30 Clever Corrugated Cardboard Crafts

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.

2. Bookcase

Build Your own Box Set: A DIY Book Case

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!

5. Castle

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

cat scratcher

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

Make a place to hold all of your favorite things.

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

Upcycled Cardboard Model Ship

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!

18. Pinata

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.

20. Printmaking

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

corrugated cardboard 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!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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