How to make the most of old cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes are the type of things that you don’t buy. They tend to just appear.

Whether it’s under the bed, in the kitchen cupboard, or somewhere at the back of the garage, they just sit there, waiting for the day you might need one. However, when it comes to getting rid of them, these manila coloured cubes aren’t always obliging.

If you’re looking for a few original ways of disposing of these clunky cardboard cartons that have spent the last few years occupying your home – here are a few ideas that might help you think “outside the box” (see what I did there?!) when it comes to finding a role for your redundant receptacles.

Create a table lamp

Cutting cardboard storage boxes into small squares gives you a robust, but attractive material to play with. By attaching these squares together you can make pretty much any shape you want. This “patchwork quilt” effect cube has a space left inside it to place a regular lamp fitting. When it is illuminated the light shines through all of the cavities and produces a fantastic broken glass look.

Turn them into a kid’s “play thing”

It’s often said that whatever you get your children for their birthday or Christmas; they will always enjoy playing with the box it came in more. So why not make it a little more exciting? A simple paint job with acrylics can turn any cardboard box into a racing car or even Wendy house and the more creative parents and relatives can let their minds run wild in terms of shaping and cutting the boxes to add extra dimensions. Then again, kids aren’t always particularly fussy and just a bog-standard cardboard box can provide hours of entertainment!

Use them as unique furniture

A cardboard box may be an item to store and transport things, but when broken down, the material can be as useful as wood or even plastic. Let your mind run free and use this blank canvas to shape and create some very unique furniture or features for any room in the home. How about a set of drawers or a lamp shade?

Create storage solutions

Let’s face it; a cardboard box is basically just a portable storage unit. So why not use it for the purpose it was always intended, but just with a bit more creative flair? Covering your boxes with hessian or even brown wrapping paper will transform their appearance and you can add smaller details to really enhance your new space savers. You can either try and achieve a totally stand-alone design or carefully match the existing colours and designs so they fit comfortably within your home.

Space savers

Forget thinking outside the box, how about what you find inside? Many cardboard cartons have ready-made dividers in them and these can be put to good use in other receptacles in the home. Use these dividers in drawers to divided designated sock sections or shoe shelves. You’ll be amazed at how much space you can save – as well as time in the morning looking for your smalls.

This guest post has been submitted to Printed by experienced content developer Matthew Crist. An enthusiastic writer with a background working for established publications such as the BBC and FHM Magazine, Matthew is contributing this particular content for the Packaging Specialists PecPac.


David Brookes
19 Nov 2013 18:17
I used to love playing with brown cardboard boxes when I was a kid :-) #childhoodmemories
Alex Wilkie
25 Nov 2013 00:18
always good to see a little creativity
Emily Everitt
28 Nov 2013 12:58
Ha ha! Not sure that I would ever do this but the idea is fun!
Caitlin Grayson
30 Nov 2013 13:01
This is great!! I love the furniture
18 Sep 2014 00:29
This is excellent, really fun idea! looks very effective too :)
Charlotte Barrett
18 Dec 2014 15:06
Great Idea looks like pop art!

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