What can you make from packing boxes, shipping boxes, the boxes that your new appliance came in, or every other piece of corrugated cardboard in your possession?
You can make anything you can dream of!
Corrugated cardboard is a practically perfect craft supply. It’s sturdy, takes glue and paint like a dream, is easy to bend and cut, and best of all–when your new creation has finished living out its worthy life, you can most likely toss that corrugated cardboard right back into the recycling bin where it came from!
Corrugated cardboard is one of my favorite craft supplies, and after you check out my list of favorite corrugated cardboard projects, below, I think it’s going to be one of your favorite craft supplies, too!
1. Altered Art
Let your creativity fly with this open-ended art project. It’s low-stakes because cardboard is free, but there’s no limit to the art that you can make.
Do you have a set of books that you’d love to display all together? Here’s how to handcraft a corrugated cardboard book case that will rival any store-bought box set.
3. Cake Pan Spirograph
I am OBSESSED with Spirographs–I play with ours way more than my kids do! But you don’t need a store-bought Spirograph to make those spiraling designs. Check out this DIY Spirograph: all you need are a cake pan, corrugated cardboard, and a pen!
4. Cardboard Gingerbread House
How do you make a gingerbread house if you don’t want to buy, own, or put candy in your mouth? Fortunately, cardboard is a great substitute!
It may take every cardboard box in your house–heck, it may take every cardboard box in your neighborhood!–but this cardboard castle is more than worth it.
6. Cat Scratcher Two Ways
This tutorial makes two different kinds of cat scratchers, both of which I promise you that cats really, really do love.
7. Cosplay Wings
You need a giant pair of wings because you’re an angel!
8. Decoupaged Tray
9. Doll Bed
Have you ever flipped through an American Girl catalog and seen how much all of that adorable doll furniture is?!? Seriously, make your kid this cute cardboard doll bed, instead, and with the money that you didn’t spend on an American Girl doll bed… buy, like, a new car or something.
10. Dress-Up Hats
Here’s an easy way to make and decorate a hat out of cardboard. Now you’ve got the perfect accessory for every future Halloween costume!
11. Faux Logs
These look lovely in your fireplace during the off-season.
12. Geodesic Dome
It’s VERY important that you make you or someone you love a crawl-in cardboard geodesic dome.
13. Giant Dice
Giant dice are so fun to have for life-sized games or outdoor games.
14. Halloween Costume Ideas
Rather than a step-by-step tutorial, this article shows you how to go about designing and constructing the Halloween costume of your dreams using cardboard. You’ll appreciate knowing these special techniques and handy tips!
15. Lined Storage Bin
The box used in this tutorial is a diaper box, but any box would work–just adjust the liner measurements to match.
16. Magnifying Glass Holder
Add this to a lens without a holder, or upcycle the lenses from a pair of glasses.
17. Model Ships
Maybe you want to make a fun toy for your kids to play with, or maybe you want to make an accurate representation of the Mayflower (or the Dawn Treader!). Either way, this is how you do it!
I used to make a pinata for my kids’ birthday parties every year, and they were always SO fun! I liked to decoupage them with newspaper and then let the kids paint them instead of investing in tissue paper.
19. Photo Frame
Corrugated cardboard is not archival, so I wouldn’t put anything precious into this photo frame, but it’s perfectly suitable to hold a photo print or fun art piece.
Here’s a really fun process-oriented art activity for kids, or a way to add interesting texture designs to your own art pieces.
21. Shadow Box
These shadow boxes take a while to make, if you choose to decoupage them, but they turn out incredibly sturdy and so decorative that nobody will ever know that your new knick-knack shelf used to be a diaper box!
22. Stacked Heart Ornament
You could make this stacked ornament in any shape, as long as you don’t mind cutting multiples of it in several sizes.
23. Star Ornaments
A whole Christmas tree’s worth of ornaments is sitting in your recycling bin right now!
24. Suspension Bridge Model
As I think you can tell by now, corrugated cardboard is a terrific material for model-making!
25. Toy Animals
The tutorial links to patterns for several animals, but once you get the hang of how to make them stand up, you no longer have to rely on a pattern.
26. Toy Guitar
No, you can’t really play a tune on this cardboard guitar, but be honest–your toddler wasn’t going to really play a tune on a real guitar, either.
27. Toy Shield
The beauty of this DIY corrugated cardboard toy shield is that since cardboard is so easy to color and paint on, kids can decorate their own shields however they like. It makes a great party craft!
28. Toy Train Bridge
Don’t be afraid to add homemade accessories to your kid’s train table!
29. Toy Wagon
Make a covered wagon for all your kids’ toy animals to pull–or ride in!
30. T-shirt Folding Board
I mean, you want your shirts to be perfectly folded, right?
What’s the best way that you’ve ever upcycled corrugated cardboard? Tell me about it in the comments below!