DIY Canvas Planter / Storage Bin


HELLO AGAIN from a long hiatus from DIY projects! Same story as always - other priorities start to take over my life and I fall behind on my DIY to-do list! I've finally started to have a couple weekends free - thank GOODness for that summer slow-down. I've been trying to find some basket or storage bin for this big snake plant in my bedroom, since that green plastic planter is no eye candy, but it's been really hard to find something that fit it perfectly and didn't look gigantic at the same time. So with some free time on my hands, I decided to make my own canvas planter! (And then I made a mini one for a different plant, since it was so easy.) Keep on reading for the full DIY tutorial! 


While a sewing machine would have been faster (and probably straighter), this was still a pretty quick and easy project, even with hand sewing. Thank you, big stitches! :) And if you're really not confident in your sewing skills, you could actually probably get away with stapling the fabric together!

Time: 2-3 hours
Cost: Around $15

Things you will need:
- White cotton canvas / duck fabric
- Paint pens, sharpies, and/or acrylic paint (doesn't have to be special fabric ones)
- White thread and needle
- Scissors
- Measuring tape
- String and pencil
- (Optional) Iron and ironing board
- (Optional) Webbing (to make top of canvas sturdier - I didn't use it, but might be helpful for large storage bins)

How much fabric? 1 yard is plenty for a small or medium sized storage bin (less than 1 foot diameter and 1 foot height). 2 yards should be enough for a larger storage bin (2 feet diameter, 2 feet height), and you probably don't want to go bigger than that!


Cutting your pieces
The storage bin essentially consists of two pieces: a circle for the bottom, and a rectangle to create a cylinder. This is the step that probably requires the most thinking.

What measurements exactly for those pieces? Time for a geometry refresher! Simply measure the diameter of the size storage bin you want, and the height.

For the rectangle, you want the sides to measure:
- Length: Height + 4 inches (for sewing/wiggle room/folding at the top) 
- Width: The circle circumference, which is approximately diameter x 3.5.
So, for my storage bin, I wanted it to be 20 inches in diameter, so my rectangle was 23" x 70".

For the circle, my technique for cutting was to start with a square.

  1. First cut a square where each side measures your diameter + 3 inchesfor sewing/wiggle room. (For my desired diameter of 20", I cut a square with each side measuring 23")
  2. Fold the square in half, and then fold it in half again so that the fabric is folded into fourths and you have a smaller square
  3. Tie a piece a string to a pencil ((a makeshift compass, like you did in elementary school!)
  4. Divide your diameter in half, add 1 inch to get your radius, and hold your piece of string at that length. (Mine was 11", which was 20" divided by 2, plus 1".)
  5. Anchoring your string at the corner of your square (where the center of the whole piece is) with one hand, and holding the pencil in your other ), draw an arc from one side to another.
  6. Cut along the line you drew!

If your circle is too big to fit in your cut of fabric (as mine was), you may have to do two half circles and sew them together - which means that in step 2 above, you'll have two rectangles just folded in half, rather than one square folded in fourths.


All right. Once you're done cutting, this DIY is pretty simple - just decorate and sew!

  1. Cut fabric into two pieces: circle (for the bottom) and rectangle (for around), following the above instructions. Iron fabric (which, I clearly forgot to do before taking pictures) to eliminate any creases.
  2. Decorate rectangle fabric piece with designs - I used black and gold sharpies and paint to make a repeating triangle pattern, and you can also use stamps if you want a more even design. Let dry
  3. Sew two ends of rectangle to create a cylinder, inside out. If necessary, pin your fabric together to make stitching easier and straighter
  4. Sew cylinder to circle piece, again inside out. Pinning the fabric together before sewing is even more helpful here - but honestly, you won't be able to tell if it's not perfect! 
  5. Turn right side out to hide stitch and show off your pattern!
  6. Fold and iron the top edge down to create clean edge on the top. If you bought webbing, you'll need to sew again - cut the webbing to the right circumference, place it under the fold, and sew along the edge to secure.