How To Upcycle Storage Containers Easily and on a Budget

Share it with others!

Who doesn’t love a DIY project that upgrades the look of a household item at practically no cost? I know I do!

This post may contain affiliate links, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Click here for my disclosure policy

Today, I’m sharing an easy and affordable way to upcycle storage containers. This handy hack can glam up your storage bins and hide what’s inside at the same time!

Can you tell how excited I am to show you my plastic drawer makeover? These plastic containers were such a breeze to revamp and the results blew me away. I mean, what a difference can just a few craft supplies make!

Upcycle Storage Containers Video

I'm sharing an easy and inexpensive way to upcycle storage containers. You can hide what's inside and give it a face lift at the same time.

Plastic Storage Container Upcycle Prepping

I have these 3 drawer storage containers set up in multiple spots throughout our home.

Sometimes I like that I can see what’s in the drawer, but most of the time, not really. So, I decided to change things up!

If you want to go from ugly plastic storage drawers to modern storage solutions in a few minutes, start by gathering supplies.

Here's the original container before upcycling

Upcycle Storage Containers Materials

DIY Plastic Drawer Makeover Steps

Once you have all the supplies and equipment ready, you can move on to the steps below:

Step 1: Create a Drawer Pattern

I pulled out the plastic bins and used butcher paper to trace the outline of the front side of the clear plastic drawers. I ended up with a pretty accurate pattern to work with.

I used butcher paper to trace the front of my drawer to make a pattern.

Step 2: Take Measurements

I measured from the top of the drawer down to the handle, and it was about 2 1/2″. 

The indent portion of the bottom half of the drawer would take more contact paper than the upper portion, so I had to cut my pattern in unequal halves to accommodate the difference.

Measuring the top down to the handle, for butcher paper template.

Step 3: Cut, Trace, and Cut Again

After measuring, I cut my pattern out and traced the pattern onto the back of the contact paper.

I cut my pattern out with scissors.

Then, I cut the contact paper.

I then traced my pattern onto the back of the contact paper and cut the contact paper.

I then traced my pattern onto the back of the contact paper and cut the contact paper.

I pulled off the backing and put both 1/2 on the front of the drawer.
I used the white electrical tape to cover the lines of the two sections.

Step 4: Stick and Trim

Now was the time to peel the backing off the contact paper and place both halves on the drawer front.

To cover the line between the two contact paper sections, I used white electrical tape. You can use a different tape color depending on the colors of your contact paper.

Finally, I trimmed off the extra contact paper using a razor blade/X-Acto knife.

completed upcycled storage container with gray and white contact paper

The Finished Product

Here it is all finished, and I love the way it turned out! 

It is a fantastic way to hide what’s inside the drawer, and if you want a quick way to remember what you put in there, use label makers to add a simple clue to the front of each drawer. 

This DIY project is so easy, but its impact is big. It brings new life to the storage unit with just a few items from the dollar store. I’m thrilled to have created one of the easiest plastic drawer makeovers and covered the clear plastic surfaces!

Other options you can use to give your plastic storage bins makeovers include:

  • Scrapbook paper with spray adhesive
  • Acrylic paint
  • Drop cloth
  • Gold spray paint
  • Washi tape

How to Make Plastic Storage Bins Look Nice

When it comes to enhancing the appearance of boring old plastic storage bins, you may be wondering some of the following common questions:

How Do You Give a Storage Container a Makeover?

You just have to be creative to work with what you have. In most cases, covering the front face of the container with a pattern or design does the trick!

Can You Paint Plastic Storage Bins?

Yes, you can paint plastic storage bins, but make sure the paint you use is safe for plastic.

How Do You Decorate Plastic Storage Containers?

I measured the drawer and cut the contact paper to fit on the front of the plastic drawers. Then, I placed it on the front of the drawer.

How Do You Make Plastic Storage Bins Look Good?

