Introduction: Cardboard Stationery Drawers

Picture of Cardboard Stationery Drawers

Cluttered desk? Paperclips taking over? Elastic bands making a bid for freedom? Drawing pins plotting a painful ambush? Feeling in a crafty mood? Then make a cardboard stationery organiser!

This instructable is going to use an adaptation of the sliding box I made in a previous instructable, so I'm going to send you there first for the basics, and then you can come back when you're done.

Got the hang of sliding boxes? Excellent. Let us continue.

Step 1: What You Need:

  • Card
  • Glue
  • Scissors (or craft knife for neater edges, remember your cutting board)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scoring tool (or use something with a narrow, blunt end like a butter knife or letter opener)
  • Gift paper (optional, for extra decoration)

Step 2: Making the Drawers

Picture of Making the Drawers

If you're making a smaller set of drawers, then you can get away with single walls and use this instructable for the tray to make a single wall drawer. However, double wall is tougher and stands being tugged open more. Also bear in mind that the bigger your stationery drawers, the sturdier your cardboard should be, just so that the drawers aren't too flimsy and can take repeated use.

First, cut your card to size. These drawers are 5cm by 5cm by 2.5cm, so will need a 15cm by 15 cm square of card. This accounts for 5cm for the base, 2.5cm for each side, and another 2.5cm for each side to make the double wall. Adjust your measurements accordingly for the size and shape of your drawers, but this guide will work on the basis you're making the same size as me.

Next you need to mark your template out on the card. Start by making marks with your pencil along each side at 2.5cm, 5cm, 10cm, 12.5cm and 15cm. Then join these marks together with your pencil and ruler on opposite sides to make the grid in the 2nd picture. Then take your ruler and scoring tool of choice the make a firm score along the lines to make them easier to fold neatly. You can just join the marks up with the scoring tool if you feel confident enough to skip the pencil lines part.

Then you need to use your scissors or craft knife to cut away the dark bits on the diagram. If it helps, shade those parts in on your card so you have a guide on what you're cutting out. The important thing to remember is to cut a sliver off each side of the glue flap. This is so when you fold the drawer together, it will fit neatly between the two walls and not cause the edges to get pushed out.

Once it's all cut out, fold all the scored lines inwards - they should naturally want to fold in the direction you want. Then put a dab of glue on each flap, and join the sides together. You should be left with a box that has flaps sticking up from each side. Glue on the inside of these flaps, then fold them down into the drawer and press the sides firmly together. You might find you need to trim a sliver off each of the sides that will fit into the corner so they have enough room to fit together.

At this point, you should have a sturdy little drawer.

Step 3: Making the Drawer Knob

Picture of Making the Drawer Knob

I opted to make a pull flap for these drawers as they're small and so need something simple. The flap also uses up scraps of card, so is in theme with a chest made from cardboard. Cut a square of card that is 2.5cm by 2.5cm, and fold it in half, then on one half cut the corners to make it into a semi circle. Dab a bit of glue on the back of the side of the drawer where the knob will go, and stick the card pull on so that the tab comes over the top and sticks out from the front,

You can easily use something else for the knob - a paper fastener, glue on a bead, or simply cut a semi-circle at the top of the drawer to get your finger in.

Small drawers will get away with simpler knobs, though it you're planning on opening it a lot, you may want to make sure they're very secure. For example, paper fasteners (bizarrely, I don't have any to hand for illustration purposes) and pull tabs will be anchored well, whereas a glued on bead may come off with repeated use. A pony bead with a paper fastener through it would give you security and look good. (The Amazon link is just a basic link for illustration, no affiliate stuff.)

Larger drawers will need something with a decent and secure grip. You'll want it big enough to have a good hold, and secure for pulling the potential extra weight in the drawer. A paper fastener would be too small, but a finger hole would be a good size, have good grip, and also the drawer itself takes the strain of pulling - semi-circles and squares look good, but triangles are less fiddly to cut with only 2 snips (see picture). If you want to grab something for substantial, a small cork or the end of a larger cork attached with a small screw looks fun and works well (see picture). While it may be overkill for a crafty cardboard project, you could also screw some lightweight knobs meant for furniture in the same way.

Step 4: Making the Chest Cavities

Picture of Making the Chest Cavities

As with the sliding box sleeve, your drawer cavity needs to be a fraction larger than the drawer so it can slide in and out. The 2mm (or 1/16th inch) extra on the dimensions mentioned in the previous tutorial will do the trick (or you could try 1mm if you want it really snug). I also add an extra 2mm to the depth of the cavity so that the drawer will slide all the way in and the cavity will stick out a little to make things neater. The difference between this and the sliding box sleeve is that you need an extra flap to create a back to the cavity to prevent the drawers from being pushed back and out. The glue flaps are so small in comparison to the drawers as we don't want them overlapping each other and making the drawer catch.

So, for a 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm drawer, you'll need a piece of card measuring 8.5cm by 16.2cm. That breaks down to 8.5cm wide (5.4cm depth of the drawer, 2.7cm back wall, 0.4cm glue flap) and 16.2cm long (2 x 2.7cm panels, 2 x 5.2cm panels, 1 x 0.4cm glue flap).

As with the drawers, mark out the layout with your pencil with the correct dimensions (long: 2.7cm, 7.9cm, 10.6cm, 15.8cm, short: 5.4cm, 8.1cm), then take your scoring tool and ruler, and run it along all the lines. Then cut around the outline with your scissors or craft knife, and snip off the corners of the glue flaps. When this is done, fold the lines all inwards so you have most of a box that just needs gluing.

The first part to glue is the main box, leaving the back flap as the next step. The easiest way to do this is to fold the box in half with the flap and panel it should attach to on the top. This way it's stable, much easier to line things up, and much easier to put a bit of pressure on to make sure the card is glued together. Straighten it all up so you have your box sleeve with the flap lying flat on the table at the back.

Now to glue the back on. The smaller your drawers, the more fiddly this step will be. First of all, fold your flaps in over the back and check to make sure none of them overlap. If they do, then trim them a little. At this point I recommend leaving your flaps mostly folded down and applying the glue. Then fold it up until the edges all meet up, and hook your fingers inside the cavity to push the flaps up to meet the sides, and press against the table or another finger on the outside to make sure they're stuck down. A cotton swab/Q-tip is quite handy for doing this as it will give you better access.

Once it's dry, test your drawer fits and can slide in and out.

Step 5: Putting It Together

Picture of Putting It Together

To make a chest of drawers, you need to glue the cavity boxes together. Dab on the glue, then carefully line two of the boxes together and use your fingers on the inside of the cavities to make sure they're sticking securely together. Do the same for the rest of your cavity boxes. When the glue is dry, pop your drawers in, and you have a functional set of stationery drawers.

If you don't like the join lines on the sides of your chest cavity (and you don't want to make a feature out of them by perhaps using different coloured card for each section), then you can cover over them. You could use card panels that are cut to size and glued on, which would make the structure more rigid, or some funky wallpaper. For a smaller chest like this one you can get away with wrapping/gift paper, which is what I used. As it's basically a box, it's easy enough to line up the edges with the wrapping paper and glue it on neatly, like you would wrap a present, just leaving one side open. Or you could even wrap it in funky gaffer/duct tape if gift wrapping is not your forte.

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Bio: Crafting as a means to distract myself from the horror show that is 2016. If I'm making things or plotting to make things, it ... More »
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