Knock Off Wall Pockets … from a box!

(Originally shared as a guest post on Ucreate)

Recognize these beauties from the Ballard Designs catalog?

adore them. I need them. I cannot afford them.

So I made my own.

May I introduce my amazingly strong  Ballard Designs inspired wall pockets made using only materials I had on hand.

Cardboard + Fabric = Catalog awesomeness for $0!


And making a sleek, customized organizer for all those homework folders/workbooks/mail/bills/receipts without spending any money makes me feel like Superwoman, even if I’m a week behind on laundry.

Want to make your own?

For the base and pockets you’ll need:


For the covering, you’ll need either paint or fabric. I originally planned on going the paint route, but my cardboard had been manhandled by my kids enough that it ended up looking like a painted, hacked apart diaper box instead of a catalog knock off.

So I went with the fabric.

I didn’t have any plain black fabric in my stash, but I did have this left over $1/yd. Walmart clearance fabric from seven years ago.

No biggie. I just flipped the fabric over and used the back.

Making the Base

Open up two medium sized cardboard boxes and glue them together with a heavy coat of spray adhesive.  Make sure the folds are facing out and offset, otherwise the base will be more likely to bend and fold along those lines.  Trim to 15 3/4” x 49 1/2”.

Fill any gaps along the folds with scrap cardboard and tape in place.  Secure the corners and sides with a few pieces of packing or duct tape to make sure the whole piece is solid.

Cut slits on the base for the pockets to slide into using the dimensions from the pattern. (Download link at end of tutorial).

Mark 1” strips on a few box flaps … cut out …

… and glue along the back edge making a frame all around the base.

Making the Pockets

Trace four pockets pieces on good, thick cardboard …

… then cut out and fold into pockets according to the pattern instructions.

Slide the pockets into the base to make sure the fit is nice and tight.

Once everything looks good, carefully remove the pockets and secure the bottom corners of each one with duct tape.  Set aside.

Covering With Fabric

Coat the front of the base generously with spray adhesive and cover with fabric, smoothing out bubbles and wrinkles until its all smooth.

Flip base over and glue fabric to the back frame using hot glue, making sure fabric is pulled nice and tight for a smooth edge.  Trim away the excess fabric.

Feel along the front of the base for the pocket tab slots and cut a single slit down the middle with an x-acto knife ( kind of like cutting a button hole.)

Your base should look like this on the front and back.

To cover the pockets, spray them liberally with spray adhesive–inside and out–and carefully smooth fabric into place, trimming away the excess material and hot gluing down seems as needed. 

Assembling & Decorating ~ The Fun Part!

Insert pockets through the precut slots …

… and glue the tabs towards the middle and top of the base with hot glue.

Touch up any gaps with marker, paint, whatever.

To personalize this design, I purposely left extra room above the top pocket so that I could add a monogram and family motto that were cut on my Silhouette.

The pockets were dressed up with simple cardstock labels cut from scraps using my Silhouette (label_1031).

To hang, I just rested the wall pockets on two existing screws that were left behind from an old FHE chart. Worked great, sort of like an impromptu french cleat.


No more piles of clutter on the TV/coffee table/counter/shelf/floor/desk. Love it.

(Download the pocket pattern with additional instructions HERE.)

Linking up to: Categorically_Crafting

61 thoughts on “Knock Off Wall Pockets … from a box!”

  1. I.LOVE.THIS!!!! I had no idea something like this could be done with cardboard!! We are just coming off a layoff of 9months and I am a stay at home mom. Time were TOUGH and it's easy to get caught up in what you don't have the money for, and feel like you are doing without. Your approach to this situation is inspiring and although my husband is working now, we have a lot of catching up to do. I will be looking at your ideas to see how I can be more frugal yet productive around here.

    Thanks so much for sharing…you rock!!!!

  2. Nike, you are awesome! I just read your entire blog and I can't say I found a single thing I hate. I love finding blogs from people with the same religious conviction (go team LDS!) and let's say I could be a little more thrifty too-I have a bazillion half made or not started craft projects too. Can't wait to make the homemade fruit snacks, among other things. God bless!—Aleisa Moses

  3. I linked this on my blog, I hope you don't mind! i LOVE all your posts! They make me itch to get crafting! I've been sewing like crazy the last few days (house went to ruins, kids went wild) and now I need to organize some of the crap in my bedroom/office/school-room/craft room/ soon-to-be nursery. These will definitely help! Thanks! Bowing to your awesome-ness! 😉

  4. Brilliant!!! I am in love, you are my hero! I have been working on my office forever and it's taking sooo long because the budget is just not there. This is fabulous!!!

