Do you have a lot of cardboard boxes around the house? I always have several on hand. Whether they’re from a shipment or you’ve just moved and have all of those moving boxes left, cardboard boxes can pile up quickly and the only way to get rid of them is to break them down and take them to the recycling center, right? That’s what I’ve always done, but recently I started wondering if maybe there is more that can be done with those boxes. So, I collected a list of 35 amazing ways you can repurpose them!
You’ve probably thought about letting the kids have those boxes for play or even creating a puppet theater from them. I’ve found some even greater ways to put them to use that your kids will love. Not only that, but there are amazing ways that you can use them throughout the house for organization and any number of other things From an inside dog house to drawer dividers and even some lovely flowers, I’m going to help you repurpose those boxes into amazing creations! I’m talking about larger cardboard boxes, but you should also check out these 45 repurposed cereal box projects.
Some of these projects require the entire box and some only need sections of the cardboard, which means you could do a few different projects with one box, depending on the size. There’s an amazing cardboard city that your little ones will love playing with and even a great car. There are also great ideas for art, décor, furniture, and even a cat scratching post made from that repurposed cardboard. You really can turn just about any trash to treasure. Seriously, before I throw out anything these days, I check to see if there is a repurpose idea for it. That’s how I found these 30 repurposing ideas for empty coffee containers.
So, let’s take a look at how we can get rid of those cardboard boxes that we all have piled up and make some great stuff with them. Even if you don’t have any on hand, you can pick up cardboard boxes at any grocery store or department store and they’ll give them to you for free just to get them out of the way. I hope you’re excited to learn some repurposing ideas!
1. DIY Apartment Door Numbers
If you live in an apartment building, you can turn an old cardboard box into these amazing numbers for your door. I don’t recommend this for houses, since the cardboard won’t hold up well to the elements. Making them for an apartment door is really easy and they look so elegant when they’re finished. Just print off the numbers that you want to use, or freehand them if you’re really talented.
2. Repurposed Cardboard Belted Storage Tote
You can turn those old cardboard boxes into these amazing storage totes with just a little time and a few supplies. You just cover the boxes with fabric and then add an old belt for a handle. These are great for all sorts of organizing from craft supplies and kids’ toys to magazines and anything else you can think of. When they’re finished, no one will ever know that they used to be empty cardboard boxes.
3. Upcycled Cardboard Photo Frame
Cardboard photo frames are so easy to make and they’re perfect when you want something you can really customize. Not only are these great for decorating your own house, they make perfect gifts for others. And, since they’re made from recycled cardboard, they’re really cheap and they’re made in a fold design so they’re great for displaying pictures on the table or mantel.
4. Upcycled Cardboard Sunburst Mirror
This cardboard mirror frame is made with upcycled toilet paper rolls, but if you have cardboard boxes on hand, you can use those as well. You’ll just have to cut and then roll your cardboard to create the circles. Then you arrange them in a pattern, glue on some sequins or other decorative elements and add your mirror. This is a really easy project and gives you a beautiful new mirror when you’re finished.
5. DIY Decoupage Cardboard Trays
Turn that cardboard into a beautiful decoupage tray! You can use these trays for everything from jewelry to any number of other things that you want to store and they’re super easy to make. You don’t even have to have a tray – you make it completely with upcycled cardboard. Just shape and then form the tray and cover with scrapbook paper, fabric or anything else you want to decorate it.
6. Cardboard City – Kid Fun!
This cardboard city will be as fun for kids to make as it is for them to play in. You can take a number of empty cardboard boxes and build all sorts of shops and buildings for them. And, the kids can help to decorate their city. A small scale city would be great for playing with dolls and toy cars or you could go all out and take several larger boxes to build them an actual playhouse size city.
7. Indoor Dog House
Build your little dog his own little house inside the house with a repurposed cardboard box. Your dog will love having his own space and you can decorate these so cute with cardboard shingles. Note, this is not going to work for an outdoor dog house obviously because of the cardboard but it’s great for giving your little pooch a little place of his own inside the house.
8. Repurposed Cardboard Drawer Dividers
Keep your dresser drawers perfectly organized with dividers…that you can make from an empty cardboard box. This is one of the easiest projects ever and one that is so useful. You can use pieces of cardboard to separate socks and all sorts of other items and keep those drawers perfectly organized. You just mark and cut your cardboard so that it perfectly fits inside the drawers and stays tight enough to not fall over.
9. Rustic Cardboard Christmas Trees
Turn your Christmas decorating a bit rustic with these adorable little cardboard Christmas trees. You can make several of these from just one large cardboard box and they’re perfect for setting up a rustic winter scene. These are so easy to make and the kids will love helping with them. Plus, you have plenty of time to make several before the holidays – you could even give some away as gifts.
