How to Make Cardboard

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Whether you want to build boxes to hold your handmade crafts or just want to try something new, making your own cardboard can save money and be a lot of fun. It also allows you to use cardboard the exact size and thickness you want. You can let your imagination run wild and give your projects the individuality they deserve. Here’s how to make your own cardboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Blender
  • Wood
  • Paper/card stock
  • Flat surfaces

How to Make Cardboard

  • Decide the color and thickness you want for your cardboard. Realistically, it might be hard for you to make cardboard that is extremely light-colored. You don’t have easy access to the same bleaches and industrial dyes as they use in professional cardboard factories.

  • You’ll need to make some rough wood pulp. For natural-looking cardboard, you can simply get some pieces of wood and bark. Use a rough metal file to break down the wood into small shavings. For cardboard that is more colorful and fun, find a bunch of construction paper or oak tag that is close to the hue you want. Rip this into long, thin strips.

  • Put the wood filings or paper strips into a blender. Add a little bit of water and start blending the mixture until it’s about the consistency of pancake batter. If it’s too runny, add some more wood or strips. There shouldn’t be large pieces in the slurry; make sure it’s nice and smooth.

  • Pour the mixture onto a hard, flat surface. You might try the back of a cookie sheet. You could even pour it onto a kitchen table, but you should protect the surface with some cling film first. Pound out the mixture with a hard object until it’s a uniform thickness. It’s OK if the cardboard-to-be is the wrong shape; you can always cut it later.

  • Allow the cardboard to dry for a while and then put a layer of paper towel over it. Cover the paper towel with a heavy, flat object. This will remove some of the excess water from your cardboard. Let your cardboard dry overnight.

  • Put a finish on your cardboard, if that’s what you want. You can add a shine to your cardboard by spraying it with a light shellac. There’s a kind of acrylic you can paint on a finished puzzle to keep it from coming apart. This is available at any craft store and a thin coat can add a nice shine to your homemade cardboard.

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