Quick and Easy Way to Upcycle Cardboard Boxes

We’ve seen kids turn cardboard boxes into forts, rockets, and cars, but adults can get in on some cardboard wizardry too. And we’re not talking throwing some old papers into one either. You can totally remake the look and purpose of cardboard boxes for storage.

Save cardboard boxes from the recycling heap or trash pile and repurpose them. Using boxes of any size, including diaper boxes, shoe boxes, or shipping boxes you have sitting around, turn them into organizers and bins placed throughout your home. Peep the steps for a DIY storage bin below.

Woven Storage Basket

In the video from Nifty below, we learn how you can get the look of a woven basket using jute twine, rope or string to cover an empty cardboard box. The result? A homemade basket!


  • Strong cardboard box
  • Roll of string
  • Large pillowcase
  • Hot glue gun with glue


  1. Prep the box

    Either fold in or cut off the top flaps off the box. Make sure the bottom is strongly sealed. Starting at the corner, add hot glue to the bottom edge of the box. Secure the tip of your rope/string to the glue.

  2. Wrap the string

    Continue winding the string around the perimeter of the box, securing it in sections with glue. Be careful not to overdo it with the glue! You should cover about 2/3 to 3/4 of the box with the string. Grab your large pillowcase, and roll the open edge of it under to make it easy to slide into the box. Place the bottom of the pillowcase inside the box and stretch the open part around the edge of the box.

  3. Fold and tuck

    Make sure the top of the box is covered entirely. If you want, you can glue down the corners of the pillowcase to keep it in place

  4. Fabric variation

    For a variation, you can use fabric or scrapbook paper instead of a pillowcase. Choose your own fabric and cut it to fit the area of the box not covered by string, plus an additional 3 inches. On the uppermost ring of string, add a bead of hot glue. Fold the bottom rough edge of the fabric under and press it against the glue, and repeat, gluing the fabric all the way around the box. Fold the top part of it inside of the box, gluing the edges down.

  5. Paper variation

    With the scrapbook paper method, simply line the inside and outside of the box with the paper before gluing the rope down. You can either use glue or spray adhesive to keep it attached to your boxes. Scrapbook paper comes in solid colors as well as patterns that can fit your taste and décor. Feel free to mix and match!

    Get extra creative by experimenting with wallpaper, scrapbook paper, or upcycled clothing to add to the design of these woven boxes! Go for a lidded look by using bankers’ boxes. Gather up different sized boxes for a set of nested “baskets.” What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas for turning cardboard into something new? Tell us in the comments!