10. Repurposed Cardboard Guitar
If the little ones love making music, you can make them this adorable cardboard guitar that looks just like the real thing. These things also actually play music so they can strum their little hearts out. This is actually a great tool for little ones that want to learn how to play guitar. The size is perfect for their little hands and it gives them the opportunity to learn how to hold and strum the guitar before they practice with the real thing.
11. Upcycled Cardboard Lantern
I love old lanterns and these cardboard versions are just great. You make them from upcycled cardboard boxes and they look just like real lanterns when you’re finished. You can even add LED lights to them to give them a nice little glow – although I would avoid candles since it is cardboard. These would make a great display for the holidays or anytime you want to add a bit of style.
12. DIY Cardboard Christmas Star
Take those cardboard boxes and make a number of these great Christmas stars to hang or decorate for the holidays. These have such a great rustic look and are really easy to make. When you’re finished making your stars, just paint them – you can use spray paint for this – any colors that you want and hang them on your Christmas tree, on the mantel, or you could even make a great garland from them.
13. DIY Recycled Cardboard Vase
To make a beautiful recycled cardboard vase, you’ll need corrugated cardboard as well as a cardboard tube, an old CD, and a few other supplies. You cut the cardboard into small strips and then layer it around the tube. The CD serves as a base and helps the vase to stand up. When it’s finished, this is a lovely vase that you can paint or just leave plain. It will beautifully display silk flowers or real ones – just slip a small glass or vase down into the tube.
14. Cardboard Cat Scratching Post
Cats love to scratch – those of us who own them know that all too well. If you have a cat, you really need a scratching post of some sort. Otherwise, they’ll scratch walls and furniture. So, why not take those empty cardboard boxes and make a scratching post to save your furnishings? You can make one out of corrugated cardboard and it will rival those that you see in pet shops for over $100. Your cat will love it and your furniture will love you.
15. Recycled Cardboard Craft Storage
You’re crafty right? Then why not turn your cardboard box craft into something that will help you with all your craftiness? I love this recycled cardboard storage. It’s the perfect way to keep all of your craft supplies organized and it’s so very easy to make. You just cut around the boxes to give them a nice shelf look and then string them all together with twine. This is great for storing all sorts of things and won’t cost you anything but a little time.
16. Creative Cardboard Cars
Kids love playing with cardboard boxes, and why wouldn’t they when those boxes are turned into these creative little cars? You can make these so easily and they take very little time. If your little ones have grown tired of their toys, these little cars are sure to make them happy. They’ll spend hours playing with them and if you have a few boxes on hand, you could make so many different versions of cars for creative play.
17. Rolled Cardboard Owl Ornament
This little owl is a hoot and so easy to make. You start by rolling cardboard for the body and when that’s finished you just do the same for the head and eyes. He’s such a little cutie and perfect for adding a little homemade décor to your home. You can add feathers – or make feathers from leaf shapes – and he’s all finished. Paint him if you want but I think the natural look is so much better.
18. Decorative Recycled Cardboard Box
You would never believe that this beautiful decorative box was once a plain cardboard box. It’s so gorgeous and such a lovely thing to display. It’s also pretty easy to make and won’t take you long at all. This would be a great gift box or you can just use it to dress up the bedroom or bathroom. Just cover a box in burlap and then add “legs” and any other decorations that you want.
19. Decorative Cardboard Letters
You’ve seen those great decorative letters adorning people’s mantels and tables, right? Well, those things can be pretty expensive depending on where you buy them. A better way to get that look is to create the letters yourself from recycled cardboard. Just cut out your letters and then shape cardboard around them. Then paint and decorate however you want.
20. Upcycled Cardboard Decorative Storage
Here’s another great way to get some storage from those cardboard boxes. These decorative boxes are so easy to make and really spruce up closets where you might otherwise just have plain boxes stacked up. Just cut the lid and flaps away from the boxes and then cover them with wrapping paper.
21. Cute DIY Cardboard Chandelier
This cardboard chandelier is just too cute. It would be perfect for a playhouse or play room and you can even put real lights in it. LED lights would be best, since you really don’t want an open flame next to all of that cardboard, right? The chandelier is really not difficult to make and would be perfect for a little girl’s princess birthday party or just to hang in her room for extra décor.
22. Deer Head Wall Hanging
If the man in your life loves hunting, he’s going to adore this makeshift deer head that you can create from upcycled cardboard. This is so cute and it’s much better than having a real deer head on the wall, right? Even if you have a real deer head, this one is so whimsical and is sure to be a conversation starter whenever someone sees it.
