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How do I upcycle cardboard boxes to something useful or aesthetically beautiful?

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Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

I'm a hoarder for cardboard boxes. From cereal boxes to big cartons used by packers and movers. All this in the hope that I will one day find that perfect project and a good way to use them. I've found some interesting stuff but most of it is difficult to do or impractical like 'cardboard furniture'. Please help me out with your ideas or link me to interesting projects you find. 

Thanks!

Nidhi 

 
Photo%207_medium bruno 120 Posts

Well, if you have kids (I do), nothing makes a better toy than a cardboard box. I made this 'bus' for my daughter out of a JCrew shipping box:

Cardboard box bus

She loves it! Not the fold-down windows with duct-tape on them (so she can sit her little Playmobil people on them) and the real door that opens and shuts! Note: she did the decorating, not me!

 
Pt1_bm_creamywhiteoc7_medium Jill W 5 Posts

Check this out!

created at: 01/07/2011

Designer Arno Mathies created the Gruff, a series of eco-furniture made from laminated, corrugated cardboard, and assembled using some housing joints. With the materials used for the furniture, the designer has considered his piece as disposable or permanent furniture for household and office use. 

 

 
Forest_medium elseajane 32 Posts

Hey there are two old (published in the '70s), great books; "Nomadic Furniture I & II" They are still aviable from Amazon. I used them when they where new to furnish my first apartments. I used them when my kids where small and we moved alot, I use them now for a fast update. My copies are old, worn and held together with tape, but they are my first "go-to" when I need inspiration. They do wonderful things with cardboard! It can't hurt to check them out.

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts Thanks guys! That was helpful. Bruno, I love the idea. The cardboard bus is sooooo cute. @Elseajane: The only problem is you don't get books or materials like those in India. :( Thanks anyway! I'm sure I can find E-books like the one you mentioned that will help me with some ideas. Will post my project soon!
 
Forest_medium elseajane 32 Posts

Please do. Sorry I didn't realise that you where so far away. But,  good luck, I can't wait to see what you come up with.

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

Look what I made! I had a small but firm cardboard box. I cut it up on three sides and covered it with butter paper. Inserted a tiny 0 watt lamp from the 4th side and voila! I have a cute little table lamp now. What you see is still incomplete. I want to cut out the top part and paste butter paper on that too. After I'm done, I'll cover the bare cardboard surface with some handmade paper to make it all pretty. Will share that once its complete. What do you guys think?

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

Look what I made! I had a small but firm cardboard box. I cut it up on three sides and covered it with butter paper. Inserted a tiny 0 watt lamp from the 4th side and voila! I have a cute little table lamp now. What you see is still incomplete. I want to cut out the top part and paste butter paper on that too. After I'm done, I'll cover the bare cardboard surface with some handmade paper to make it all pretty. Will share that once its complete. What do you guys think?

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

created at: 01/14/2011created at: 01/14/2011

Look what I made! I had a small but firm cardboard box. I cut it up on three sides and covered it with butter paper. Inserted a tiny 0 watt lamp from the 4th side and voila! I have a cute little table lamp now. What you see is still incomplete. I want to cut out the top part and paste butter paper on that too. After I'm done, I'll cover the bare cardboard surface with some handmade paper to make it all pretty. Will share that once its complete. What do you guys think?

 
Forest_medium elseajane 32 Posts

Very cool, I think it's really cute...but what's butter paper?

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

It's another name for vegetable parchment paper. And here's the finished product!

created at: 01/14/2011created at: 01/14/2011created at: 01/14/2011

 
Forest_medium elseajane 32 Posts

What a great little night light. I could use these all over my house, and I will steal this idea from you. ;-)  Do you think it would work well with rice paper? I can find that pretty easy.

Did you see that good little tut on the message center made of ceral boxes, I thought it was right up your alley. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

 
Icon_missing_thumb Nidibee

Sure! Please do steal the idea and share pictures when you make it. That'll be the biggest encouragement for me to continue DIY.

Talking about rice paper, I've never really worked with it but I think it's pretty thin and might not work for this. I'd still suggest you go ahead with what you can lay your hands on and think might work. In my case, I chose butter paper because that was the only think I could score from the craft store. To my luck, it worked fantastically because it's slightly thick and translucent enough to pass light yet not enough to show the insides of the box. 

I'm already excited about my next project. Will share when done. Ciao!

 
Avatar_medium gilboonet 3 Posts

You did nice job with your lamp. I make cardboard furniture and teach people to do so in my place (France). I would be happy to help you if you want to learn this craft.

You only need to assimilate a few basics and you'll be able to create all kinds of furniture.

my latest projects :

created at: 01/20/2011 created at: 01/20/2011 created at: 01/20/2011

Feel free to read my how-to here on Curbly, and tell me if you need more information.

If you can read french you could find lots of books, some ebooks and even dvds, also in japonese and hebrew, but I don't know if any exist in english.

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

Whoa! You are a pro. Checked out your blog. You do some awesome stuff. I'm very keen to make some of this. I have only one concern. The stuff that you've made requires very firm cardboard and I"m not sure I can get that anywhere in India. I have cartons and cereal boxes though. Can all this be made out of that? Please let me know. 

 
Avatar_medium gilboonet 3 Posts

What gives strength to cardboard is not cardboard firmness but a clever skeleton, usually a homogenous matrix, and to ensure that everywhere two cardboard sheets meet they are joined together, usually using kraft (kraft means strength in german) paper and any kind of paper glue. And if your cardboards are not nice pretty or damaged you can cover them with those cereal boxes that you have or use any kind of coating that is available in your place. To give your structure a nice finish don't paint or glue paper directly on it but first completely cover it with kraft paper in order to protect the cardboard from moisture.

here some structures, it's nothing scientific, mostly commonsense

created at: 01/22/2011 created at: 01/22/2011 created at: 01/22/2011 created at: 01/22/2011 created at: 01/22/2011

 
Forest_medium elseajane 32 Posts

Wow! these are awsome! Are you going to try any?

 
Ipad_298_medium Nidhi Bhasin 10 Posts

Wow! Definitely. Will try something basic for a start. First, I have to figure out where to get Kraft paper. 

@gilboonet Could you please give me an idea to make something basic to make? 

 
Avatar_medium gilboonet 3 Posts

You can try something like those two little ones ...

here's a link to a very good how-to for beginners, it's in french but has lots of photos. I'll soon post a little how-to to make the second little bookshelf of the photo. First steps :

First you choose a freeform and cut at least 3 cardboard sheets with it.

.

Only two of them must be cut from nice looking cardboard.

Then you take one and draw the frame that you will cut from it. The resulting cardboard frame will be how your little furniture will almost look like, it's safe that its thickness >= 3 cm.

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