I used contact paper on my storage containers to hide what’s inside and give it a nice appearance. You could Mod Podge fabric or paper on the front as well as the sides. You can also spray paint them with a plastic-safe paint.

Upcycle Storage Containers Video

Here you can see me create this video with Hometalk

Shop any of these stores and I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Sterilite 3-Drawer Storage ...Shop on Amazon Con-Tact Brand Creative Cov...Shop on Amazon Electrical Tape 3/4" x 66' ...Shop on Amazon Home Logic Paisley Storage ...Shop on Amazon Fire 7 Tablet (7" display, ...Shop on Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Generation) -...Shop on Amazon

Wrapping Up

I have placed and used my upcycled storage units all over my home, including the craft room, bathroom, closets, kitchen, family room, kid’s rooms, toy room, office, and laundry room.

This goes to show just how versatile this plastic storage container upgrade hack is, so don’t hesitate to try it yourself! 

Find out “What Exactly Does It Mean To Repurpose Or Upcycle“, save money, and create the most amazing things.

How To Upcycle Storage Containers

If you have any plastic storage containers, you can easily update them with inexpensive contact paper.
Course DIYs
Keyword how to upcycle storage containers, upcycle storage containers
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 1 Container
Author Chas
Cost $15-20


  • Scissors
  • Razor blade
  • Pencil
  • ruler


  • 1 unit The drawers you want to upcycle
  • 1 roll Contact paper of your choice
  • 1 piece Regular paper/butcher paper
  • 1 roll Electrical tap


  • Use butcher paper to trace the front of your drawer to make a pattern.
  • Measure the top down to the handle.
  • Cut your pattern out (two halves).
  • Trace the pattern onto the back of the contact paper and cut the contact paper.
  • Pull off the backing and put both sections on the front of the drawer.
  • Use the colored electrical tape to cover the lines of the two sections.
  • Trim off the extra contact paper using a razor blade/X-Acto knife.
  • Enjoy your new container!

Transforming storage containers into functional and aesthetically pleasing units is a fantastic way to contribute to the ethos of sustainability. One of the key aspects of this process is the concept of reuse. Instead of discarding items like cardboard boxes, yogurt containers, or tin cans into the recycling bin, we can explore their potential for a second life. The lids of containers, often overlooked, can serve as excellent building blocks for creating innovative storage solutions.

For instance, a soda tub with a tight seal can be repurposed into the perfect size for storing leftover snacks in the fridge. Glass jars, typically destined for the recycling bin, find new purpose as charming herb containers. Mason jars, with their timeless appeal, can be used for pantry organization, showcasing a clever way to store various staples like flour or small toys.

The process of upcycling storage containers doesn’t just stop at aesthetics. It extends to functionality as well. Plastic tubs, often seen as mere food storage, can become ideal shelves when creatively arranged. Diaper boxes, with a bit of inspiration, can be transformed into stylish organizers for office supplies, complete with paper clips and pens neatly tucked away.

When it comes to cleanliness, a quick wash with soapy water is usually all it takes to revive containers before their makeover. The dishwasher becomes a valuable tool in this journey, ensuring that even items like milk jugs or coolers can be repurposed efficiently.

For those looking to add a personal touch, ribbons, markers, and even yarn can be employed to enhance the visual appeal of these storage units. Each upcycled creation becomes a unique gift, showcasing the effort and thought put into transforming what might have been considered junk into treasures.

In conclusion, the upcycling journey presents plenty of opportunities to turn everyday items into functional storage solutions. Whether it’s transforming a cardboard box into a decorative shelf or repurposing a yogurt container into a charming herb pot, the possibilities are endless. So, the next time you consider purchasing storage solutions, take a moment to explore the potential lying dormant in your recycling bin.


I'm sharing an easy and inexpensive way to upcycle storage containers. You can hide what's inside and give it a face lift at the same time.

Share it with others!