  5. OMG- these are perfect. I'm hosting a Back to School Blog Bash the next 2 weeks and this would be a perfect project to help parents make that transition a little less stressful. Would you be willing to guest post?

    My blog is and my email is littled.tales(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. This is great! If you could see my homeschool area, desk and counters you would shutter! I'm making this for sure – not to find what kind of fabric I have. This will eliminate all the boxes I have laying around as well! TFS awesome tutorial

  7. OMG! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I SO need this 🙂 I cannot for the life of me figure out how to download the pattern though… Would you mind emailing it to me or explaining WHAT I am doing wrong? Thanks!! meiersjs at comcast dot net

  8. I love this! So professional-looking! I cannot download this unless I pay or upload something to Scribd. Could you please send me the pattern and instructions? I'd really love to make this!

  9. I just found your site. You are brilliantly inspiring. I had been in a rut, and totally overwhelmed. You have inspired me to MOVE!!!! Thank you so very much. Good luck to you and your family

  10. Wow! This is simply brilliant. You have a visionary's eye – to see such a lovely arrangement of ordinary items is a real skill. It makes me think of the way my grandmother's WWII generation looked at the possibility in everything. Here's to reviving that resourceful spirit!

  11. You. You are a genius. I have wanted this wall pocket shelf for *years* and *years.* I think I love you. In a good way of course. LOL. Seriously, this is incredibly clever and one of those things where I am looking at it wondering why didn't I think of that??? I am going to make this TODAY!!!

    Thanks again!!

  12. Having the same problem as the other ladies above, unable to download… Would LOVE to make this, please share the pattern via another format/service? Thanks, you are absolutely genius! =)

  13. As with the others above, I'd love to download the pocket pattern but not enough that I'll subscribe to Scribd. 🙂 So, I'd really love it if you want to email me (email in my profile) or use another file sharing service, like Google Docs or (I use and adore it!). Both are free for you and for others to download.

    Thanks for an AWESOME project!!

  14. Also taking a look at this. I can't even get this Scribd thing to let me log in in FF, and when I log in in IE, I can't make the download link work…any chance you have it somewhere else?

  15. Hi Ladies, You don't need to be a paid member of Scribd to download the document. All you need to do is click on the last link of the membership pop up. This will allow you to upload your own document and give you full reign of Scribd 🙂 I hope this helps!

  16. It wont allow me to download either.

    Says you must be a premium member to download this file. I tried where you could do it for free if you uploaded a file, but won't let me bypass without uploading something.

    If you can, would you please email me the file(s)?

    Love your blog and this project. Can't wait to get started. My daughter wants me to make it for her classroom.



  17. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea. I have been re-decorating a wall, and all I needed were these, but they were too expensive to guy, So I am SO happy to stumble accross your project. I'm wondering, How are they holding up after some wear and tear?
    I am so excited to make this, but as the previous comments state, we can't download the pattern. If you would send me the information that would be grately appreciated. You have some fantastic ideas and I just started following you on Pinterest. Keep up the good work.

  18. This is so awesome! I am hoping mine will turn out as well as yours! I too was wondering if you could e-mail me the pattern for the pockets. I hope it's not too much to ask. You are truly inspiring! (

  19. This is incredible! I was going to buy on Ballard but 1) very expensive and 2) about an inch deeper than my space will allow. Any chance that you would consider making these wall pockets to purchase? No doubt that you could sell them, and I'd like to be your first customer!

  20. This is amazing! We just DIYd our kitchen, and I want something for the wall to organize school papers and such. I am not handy with the woodworking tools, so when I stumbled upon your site, I was thrilled. I have a giant box from a grill on hand (very sturdy) and have the perfect fabric. I tried going on Scribd, but without subscribing, I can't download. And, right now, I don't have anything to upload to the site in order to download for free. I see that many have asked you to e-mail them the pocket templates. Can I jump on that bandwagon — please, please, please?! Pretty please?! This wish-I-could-be-more-crafty-but-don't-have-the-skills girl would be extremely grateful to have the templates to try her hand at this! My e-mail is Or, if you have set up a location on Google Docs or something for people to access the templates, please enlighten me. Thanks again for your wonderful posts. I am so glad I found your site. You certainly are a talented woman!

  21. Hi there! I came to your blog from your feature on I Heart Organizing. I am thoroughly inspired by your tutorials! I would love to make this. However, just as many have previously stated, I cannot download the tutorial in order to print the pocket template. Would you be able to email it to me? I would be ever so greatful! If so, please send to Thank you in advance! God Bless you!!!

  22. I know This post is from 2011, but is there any way to get the pattern and instructions. Scribd says file has been removed when I click on it. Love your version of these wall pockets and would really like to make one.Thanks!

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