Making Fabric Cubes – Baby Toys, Door Stops & Ottomans!

Earlier this year I embarked on another of my mammoth sewing room re-organization exercises (I do this at least once a year!).

This year part of this exercise was not just reorganizing how I store my fabric and notions but also de-stashing by selling fabric I wouldn’t use and stash busting.

Stash busting basically just means making a bunch of relatively quick projects to clear the decks and start fresh with less clutter.

One of those projects was making different-sized fabric cubes.

These cubes can be used as baby toys, door stops, and even foot stools or ottomans!

I ended up making all of these – I used the same technique just in different sizes to use up a bunch of fabric as well as stuffing them with leftover batting and sewing trimmings.

Any cube has 6 equal sides so we’ll start with the smallest size I made and move up from there – so essentially this is one tutorial for 3 projects!

fabric cube projects
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Baby Toy Cube

The first cube I sewed was a baby toy. You know the little soft cubes they can squish and rattle?

Materials used:

  • (6) 5″ Charm Pack Squares (mine were mixed from different packs)
  • (6) 5″ Squares of Batting
  • Quilt Batting Trimmings for Stuffing
  • (2) toy rattle inserts

Step 1: Lay out your squares

To start, arrange your 6 squares of fabric right side down in a cross or lower case t formation. The 4 squares in the long line will be the sides and the two sides of the t arms will be the top and bottom of the cube.

In reality a cube of course can have many ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’ depending which way you turn it but I found it easier to think of it this way!

Step 2: Quilt your sides (optional)

sewing a baby toy cube
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

This step is totally optional but I chose to lightly quilt my charm pack squares onto batting of the same size. I just did straight-line quilting.

Step 3: Sew squares together in a ‘t’ shape

sewing a cube
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Sew the 4 squares for your sides in a row with a 1/4 seam allowance.

For the two side ‘arms’ of your ‘t’ attach the remaining squares by sewing from seam to seam – you will have a tiny bit of extra on either end from these two charm pack squares but don’t worry about those as you’ll sew them later.

P.S this is going to make a soft-cornered cube, not a sharp-cornered cube.

Step 4: Sew together the sides to form your cube

how to sew a fabric cube
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Now with your fabric right sides to right sides start sewing together sides that are closest to each other.

I found it was easiest to start at a seam and end at the ‘loose’ end (the end of the square where nothing has been sewn to it yet – hope that makes sense!).

Continuing to sew the sides together with the wrong side out, eventually, you will have something that looks like a floppy inside-out box with a floppy lid that you is only attached on one side.

turning gap for fabric cube
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

At this point sew your remaining sides seam to seam as before but when you get to the last side leave a 2-3″ turning gap. Reverse stitch at either end so your stitches don’t pop when you turn it right side out.

Step 5: Fill your Cube

Turn your cube right side out and start filling.

You can use batting scraps, fabric trimmings or polyfill (in a pinch) to fill your baby toy cube.

If your batting scraps are large you might want to cut them up quickly with your scissors a little before stuffing to make sure the filling stays even inside.

When the cube is about halfway filled pop in 1 or 2 toy rattle inserts to give your baby toy a fun rattle sound for baby. I always add two!

Finish filling until you almost can’t pull the turning gap together but you still can.

Step 6: Close your turning gap

Lastly, all you need to do is close that turning gap.

Fold the raw edges inside the cube and use clips or pins to hold the folded edges together.

Then hand stitch shut to finish your cube.

Apologies for the quality of the finished toy photos – somehow I didn’t take a clear photo before I gave this one away as a gift! You can see it better in my 12 Stashbuster Projects video here.

fabric baby cube
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love
fabric baby toy
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

These make fab new baby gifts and they are super quick to make! Older kids tend to like them too!

Doorstop Cube

fabric doorstop
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

After I made my baby toy I went on to make a large doorstop – and I didn’t need to use rice or beans to fill it either.

Materials used:

  • (6) 10″ fabric squares (I used some Alison Glass panels and some leftover outdoor fabric but layer cake squares would work too).
  • (4) 10″ squares of batting (I lightly quilted the panel sides on to the batting but not the top and bottom of the cube).
  • For the stuffing, I used fabric trimmings from my very large thread catcher bin. This included fabric trimmings, thread, seams, zipper ends, batting scraps, etc.

How to Make it

The sewing instructions are exactly the same as above for the baby toy only the sides are longer and you need more filling.

fabric trimmings
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I seriously packed the filling in for this one – continually pushing it down and adding more so that by the time I closed the gap it was very firm.

filling a fabric doorstop
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

This gave the cube a good weight and means it can be used as a doorstop – full disclosure I was trying to make a footstool but when I realized it was far too small for that I decided it was definitely a doorstop and proceeded to stuff it accordingly!

Fabric trimmings are surprisingly heavy!

Fabric Ottoman Cube

Lastly in my stash-busting quest, I decided to supersize the sides to make what I thought would be a good-sized footstool. It turned out rather larger and it is definitely more what you would call an Ottoman!

Materials used:

  • (6) 23″ Squares (I actually used one extra as I lined the top square on my ottoman as it was made of hessian coffee sack material so it needed an extra layer).
  • Filling – batting scraps, cushion filling old clothes, fabric trimmings, anything soft you aren’t using to save it from going in the bin!

I had one side of a hessian coffee sack in my stash plus my mother-in-law’s old kitchen roller blinds (yes I am the person everyone gives their unwanted fabric trash to!).

sewing an ottoman
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I also had a white thickish curtain lining type fabric that I had gotten as part of a big eBay haul.

Even with all that I still needed some more fabric for the sides so I used some solid brown fabric that I wasn’t really using (also ignore the mess in the photo – doesn’t everyone’s sewing room look like this in the middle of a project?).

large ottoman
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

Why 23″?

Because that was the biggest square I could cut out of the coffee sack. In reality, it was probably a tad on the large size.

20″ would probably be sufficient for a large ottoman that you want to use as a footstool or to hold a breakfast tray or something.

Mine is large enough to use as an occasional seat!

ottoman footstool
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

See my 12 Stashbuster projects video if you want a better visual!

How to make it

This cube was made exactly the same way as the others except that I literally had to hunt around the house for things to stuff it with.

Here is what ended up inside:

  • All my remaining batting scraps
  • All my remaining fabric trimmings
  • The innards of my old maternity pillow
  • Old bunched-up cushion inserts that I didn’t have the heart to throw away and had vacuum bagged away for storage
  • Old clothes unfit for donation

In short, I had a lot more soft waste around my house than I thought and it is all in this cube now!

So I now have an empty thread catcher bin (mine is actually a laundry basket size), and lots more free storage around my house where all of that stuff was taking up space.

Other types of cubes you can make

The same technique can be turned into multiple items with a little bit of tweaking including:

  • fabric storage cubes – use fusible interfacing or fusible fleece to make the sides rigid and leave off the top square
  • soft storage cube – sew the same as the projects above but add a zipper to one side and don’t fill it. You can use it to store spare cushions, sheets, towels, etc.
  • Small pattern weights – go even smaller and fill with something heavy like rice or pebbles.
  • Perpetual calendar – make several cubes with numbered & labeled sides to make a soft squishy perpetual calendar.
  • For any cube project – make an inner cube repeating the steps above and then make a matching outer cube with a zipper for a removable washable cover.

What type of cube would you make? And what would you fill it with?

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