Similar Posts


  1. I have one of those. Great idea to make it look better!

    1. Thank you Linda. Sometimes you want to see what’s inside, and sometimes you want to hide the mess 🙂

  2. That’s a brilliant idea. I would rather prefer not seeing the mess.

    1. Thank you so much, and thanks for stopping by.

  3. That looks very nice! I’ve never been a fan of the look those basic storage drawers but somehow they always manage to hold the things that would be so much easier to access if they were outside a closet, lol.

    1. Thank you Ashley, I so agree. I have a few of them to store my crafting and sewing supplies and just thought I’d give it a try to hide some of the “stuff”. 🙂

  4. What a great idea! My daughter has drawers like this in her room and we were trying to think of a way to make them look a little better! Found It! Pinned. We just started the Whisk It Wednesday link party and I thought you might be interested in sharing there too! Thanks, Carrie

    1. Thank you Carrie, and thank you for the invite. I’d love to stop by 🙂

    1. Thank you, and I love Merrier Monday 🙂 Can’t wait to see what everyone is making next week.

  5. how long do you think it would take the average person to do this?

    1. Hi Skyy, so this was my first try at this. It took me about 25 minutes to do the whole 3 drawer set, and taking my time with it. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    2. Thanks for posting this great idea!! Just curious how these have held up over time? I did this to a small drawer cart in my closet and over time the edges started to peak up. I’m thinking of mod podging using the furniture formula, but wanted to know what suggestions you or anyone reading this may have. Thank you

      1. Thank you Nicky, and they’ve held up great, I have 2 of them that I did and I use them all of the time. If you are having trouble with peeling, Mod Podge is a great solution. A quick fix might even be spray adhesive like Mod Podge sealer, Mod Podge Ultra, etc.

  6. Fabulous way to dress up a plain storage container!! Love the contact that you chose!

    Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous upcycle with us over at Waste Not Wednesday!

    1. Thank you Sam, and the contact paper came from Dollar Tree – added bonus! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I have some of these drawers and definitely need to do this. Thanks so much for linking at To Grandma’s House We Go link party! Your project has been pinned. We hope to see you again this Wednesday!

    1. Thank you Sheri, and thank you for the Pin. I’ll be sure to be there again, thanks for having me.

    1. Thank you Jess, and thanks for the invitation – I’d love to share 🙂

  8. I love the pattern you chose, Chas! I’m working on my linen closet and I will look for a neutral pattern like that too.

    1. Thank you Zaleina, and I would love to see yours when you are finished with them.

  9. julie hogan says:

    Thank you for this wonderful idea. I have several of these various places in the home. Now I will be able to decorate each one to the decor of the room. Thank you again.

    1. Thank you Julie – if you decide to try it, please send me pictures 🙂

  10. It’s totally transformed! What a great idea to use the contact paper. Did you know that here in the UK we call it sticky backed plastic!

    1. Thank you Julie, and I didn’t know that. What a fun name for it, thanks for telling me, I learned something new today 🙂

  11. I love this idea. I have one in the kitchen full of spices and cookie cutters. I also am using one for a night stand. This project will dress them up so they feel more like custom furnishings. Thank you. You did a beautiful job.

    1. Thank you Phyllis, and I’d love to see pictures of yours if you give it a try 🙂

    2. I’ve had these done like this for 8 years If you get tired just hange the paper. Heaped than new dressers!

  12. I’m confused on how to do the handle again and wondering if itwould be the same if I just put the contact paper straight onto the draws. Advice pls. I have 3 of them so it would tk me much longer lol. I love the idea tho.

    1. Hi Rose, you can put the contact paper inside the drawer but the sticky side will be what is attaching to the drawer so to have the pattern side facing out you would need to come up with a different way to attach it – like Mod Podge. I do have the video that you can watch which might help you with the handles. I made a pattern with regular paper and then cut my contact paper to match. The electrical tape is what covered the seam between the top and bottom piece.

  13. Sharon Smith says:

    Love this. Am going to Dollar Store today to buy contact paper for 3 of them. One of them is in my home office and the sides show, so I think I’m going to cover them also. Thanks for the great idea.

