pimp my sewing box

design, family, general crafts, sewing

If you don’t watch a lot of MTV’s show “Pimp My Ride,” you might not know the meaning of the verb “pimp.”  “Pimp” means to fix up something in a fancy way to the liking of its owner. So last summer, when our daughter developed an interest in sewing, we decided that we needed to make a storage box for all of her projects. Knowing that she loves pink and big bold prints and that Christmas was coming, we decided that we should pimp up an Ikea toy storage box to make her a sewing box that she’d be excited to use.

We had gotten the storage box several years ago during one of those Ikea specials and I think that we paid a whopping $5-7 for it.

Once we decided on the box I immediately thought “Mod Podge.” Not that I had ever used Mod Podge, but I had always been looking for an excuse to, so this seemed to be the time and project to give it a go. If you’ve never used it, it’s both an adhesive and a sealer that adheres fabric and paper to wood and other surfaces. Mod Podge is applied with a brush and goes on milky white before drying clear. It’s mostly used for decoupage but we thought it would be perfect for this as well.

We decided on the matte finish and some fabrics by Jane Sassaman and Kaffe Fassett, as well as some solids on the corners.

We spray painted the inside light pink before we assembled it. Particle board is just a sponge for spray paint but it was still better than the generic brown we started out with.

We cut panels to the exact size of the pieces of the Ikea box and painted the Mod Podge on the individual pieces of the box before laying the fabric on the wet surfaces.

It’s a million times easier to do this with everything flat and then assemble it once all of the pieces are dry.

Later, we assembled the box and did a couple of coats of Mod Podge as a sealer on top of the fabric. We sanded it down with fine sand paper between coats. This means that we’ll be able to wipe the box clean and that the raw edges of the fabric on the panels won’t ravel or look ratty over time.

We even Mod Podged a little gift tag so she’ll remember when we made it for her.

Knowing that this box would be residing in our studio under our long-arm quilting machine, we decided to put casters on it so she can wheel it to and from the sewing machine and cutting tables. We got the casters at Ikea also.

Our daughter loves to have special places for things so we thought it would be fun to put some smaller boxes inside the larger one so she’d have a place for threads and trims, separate from her projects. So our last purchase at Ikea were some small storage boxes that can stack inside the larger one. After a stop at a fabric store to get some sparkly threads, fancy trims and age-appropriate sewing materials, we organized the box and wrapped it up.

The best thing to me about this box is that it gives her a place in the studio to sew things on her own. By providing her with her own materials and storage we’re trying to create a space for her where she can explore. When Bill was our daughter’s age, his father gave him a similar box, only with scraps to practice soldering and miscellaneous materials from which to build things. Decades later he says that box was one of the best gifts he ever got for Christmas.

Now if we were really serious about “pimping” this sewing box we would have put shiny, spinning rims on the casters. Maybe next Christmas…

11 thoughts on “pimp my sewing box

  1. Serious about pimping would require blue rope light on the bottom of the box to illuminate the floor!

    Must have been something in the air, because we gave Max a ‘workshop’ for Christmas – a table and storage in the basement for projects.

  2. What a great idea and thoughtful and cherised gift, thanks for showing us this. I’ve always wanted to try Mod Podge (and have a home dec project that could use it) so this encourages me to try it!

  3. What a fabulous gift she will cherish forever! I love how it turned out and the time and love that went into it. BTW my girlfriend ordered me your new book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Smile!

  4. I’ll bet Sophie is a happy girl! What a fun and useful gift. Now I’m thinking of one for me – it would keep sewing supplies close by, but out of sight.

  5. Great idea. When I was growing up my mother had a scrap pile in a chest in our basement. We were allowed to use any fabric in there, and it was great fun.

    But this box is fabulous, and I’m jealous. I may have to make one for myself — perhaps to replace the stool in my entranceway….

    Thanks for posting such detailed information. I would have tried to decoupage it after it was assembled, but this way makes more sense.

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