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DIY Folding Felt Bins/Mini Desk Organizers Tutorial

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I try to have tutorials at least vaguely mapped out for a couple weeks ahead of time to make sure I can gather supplies, practice my ideas, get good photographs, and then put the written tutorial together. Despite my best intentions, sometimes life has other plans. This week I thought I knew exactly what I’d share, but then I was struck by a random idea that I knew I had to follow through on. Lots of paper sketches and scraps later, I came up with a super easy pattern to make your own folding felt bins. They’re great as little desk organizers, a place to drop your keys, or just a fun accessory around the house!

Easy DIY Folding Felt Bins Tutorial (with Printable!)

Even though I demonstrated making the bins with felt for this tutorial, they also work with cardstock or even watercolor paper. How cool would watercolor bins look on your desk?

DIY Mini Desk Organizers

No matter what you decide to use them for, these bins are way super quick and easy. Once you get the pattern cut out the first time, you should be able to make one in under 5 minutes. Pretty cool, huh?

As mentioned above, this tutorial shows felt, but you can use scrapbook paper, cardstock, watercolor paper, leather, or whatever else makes you happy. I left the crease lines on the downloadable paper pattern so you know where to make your folds if you’re not using felt. When using my pattern un-scaled, your bins should be about 3″ across and have sides about 1.5″ tall. You can simply scale the sheet when you print it if you’d like to change up the size.

Materials for DIY mini desk organizer bins

  • A sheet of felt (I used wool felt)
  • Scissors
  • Either sewing pins or a fine tip permanent marker
  • About 12″ of ribbon, twine, or yarn cut into two 6″ pieces
  • Folding felt mini bin pattern

supplies for making felt bins

Steps for making your own mini bins

1. Print out the bin pattern.

2. Cut your pattern along the lines marked with the pink marker in the photo below. (Your print out is black and white – I added colored lines on my copy instead of the digital version to save you some ink!). I find it easiest to cut out the whole square, then the four slits in to make the tabs, and finally the curved end portions. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting the curves, just leave the ends square. The blue lines show where you’d fold the finished box if making it from scrapbook paper, cardstock, etc. and can be ignored if you’re working with felt.

mini fabric bin pattern


fabric bin pattern cutout

3. Place your pattern on your felt and either trace it with a permanent marker or pin it in place like a regular sewing pattern and cut the design out. Once again, I think cutting the square, slits, then tabs is easiest. If your felt has a nice square corner, just line the pattern up as shown and save yourself a few cuts!

place the pattern

cut out the square

cut out fabric bin

4. Use your scissors to snip a small hole at the end of each tab.

5. Now it’s time to thread your ribbons! Tuck one of the rectangular tabs to the “inside” and then thread one end of a ribbon piece through the hole in one of the neighboring round tabs. Thread the ribbon from “inside” to “outside” and repeat with the other end of the ribbon and the hole in the opposite tab. It’s difficult to explain in words, but very easy to do – just look at the photo below!

thread the ribbons

6. Repeat step #5 with the other side of the bin.

7. Tighten the ribbons down until tabs are touching and then secure them. I like to use a square knot, but you could use a bow. Trim away extra ribbon, if you’d like.

tie the ribbons

8. Enjoy using your awesome new bin!

Easy DIY Folding Felt BinsI can think of a lot of fun uses for these little guys. What will you use them for?



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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Paige @ Little Nostalgia October 10, 2014, 02:32

    How cute and easy to make! I have a problem with my bobby pins disappearing, so I’d use it as a little “home” for them after they come out of my hair. Hahaha.

    I like Judy’s idea of making them with a few layers of fabric. I have so many scraps now and these would be perfect for some of them!

    • Natashalh October 10, 2014, 07:01

      I bet you have lots of cool scraps at home right now! Bobby pins have some sort of special disappearing ability because I can never find them again, either.

  • Edi October 10, 2014, 01:35

    How cute are these! I love that they require very few supplies and can be made in minutes! Thanks for the pattern 🙂

    • Natashalh October 10, 2014, 07:03

      Making the pattern took way longer than making all three felt bins! I went through a lot of drafts before I came up with something that actually looked proportional and useful.

  • julie October 9, 2014, 22:22

    This is such a great and versatile idea. Thank you so much for the clear tutorial. I can imagine these made of all sorts of materials and for all sorts of things. Pinning until I go “now I need a little basket, where on earth did I see that lovely felt idea!” (love pinterest!)

    • Natashalh October 10, 2014, 07:00

      I love when I Pin something for later and then actually hunt through my boards to find and use it again later. It really makes me feel like all my Pinning is justified! Thanks so much for stopping by. =)

  • Duni October 9, 2014, 21:39

    So sweet! And useful too!
    I haven’t worked with felt in quite some time – your tutorial makes me want to 🙂

    • Natashalh October 10, 2014, 07:18

      I bought a few pieces a couple months ago, but before that I hadn’t used it in years, either. It’s so much fun to use, especially when you get wool felt instead of that nasty acrylic stuff!

  • Judy Nolan October 9, 2014, 05:57

    Cute idea! These could also be done in fabric–admittedly a couple layers of fabric for body. What to put inside: pins if you sew, candy, paper clips, coin change . . . the list goes on. Great post!

    • Natashalh October 9, 2014, 06:23

      I actually almost made one with two layers of felt and a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing. It would be so easy and then you’d have a cool, two-tone bin!

      I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of change. We have too much change in random places – it’s time to put one of these to work!

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