An up-cycled blanket box

how to up-cycle a blanket box - the finished box

This week I’m sharing another up-cycling project with textiles: the transformation of a useful blanket box.

I found the box (shown below) in a charity shop painted in its original green paint and with a worn jacquard style woven green fabric on the top. It stands on four curved feet. There was a decorative handle at the front and a braid trim around the top.

The first step in the transformation was to use a tack-lifter to remove all the decorative nails around the top. I wasn’t hoping to re-use them, so I just eased them out and discarded them. I took more care with the small metal handle, however, because I wanted to put that back on.

Underneath the green fabric, I found two layers of a thick blanket which was very dusty. The layers of material had been resting on lightweight hardboard which had buckled badly, so that had to go too. I left intact the frame that supported the top (seen in the photo below) which was hinged at the back of the box.

Next came the painting. I used a chalk paint suitable for furniture and give the whole box two coats of paint, inside and out.

The hardboard was replaced with a new piece of 3mm thick board which was cut to size at the place where I bought it. This was nailed onto the frame.

Once this was done, the inside surface of the board was painted white too.

Next came foam, described as ‘Extra firm upholstery foam sheet’, which I ordered by post. I pieced and stitched together the foam as shown in the photo below and used it in a double layer on top of box.

Then came a length of woven fabric in neutral tones, with a leaf design. This was spread over the foam and pinned into place with decorative nails. I measured all round the box and divided this measurement by the number of nails in the packet (allowing for a couple of spares!). I pinned the fabric at the centre of the front and then a the centre of the back. The edge was turned under and then nailed into place.

up-cycling a blanket box - adding decorative nails
I then measured the distance from the centre to the corner and added the nails at even distances apart.

On the short sides at each end, I placed a nail at the centre, as before. Next, I made a neat fold on each corner, trimmed the excess fabric and pinned the fold into place. Then I filled in the remaining nails between the corner and centre.

Finally, the decorative handle was nailed in place (on top of the decorative nail) with two regular nails. The handle has a curved shape that fits around the moulded nail head.

This is such a useful piece of furniture. It doesn’t take up much space and it can hold all the towels used in the household (or sheets, or indeed blankets!).

I used a neutral-coloured fabric for the top as I wasn’t sure which room it would go into after our move. However, for a modern interior, a new eco-fabric from Spoonflower could be useful. It’s called ‘Recycled Canvas’: a woven fabric 54″/137cm wide, made from 50% REPREVEĀ® recycled polyester and 50% new polyester. This is a very sturdy and hardwearing fabric. Any of my designs in the Spoonflower studio here can be printed onto this fabric base. An alternative, if you prefer natural fibres is ‘Cypress Cotton Canvas’ from Spoonflower.

I think the ‘Midnight Ferns’ design would look great.

Midnight Ferns fabric design by Amanda Jane Ogden, available here

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am a quilt-maker, designer, writer and teacher.

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