DIY Pencil Cup - Fabric Covered Can Tutorial

Monday, April 30, 2012

I recently got a little photo shelf for above my desk. It has made a world of difference since I have a pretty tiny desk. I wanted some containers to put pens, scissors, etc. in on the shelf, but I didn't really want to spend $8-15 on the ones I like in stores. I had covered a few old tin cans in scrapbook paper for Gavin's art table, which gave me the idea to use fabric to cover some for myself. It's pretty easy and looks a little nicer than just paper, in my opinion. I know you could probably figure it out on your own, but I decided to walk you through it anyways. :)

What you need:

an empty tin can (lid & label removed, washed & dried)
iron & ironing board
glue gun

How to make it:

Lay your tin can on fabric and roll it long, starting at the end, to roughly measure the amount of fabric you need to cover the tin can. It should have half to one inch extra on all sides. It doesn't need to be perfectly straight (see mine)!

Fold the edge you want to be on top over about half an inch and iron it flat. Make sure the fold it straight.

Place the fabric around your can, with the fold going over the top edge of the can. Check if your fabric is too long (mine was, between the blue arrows is all overlap, there should only be a little) and if it is too wide (sticking down past the bottom, which it should be). You can mark it or just eyeball it, but take note of the excess fabric.

Now trim off the overlap along the side (the amount between the blue arrows above). There should only be about half an inch overlap. Keep one of these side edges nice and straight because it will show.

Now iron the bottom edge up so that it will sit right at the bottom of the can.

All along the top, where the fabric folds over, cut out little triangles so that the fabric will sit nicely along the curve of the can.

And now get gluing! I couldn't take photos of myself gluing, so I'll have to walk you through this part...

I started by putting the top edge in place and then gluing along the edge of the fabric that will be covered, so it stayed in place. Next I glued along the bottom edge, making sure not to  wrinkle the fabric or pull the top part down. When I had almost glued all the way along the bottom I stopped (with about 1 inch left) and went to the top. You can lift a couple of the little flaps at a time and put some hot glue inside the top edge of the can and then stick the flaps down. Do this all the way around, leaving one or two flaps unattached. Now finish up the bottom and do the vertical edge of the fabric. Try your best not to use too much glue or it will ooze out. Finally, glue the last inner flaps down.

Now fill it up and you're done! The seam where the fabric meets is pretty sloppy on mine, so it faces the wall. As long as it stays put, no one will ever know. :)

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