Customize storage & decorative pieces with easy-sew fabric handles.
If details are your thing, then this project is definitely for you. By making handles from fabric in your stash, you can transform just about any basic storage item or accessory with a personal touch. The handles are easy to sew, and they apply easily to the surface of your choice using Dritz Chicago screws. Use fabric scraps leftover from other decorating projects and keep that personality flowing throughout your home.
- Chicago screws
- Quick Turn
- Point turner
- Easy Grasp™ or other straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Fray Check® liquid seam sealant
- Drill and 13/64” bit
- Iron and pressing surface
- 1/8 yard of fabric (canvas or duck fabric)
- Light weight fusible interfacing
- Sewing machine and matching thread
- Box, bin or other accessory or surface
Aren’t they pretty? They’re kind of addicting to make, too.
The key ingredients are the fabric and the Dritz Chicago screws. The Chicago screws come in two finishes (brass and nickel) and two lengths (.41″ and 1″). All Dritz Chicago screws are solid brass.
Wondering about the fabric? We used a canvas for ours, and you’ll see that we specify canvas or duck in the supply list. However, you can always bolster the thickness of your fabric by choosing a fusible fleece interfacing. Also note that if you’re making handles for purely a decorative purpose, their actual thickness is less important (as long as they look good, right?).
Measure the thickness your surface where the handles will be installed to determine which length of Chicago screw best suits your specific project. If extra thickness is needed, fusible fleece can be applied to the fabric handles to make them a little thicker.
Because you can apply these handles to so many different projects, you’ll need to take some basic measurements to determine the size of handles you’ll need. We measured the depth of our wooden bin and determined that a 1.5” wide x 7″ long handle would fit the space nicely.
Next, mark desired placement of screws. Be sure to allow about ¼” to ½” flex in handle for easy grasping. Drill holes and insert the Chicago screws to test the fit.
Use this formula to calculate fabric needs based on the finished size of the handles you want to make: double width + 1” x length + 1” (this is the fabric cut and interfacing cut per handle).
Our example: for the 1.5″ wide x 7″ long handles we made, we cut 2 pieces of 4″ x 8″ fabric, and 2 pieces of 4″ x 8″ interfacing. That’s width: (1.5″ x 2) + 1″ = 4″ and length: 7″ + 1″ = 8″.
Fold in half lengthwise, right sides together. With ½” seam allowance, stitch along length leaving a 2” to 3” opening in the middle. Press seam allowances of opening along stitching line. This will allow the opening edges to align after turning.
Do not turn handles right side out yet. On both short ends, fold handle so seam is opened and centered. Stitch both ends with ½” seam allowance.
Use the Quick Turn tool to turn handles right side out. Use wooden stick to push out corners. A point turner can also help to get corners nice and sharp. Press handles flat. Hand stitch openings closed.
If desired, topstitch all the way around handle.
Insert the screw post into the hole in handle and then through hole in the side of the bin. Secure with screw back. Repeat on other side.
Take a look at your finished box with its new handles! What a difference, huh? We think this pop of color takes this storage bin up several notches for sure.
We also added fabric handles to this basic wooden tray that we bought at the craft store. If you’re applying fabric handles to a round piece, like this one, and you want the handles to extend right up to the curved edge here’s a tip: trace the curve of your surface to determine the exact angle of the curve for the handles.
Like these ideas? Be sure to check out our DIY Makeovers lookbook for more projects like this. The great thing about fabric handles is that you can use them on accessories that coordinate with more dominant pieces in your space like fabric boxes, pillows or floor cushions. All of these DIY pieces work together to give you unique decorator looks that are easy to achieve and relatively economical.