How to Build Cardboard Shelves


Shelving can be expensive and possibly hard to afford if finances are strained. If you find yourself needing some extra shelving but you do not have extra money, it may be time to get creative.

With a few sturdy cardboard boxes, a hot glue gun, and some duct tape you can make yourself a nice shelving unit to help organize your home. You can even put in a little extra effort and make your cardboard shelves fancy if you wish.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 Cardboard boxes per shelf
  • Duct tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • X-Acto knife
  • Contact paper (optional)
  • Fabric (optional)
  • Spray adhesive (optional)
  • Cut all of the flaps off of the boxes with the x-acto knife to create boxes with one open side. Place duct tape along the raw edges of the box to enhance the stability and durability of the cardboard boxes.

  • Arrange the boxes to plan the shelves. Plan at least three boxes per shelf. The shelves (rows of boxes) will be stacked to create a shelving unit.

  • Place the bottom shelf of boxes in a row on the floor. Apply hot glue to a short side of a box and glue it to another box to form a two-box unit. Repeat to add another box to this to form a three-box unit. Add another box or two in the same fashion if you want a longer shelf.

  • Repeat step 3 to make more shelves that are the same size as the first shelf row of boxes.

  • Apply hot glue to the tops of the first shelf row and glue a second shelf row on top of the first shelf row. Repeat with more shelf rows, if desired, to finish the shelves.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not place too much weight on these shelves because they are only cardboard.
  • If desired, you could cover the outer edges of the cardboard boxes with contact paper or fabric. If you choose to cover the boxes with fabric, use a spray adhesive to affix the fabric to the cardboard.

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