23. Repurposed Cardboard Desktop Organizer
Why not turn that old cardboard into something really useful like this desktop organizer? Instead of having things just strewn about on your desk or worse, paying a small fortune for an actual desk organizer, you can create this one from empty cardboard boxes. It will hold your keys, paper clips, pens and pencils, or whatever you need it to and keep those things perfectly organized.
24. Easy DIY Cardboard Flowers
If you need a craft for the kids – or for yourself – these cardboard flowers are great. They’re really easy to make and they let you use up a lot of those cardboard boxes. Once you have the flower parts formed, paint them whatever colors you want. Kids are going to love this craft and it makes really pretty home décor when they’re all finished.
25. DIY Embroidered Cardboard Bracelet
Jewelry from cardboard is a unique concept, isn’t it? I love this bangle bracelet that is made from upcycled cardboard and some embroidery thread. This particular bracelet is made from the cardboard from a packing tape roll but you could just as easily cut a wide strip of cardboard from a box and then just thread it together to hold. Then embroider it and you have a stunning bracelet.
26. Faux Industrial Metal Letters
These industrial metal letters are beautiful and only you will know that you made them from upcycled cardboard. They look just like something you would pay a hefty price for at Pottery Barn but all they’ll really cost you is some time – and some cardboard and paint. These are so easy and are great for decorating if you love that industrial metal look. You basically just cut the letters out of thin cardboard and then spray paint them to perfection.
27. DIY Geometric Cardboard Lamp
I love the entire look of this geometric lamp and I adore the fact that it is all made from recycled cardboard. You’ll need to cut your cardboard into shape and then assemble the lamp. It’s a beautiful piece that you can add LED tealight candles to for a wonderful glow. It’s pretty easy to make, too. You just cut your shapes from cardboard and then piece them all together.
28. Easy Cardboard Stationary Box
I’ve seen these stationary or letter boxes in office supply stores made from wood and plastic and they are not cheap. You can save a small fortune if you make this one yourself out of recycled cardboard. When it’s finished it looks just like those big wooden ones that you see in stores but it won’t cost you anything if you have some boxes and some paint on hand. Plus, it’s pretty easy to put together provided you get all the pieces cut the right size.
29. Cheap And Easy Cardboard iPad Case
iPad cases can be quite costly – around $50 each as a matter of fact. Instead of paying out that $50, you can make a nice iPad case yourself from recycled cardboard and some fabric. This iPad case is fully functional and you can close and secure it by adding ties that you can make from fabric or ribbon. It’s definitely worth the short time to make it when it comes to saving all that money.
30. DIY Cardboard Art
What better way to put those empty cardboard boxes to use than to make art? Plus, this is a project that the kids will definitely get on board with and it gives them something fun to do when they can’t get outside to play. If you peel the cardboard apart, you get a great textured
piece that looks amazing when it’s painted. Once you’re done with your art, frame it and hang it all over the house!
31. Easy 10 Minute Cardboard Marker Caddy
Keep up with markers and keep them perfectly organized with this great little marker caddie that you can make in about 10 minutes. You use an empty cardboard box to make it and it’s really easy. Basically, you just cover a cardboard box with scrapbook paper or fabric and you’re all set. Toilet paper rolls inside the box help to keep your markers perfectly organized.
32. Adorable Cardboard Bedroom Suite
I absolutely love this cardboard bedroom suite. What a wonderful way to dress up a kids’ room! Or, this would also be great for playhouses. It’s an entire bedroom suite made from empty cardboard boxes. There’s a headboard, nightstand and even some art on the wall. The nightstand is even usable. Seriously, have you ever seen anything more adorable?
33. Pretend Play Cardboard Dressing Table
Any little girl is going to love this pretend dressing table that you can make from an upcycled cardboard box. Just cut the front from the box and then use that piece to make the back. Add your mirror and cover the entire thing with frilly fabrics or lace and you’re all set. You can store her dress up toys in a small tote that hides away perfectly under the fabric.
34. Pottery Barn Inspired Pop Up Desk
You don’t have to head to Pottery Barn to get your kids a great play desk. You can make one yourself from a couple of old cardboard boxes. This is a great desk for play or they can even use it to do crafts and homework. There’s even a great peek-a-boo section where they can climb in and have a little privacy.
35. Upcycled Cardboard Solar Oven
A solar oven would be great for cooking outdoors, right? You can make a great little solar oven from an upcycled cardboard box! This one blew me away – who would have thought that you could turn an empty box and some aluminum foil into a way to cook outdoors? Well, you can and the project is really pretty easy. You just need the box, foil and black paper, plus a heat proof bowl or casserole dish for the food.