    1. Thanks Sharon and I’m so excited you want to give it a try 🙂

  14. I love the way you gave your storage bins such an amazing face lift. These bins are great but are a real eyesore. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thank you so much Catherine, I’m so excited with the way they turned out 🙂

  15. I’ve done something similar with paper or materail inside the drawer

  16. This is such a grand idea… I love it and will try it soon. So glad to hop over here from the link up today. Happy Blogging! I will share this in Pinterest!

    1. Thank you Susan, thanks for the Pin and stopping by. I would love to see pictures of yours when you’re done 🙂

  17. Such a great way to ‘pretty-up’ those drawers! Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJs!

    1. Thank you Ann, and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  18. What an amazing transformation. It doesn’t look like a plastic cart at all anymore. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday.

    1. Thank you so much Jenny, I am excited how they turned out. Thanks for stopping by

  19. This is so brilliant. I have several of these type of bins and I really need to do this! Love it.

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer, I really fell in love with the transformation just a little contact paper made.

  20. I’ve always thought those storage containers could be nicer to look at, and you’ve really done it, Chas! Sharing on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page!

    1. Thank you so much April I appreciate the share and I always enjoy your party. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  21. That is a great idea for obscuring the contents of the storage containers. I think that you could make something out of nothing over and over again!

    1. Thank you Amy, it was great to cover up the “messy” appearance of what was inside.

  22. That looks great. I have so many of these drawers on my craft shelves, and they would look so much nicer this way. For some reason, I never even thought to cover them.

    1. Thank you Pam, I’m really enjoying their new look – plus hiding all the clutter that was in them.

      1. I’ve featured it today at TFT – congrats!

        1. You are so very sweet Pam, thank you so much!

  23. I’ve had this on my list to-do list in my craft room forever as I have lots of these plastic storage containers. You’ve motivated me to finally get this done! Have a happy Easter!

    1. Thank you so much Allyson, I’m thrilled you want to give it a try too 🙂 Happy Easter!

  24. Great idea! Just put one in my office yesterday, and something like this would really make it stand out! Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much Sarah and I’m thrilled you like the idea too.

  25. Great idea! I love that that you can see through the bins when you’re using them in a craft room. But yes, in some spots it would be better to hide the contents.

    Thanks for sharing with Creative Compulsions!

    1. Thank you Michelle, I agree with you entirely – sometimes you want to see inside and other times not so much.

  26. I have several of these unsightly storage containers in my home office. Great idea for dressing them up!

    1. Thank you so much Marie, I’m thrilled you like it.

  27. I have two of these cabinets I really should move to my craft room instead of letting them collect dust in the basement. Maybe a project like this will motivate me to do that. They look great. #HomeMattersParty

    1. Thank you so much Donna, I’m thrilled you like it and might give it a try.

  28. Lovely diy Chas – those drawers look so much better! 🙂 Congrats on your feature at Thursday Favorite Things! I knew I recognized that project! ❤️ Take care and stay safe!

    1. Thank you so much Barbara! I’m so thrilled for the feature and love how these turned out.

  29. I have one for my little granddaughters clothes I lined the inside with pink strip wrapping paper. Bit it doesn’t fit exact. I’ve been thinking I might redo and this would be perfect. Thanks

    1. Thank you Joy and I am thrilled you might give this a try.

  30. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    1. Thank you Marilyn, I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  31. Such a great way to hide messy drawers. Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ’s.

  32. Chas,
    What a great upcycle. I have a couple of these that need a face lift. Congratulations, you are being featured at Over The Moon Linky party today. I hope you stop by.

    1. Oh wow! Thank you so much Beverly! I appreciate the feature and support. See you at the next party.

  33. I do have several of these. What a great idea!

    1. Thank you so much Amy, they’re such great containers.

  34. That looks so pretty an I love that the items inside the drawers are hidden too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating