The Upcycling Potential of Cardboard Boxes

Laura Chen
Oct 24, 2016 · 3 min read

One of my favorite things to do is upcycling. Before you assume I’m talking about some sort of miraculous circus trick, upcycling is when you take something old and useless and turn it into something new and useful. It’s when you take cardboard boxes and turn them into creative storage containers. There are so many different ways to do this.

Everyone gathers their old cardboard boxes, whether they like it or not. We are either throwing them in the garage to be burned or throwing them in the garage to be thrown out. After the holidays or after receiving your monthly resupply from Amazon, there’s bound to be cardboard boxes laying around. A quick snip, snap, and whoosh and you can transform them into custom-designed storage. Here’s how:

Want fabric bins? Great! Buy some cute fabrics and mod podge and make it happen. Use different, complimentary designs on the inside and the outside of the box. You can by metal eyeholes and rope from your local craft stores to make handles that are both strong and legit-looking.

You can kill two birds with one stone by using an old sweater to cover a box, make some handles, and fill with whatever you were going to fill it with. A fan favorite is to take an old diaper box, cover it, and then use it to store…you guessed it: diapers!

Instead of using fabric you can use vellum paper or any kind of paper. Like weathered wood paper, embellished with a piece of chalkboard paper that you can write on with a chalkboard marker. These wind up looking so cool-looking. I made these for my pantry and I should probably be embarrassed to admit that sometimes, when we have guests, I “accidentally” leave my pantry door open. Every single stinking time I get compliments on my sweet storage set-up, and then I watch jaws drop to the floor when I tell them that it was all DIY and cost probably less than twenty dollars to create.

Some of my other favorites are made out of lesser known/appreciated cardboard boxes: cereal boxes. Sure, we appreciate them when they have cereal in them that we can put into our bellies but, in my opinion, they are at their most valuable when they are completely empty. This is because putting cereal boxes together and covering them with fabric or paper turns them into the best desk organizer you could possible ask for. Or mail organizers!

Last but not least, we can all probably agree that the galvanized metal look has really made an appearance recently, right? Using cereal boxes, paper, and a galvanized metal painting technique, you can be cool as everyone else but way smarter for not spending oodles of money.