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Cardboard box upcycling

Easy way to Upcycle Cardboard Box into a Decorative Bookcase

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We all have a pile of spare cardboard boxes lying around but what if you could use them for something useful? In Australia, over 3.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used every year due to an increase in online sales by over 67.1 percent in the last two years. Packaging accounts for more than 20 percent of total waste generation

If you have found yourself with a stack of cardboard boxes, the first thought is to recycle them; but what if you could have a little more fun with it? Incorporating craft activities into children’s daily routines is an excellent way to encourage their creativity while also keeping them occupied and educating them on how to upcycle waste. So, instead of throwing out those cardboard boxes use them to make a one-of-a-kind and unusual book file to store your books, files, and magazines. 

Things you’ll need:


  1. Take a COS Cardboard Box, or any box really (these are just our favourite).

Upcycling cardboard box for kids

2. The first step is to trim down the cardboard box into the shape of a book file. Flatten out the cardboard box and place it on a flat surface. Use a pencil and ruler to mark out the lines (30 cm x 28cm x 13cm x 11cm) as shown in the image below.

Cardboard box upcycling

3. Using a snap cutter, carefully cut along the marked lines. After you’ve cut out the main holder piece, take the remaining piece and cut out three different sizes. As illustrated in the image below.

  • 30cm x 10 cm
  • 28cm x 10cm
  • 11cm x 10cm
Cardboard box upcycling

4. After cutting the cardboard box into different pieces, cover the inside and outside of the box with A3 copy paper and gift paper (any colour). Carefully trace the book file cut-out onto copy paper to  carefully cover the inside section. Use PVA glue or glue stick to adhere the copy paper on the cutout. Now trace the remaining cardboard pieces on the copy paper and stick them using PVA glue or glue stick.

Cardboard box

How to cover the outside of the book file:

  • Place one side of the cardboard box piece on the back side of the wrapping paper, with the paper’s edge aligned with the back of the file box.
  • Flip the box carefully onto the remaining paper and smooth out any bubbles, ensuring that the paper is fully secured on all sides of the box.
  • Trim the excess paper all the way around the box with scissors, leaving a clean and straight 3 cm border.
  • Fold the paper around the box, beginning at the bottom. Trim corners as needed to ensure everything is tight and flat and stick it using PVA glue or glue stick.
How to upcycle cardboard box
Upcycling waste

5. Assemble all the cut-out pieces together firmly using PVA glue/hot glue or duct tape. Remember to keep the wrapping paper side on the outside while assembling.

Easy cardboard box craft

6. The last step is to load up your DIY book file with books, magazines, papers, or files.

Cardboard Boxes Craft for kids

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