fabric. An upholstery fabric would do nicely. My concern is about the edges of the fabric. For example, if I wrap the box around the sides with a long piece of fabric, I will have to do *something* where the edges overlap. How is this done?

    More options?

  • #2
    I think that you will find that upholsterers actually make a fabric box that slides over your wooden box. It most probably would have five separate panels, with all seams finished with piping. Once covering the box, the excess fabric is turned down into the box and attached along the top edge with upholsterer's staples. Then a separate top cover is made for the lid.
    You will learn LOTS of new words trying to get a wooden box into a tight-fitting fabric box!
    Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


    • #3
      Another option is a stiff, filled cloth that doesn't unravel at the edges. Book cloth, leatherette, tolex, luggage cloth, lots of names and types available. That would be glued on. You can also glue ordinary fabric if you don't use so much that it oozes through.


      • #4
        Can you knit a sock for the box?


        • #5
          You could cover the joint with a strip of upholstery gimp.


          • #6
            Depending on the material that you choose , just get a can of spray adhesive from an art supply store , follow the directions on the can for use as they do vary (dont ask ) .

            The material needs to be cut very squarely and the joint is then pushed firmly together , wrap some straps around the box to help hold the edges of the material together until the glue cures.

            I recently made a couple of carpet covered boxes to carry some instruments thats how I learnt to glue coverings on.



            • #7
              I have covered a few boxes with fabric, lightweight wooden and plywood boxes that I wanted to be more sturdy.

              My method is to use heavy denim (from old pairs of jeans etc). I cut one piece that will completely cover the box with just one seam vertical up the back and fabric folded inside from over the top and across the bottom. I soak the fabric in white PVA glue and stretch it over the box being careful to keep it as taut as practical and of course smoothing out wrinkles. I paint it when dry. I just butt the rear seam.

              This method really strengthens the box and the texture of the fabric takes the paint well.



              • #8
                In my younger years I made a lot of cornice boards to go with the draperies that my grandmother made to support herself and my grandfather after his stroke. These were plywood, usually 5/16" or 3/8" thick, that was cut with decorative edges, covered with cotton padding, and then a drapery cloth was stretched over it, stretched around the edges, and glued and stapled on the back side. I started with the top edge, which was usually (always) straight and then worked from the center of the bottom edge toward both ends. With the decorative edges, a lot of stretching was needed to follow the curves. The cloth was slit on the rear at least every inch or two to follow the curves. The give of the fabric was enough to take care of that curvature between the slits. On inside corners in the decorative edge, I often had to very carefully slit the fabric starting at the front edge and going toward the rear and overlap the two pieces. After gluing and stapling them on the back, a small amount of white (Elmer's) glue was applied to the cut edges to prevent them from unraveling. That glue would dry clear so it would not show.

                She had some upholstery tools that were supposed to make stretching the fabric easier, but I usually just did it by hand. I left extra when rough cutting it and trimmed it with a sharp knife (X-acto) after it was stapled and glued.

                The glued and stapled edge on the rear had a lot of slits in it due to the curvature of the decorative edge and was visible if you looked for it. So some customers required that a decorative braid be used to cover it. You can find such braids in the arts and sewing places, including Wal-Mart. This would also be glued on.

                Edit: I said "stapled" above. I believe, at least when I started doing this, back in the early 60s, I used short tacks and a tack hammer with a magnetic head on one side. I switched to short staples later.
                Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 08-07-2014, 01:10 AM.
                Paul A.
                SE Texas

                And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                You will find that it has discrete steps.


                • #9
                  If you're going to use a spray glue- I've found that the cheaper cans have an inferior glue. For a good one that will hold, you'd be paying $20 for it. 3M 77 or super 77 works well. We use something called Stay-Put that works well- I don't know if you can buy it in the usual stores, but keep an eye out or ask for it. It is NOT worth it for the cheaper stuff.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't use really thin material. It would be hard to get it to lay completely flat. Start from the middle of your piece of material and use a roller to lay the material flat until the two ends meet on one of the flat surfaces in the middle not a corner. Make sure your material is long enough that when the ends meet they over lap some. Take a knife something like a box cutter and cut down the middle of the overlap being sure to cut through both pieces. Then just pull the cut end of the piece out from underneath the top piece and you will have a perfect match up of the ends. I would not just try to butt the ends up to each other.
                    Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                    How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!


                    • #11
                      How about brass shim, comes on a roll, polishes nice, ok bit extreme, the leatherete idea seems the best but i did veneer a box once with mahogany, covered it nicely and as it was in 6 foot long sheets about 10 inches wide looked good, it was a box for a 5 foot vernier calliper i fished out of the skip in work! The off cut came to cover the box for a 10 box level found the next day, i loved that skip, santas skip i called it however the blokes in the office painted Marks Office on the side!


                      • #12
                        My wife does this quite often, since box making is one of her hobbies, usually cardboard but sometimes a ply box covered. She uses quality spray glue on fabric covering, and doubles over the edge and stitches it flat if its likely to fray, then bonds that to the box, and then fits a cover piece to the inside which just sticks on top afterwards. The corners she has to cut in a certain way to get the folds to sit flat correctly, think getting it neat there is where the practice comes in. You can tell which presents have been wrapped by who in our house at xmas

                        She said if you want to make it look thicker to use a thin layer of foam to pad it, otherwise just the layer of material.
                        Ive seen the boxes she has made from fabric and cardboard, and they look very very good. Often she gives them as presents and the people she gives them don't at first realize she makes them herself.


                        • #13
                          If you want it to last, nix on the spray glue, even the good brands. Use good ole Elmers white glue.

                          Besides, it is easier to control and clean up. Washes off with water before it dries. Keep a wet rag and a small bowl of water nearby.
                          Paul A.
                          SE Texas

                          And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                          You will find that it has discrete steps.


                          • #14
                            Custom guitar amplifier makers have to do this job all the time - here's a nice "Instructables" on the subject:


                            Frank Ford


                            • #15
                              Another option...

                              Put a light coat of Bondo on the plywood, sand, and paint.