Picture of Amazing Cardboard Shelf!
In this Instructable, I'll be showing you how to make a small, useful cardboard shelf. It'll probably cost you next to nothing if you have some cardboard lying around the house, but it will provide a sense of accomplishment and happiness. Let's begin!

Step 1: Choose/Create Your Design

When making a cardboard shelf, the first thing to do is to design the shelf. This may require drawing up a few simple sketches, or even making a few rough drafts first. For me, the inspiration came from a design which I found on this site:


I thought this design would provide a challenge, while still maintaining an easy enough build. It also provides and interesting look and feel to the shelf.
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Great instructable and also the first one I completed! I kind of improvised with the hanging part which included nailing some leftover cardboard cutouts and then gluing them to the shelf itself. I know it would be a mess removing it from the wall, but oh well :)
Loshanagan (author)  korikorikori4 years ago
Cool! Would you mind posting some pictures in the comments?
Ward_Nox4 years ago
this gives me an awesome idea thanks
TekoMuto4 years ago
brilliant! I can't wait to start mine!!
Loshanagan (author)  TekoMuto4 years ago
Good luck! Be sure to post pictures. Have fun!
ck.luis.95 months ago

I don't know why everyone thinks the instruction is great. I can take a look at this and can make something similar without reading anything... which makes the project pretty easy... THE ONE PART AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS INSTRUCTABLE IS MISSING...

HOW DID YOU PUT YOUR NAILS IN TO SECURE THIS? You've taken pictures of every detail of the model, but nothing when it comes the finishing touches...corners doesn't explain anything. how many layers of cardboard am i suppose to puncture?

Sorry but, "To hang my shelf, I used a highly sophisticated method of epicness, by which I mean, "I have no former experience in hanging a shelf of any kind, and thus used a system of nailing around one dozen finishing nails (without large nail heads) to securely hold that puppy to the wall." So essentially what I did was to place a nail in every strategic place I could come up with, mostly including the corners of the shelf. This method turned out to be quite useful. In fact, the shelf felt as sturdy as any ordinary shelf would if it was held to the wall with only a few nails."..... is not an instruction.

What's the point of making a wall shelf...If you can't secure it on the wall?

iTixle2 years ago
Just a tip to anyone doing this: a great alternative to Elmer's glue or hot glue is spray adhesive. It easily forms strong, durable bonds. :)
drabinowitz4 years ago
Notice the skinny piece of cardboard resting over the crack. Notice the skinny piece of cardboard resting over the crack. Notice the skinny piece of cardboard resting over the crack. Notice the skinny piece of cardboard resting over the crack.
Noah9724 years ago
One last question, do you think Command velcro picture hanging strips could hold the shelf, since I don't want to put holes in my wall? (I think they're supposed to hold at least 2 pounds, but I don't remember exactly)
Loshanagan (author)  Noah9724 years ago
Hmm... Well I bet they can hold a bit of weight, however, I think the shelf might fall since it is out from the wall more... That might not make sense because I don't really know how to put it...
Thanks a lot!
Noah972 Noah9724 years ago
Okay, so velcro strips don't work... and I had put a piece of cardboard on the back of my shelf to make it level, but it wasn't stable, so I tore it off, meaning my shelf edges come out almost a full inch from the back of the shelf, and I can't trim them. I also can't use long nails or brackets because they would damage the wall. Can anybody think of a simple, cheap, easy way to hang this without damaging anything that actually works?
You could use two wooden battens about 1" wide that reach the floor, attach your shelf to the battens and velcro the top of the battens to the wall. To make it look good paint the battens gloss black or white - hope this helps or gives you some other ideas.
Thanks! Say, what exactly is a wooden batten?
It's just a thin strip of wood approx 1/2" by 1 1/2" wide, the length will be determined by the height you want the shelf. Just another name for a small plank, on board ships they say "batten" down the hatches, which basically means cover any holes with small planks
Noah9724 years ago
Phew! I finished my shelf on Saturday and it looks great! It's a little wonky, since I'm not too good with an X-acto knife, but it only took 2 Saturdays to make and it's very sturdy. I haven't hung it yet, and I'm still debating how I should do it, but I'm really excited to. My desktop computer is down and I'm on my laptop, so I can't post a picture, but as soon as I can, I will. Very great instructable and really well thought out. Thanks for the idea, and I hope to see more great ones in the future!
Loshanagan (author)  Noah9724 years ago
Wonderful! Yeah please do post pictures when possible!
zpwn064 years ago
would recommend using angle brackets to hang your shelf. These can be purchased from a hardware store, or, of course made from cardboard
Loshanagan (author)  zpwn064 years ago
Yeah, those probably would have been better, but the finishing nails worked well enough, plus I was getting impatient. haha
angle brackets are a nice idea. Your nails are good too - and cheaper!! ;-)
You could also use a french cleat. It's 2 pieces of wood (or cardboard) that are cut at an angle on the long edge. One piece is attached to the wall and the other in the design of the shelf. It will allow the shelf to be moved slightly left and right for aesthetic positioning. If you attach one on the top and bottom edge, it may allow the shelf to hold more weight.

I attached a diagram but a quick Google search will give you more info.

Great job. I'm thinking of building one for next to my desk.
Loshanagan (author)  technofossil4 years ago
I like it...
Since posting it I have been giving it some thought. I don;t think the french cleat will work with a floating shelf. It may pull off the wall. However, you are holding it on with just finishing nails. It may be worth a shot but I think it will need vertical braces coming down to steady it.

Blue Mark4 years ago
For a stronger shelf, just stack together layers of cut-out corrugated cardboard together. They can be glued together with contact cement or spray adhesive into a super lamination. Leave the surface uncovered to celebrate the cardboardness of the material. Laminated corrugated cardboard is incredibly strong - you can make furniture with it. http://www.igreenspot.com/gruff-an-eco-friendly-furniture/
Loshanagan (author)  Blue Mark4 years ago
That is neat, but I didn't have enough cardboard for that type of construction.
pop884 years ago
Hello '
How to stick on the wall
thank you
Loshanagan (author)  pop884 years ago
Check out Step 9
thank you
Loshanagan (author)  pop884 years ago
No problem.
uukay4 years ago
yay i just got an ipod touch 4 days ago
Loshanagan (author)  uukay4 years ago
Good choice!
yeah it is Ipod Touch 4th Generation!
Icalasari4 years ago
How large can you scale one of these before the cardboard couldn't support things?

Because it would be neat to make one large enough to act as a bookshelf, but I highly doubt that that would work
Loshanagan (author)  Icalasari4 years ago
Well if you made a shelf that rested on the floor, like a book case, then you would make it a little differently than my method. The way you hang it is important too. If you hang it with only nails, it won't support weight further out. However, if you use L braces or something different, it'll probably support more further out. (Assuming that the shelf is bigger)
Noah9724 years ago
If you had to give a rough guess, what would be the dimensions of the cardboard you used?
Loshanagan (author)  Noah9724 years ago
As in the total cardboard? Hmm... Maybe about 16" X 16", I'm not quite sure.
Thanks! Great instructable, btw!
Noah972 Noah9724 years ago
I have a cardboard box that was holding a 16" X 20" portrait, so it'll work perfectly!
I was thinking "wait a minute..." until I saw the iPod. :P nice build!
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