101 Fun Uses for Cardboard Boxes

4 years ago

Okapi loves to play with a cardboard box.  We went to an awesome creative day at the art museum and they had a lot of recycled cardboard and art supplies. All four of us had fun using our imagination and thinking outside the box, literally.  Here is a rundown of some frugal ways I have used cardboard.

1  Make a robot for creative play.  Just cut out some holes for arms, legs and head.

2  Sit in it and have your private reading sanctuary.  Line it with a pillow and a blanket.

3  Sleep in it.  Add multiple boxes and create a tomblike sleeping space.

4  Make a racecar.  Add paper plate for wheels. You can just scoot in it, or cut out leg holes and run in it.

5  Build a village of buildings.  Depending on the size of boxes, you can create it lifesize or fit for dolls or minifigures.

6  Make hats.  Using scissors, you can cut out any shape you want and attach to a strip that fits around the head.  Think cowboy and indians.

7 Make shoes.  Add duct tape as straps and you have hours of creative fun.  Google "duct tape crafts" and you will find a ton of ideas.

8  Add bold markers and sharpies and you have a sturdy drawing pad.  No clipboard needed.

9  Make fancy containers.  Ever see those decorated craft boxes at the store that costs way more than they should?  Just make your own with scrapbook paper or gift wrapping paper.  The key is to use spray adhesive or just a thinned out glue.  

10  Don't have cardstock?  Find a cardboard box.  Empty out a cereal box or other thin cardboard box.  Attach your regular copy paper on it with thin glue.

11  Make printable crafts.  There are a lot of free printables that can enhance your papercrafting.  I really like the fold tab designs that are easy for kids.  Okapi made a whole Adventure Time character set and then decided to film a stop motion animation video.  

12  Use for storage.  Duh!  You can reuse boxes to storage other things.  I like to save those shiny laminated boxes because they get less dusty than regular corrugated cardboard.  Those jewelry boxes are the worse.  They are cardboard, but I can't bear to toss them.  I can fit all my earrings in one box, but then I have all these extra boxes left.  

13  Gift wrap.  Of course, you are allowed to reuse a box to put a gift in.  Miss Manners may frown, but this frugal mom says, go for it!  You can cover up the labeling with kids drawings or stickers.  If your friends and family gives you grief, then don't give them any more gifts.  Or wrap gifts in aluminum foil and become that wacky family member who is known for foil wrapping.   It's ok to be unique.

14  Send shoeboxes to Samaritan Purse.  There is an agency that solicits donations and helps poor countries by packaging shoebox size gifts.  They ask for things like school supplies and small toys that fit into a shoe box.

15  Use for homeschooling.  I am sure I can come up with multiple uses of cardbaord in a classroom.  You can make signs, lessonplans, flashcards and inspiration quotes.  Anything you can write on a whiteboard, you can do it on cardboard.

16  Filing.  Don't need to buy file folders, use cardboard.  Don't need fancy dividers, use free cardboard.  

17  Make tunnels and slides.  Those gift wrap tubes are awesome toys.  Connect them and slip a small ball through to make a cool tunnel system.  What is that toy called?  You see them magnetized too.  It's like a marble maze.

18  Now we are into the tubular ideas.  If you are hyper boys, they will naturally want to bonk each other, like sword fighting.

19  Boomwhacker.  In school, the music teacher has these plastic in-tune cylinders of different lengths.  You just bang them on the floor to make the proper note.  Too hard for me to create because I am musically chalenged, but the boys can do it well.  

20  Cake board.  I bake and design birthday cakes.  You can buy a cake circle for a few bucks or you can go to your cardboard stash and cut one yourself.  Use a compass or equivalent.  Cover with foil or food-safe paper.

21  Make a bowling set.  Those toilet paper rols just scream, use me now.  Save 10 of them and get a small ball and you have bowling fun.  Don't need to ever pay for a bowling alley again.

22  Tissue boxes are pretty, but can be saved for multiple uses.  I like to just have the design for other projects.  Not everything you make has to have a practical purpose.  I once made a collage with just random shapes I cut from scraps.   Think of it as art therapy.

23 Use as placemats.  I hate cleaning, so I like to throw away paper placemats, but I also like to reuse and recycle.  It's a minor dilemma.  I use brown grocery bags, old coloring papges, old magazines, and junk mail.  Why not cardboard?  If I am going to put it in the recycle bin, I might as well get it dirty with a few crumbs first and save me the hassle of cleaning up.

24 Splatter guard.  Cooking with oil?  Painting your walls?  Messy carfts with kids?  Line your work space with disposable cardboard.

25  Minecraft costume.  It's Halloween time.  I must start my homemade costume.  I am thinking of making Steve or Creeper.  Since the whole game is square-based, cardboard boxes lends itself perfectly.  I will use colored paper and glue around a square box to look just like the computer image.  We are so lucky to have a wealth of resources online.  I bet I can find another fellow blogger that has created Minecraft costumes.

So that's 25 and still counting, but are you?  A title is more appealing with 101 vs. 25.  I just thought of all of these sitting here in one hour.  Please add to my list so I don't need to type out 75 more to hold true to my promise.

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