Introduction: Homemade Cardboard Magazine Box

Picture of Homemade Cardboard Magazine Box

I'm basically tired of spending $2-5 for a magazine box. So its time to make my own. This was one of those projects a long time coming. So I finally said "Hell, I can make one of these. It's only a folded piece of cardboard". So lets rock n' roll.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

You'll need the following materials:

  • Scrap Cardboard that is about 15" x 29" (I had scrap cardboard from a bath tub that I installed a while back, but you can also use wine boxes or large boxes that you can get for free at sam's club/costco)
  • Glue (Either yellow wood glue or white glue)
  • The blueprint below.


  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Razor/utility knife
  • Pencil

Step 2: Layout

Picture of Layout

Attached is a AutoCAD drawing that I made of the box layout. I saved it as a PDF so that a lot more people could view it.

Square up the cardboard using the corrugation marks on the face of the cardboard. And then start to layout the cuts and folds on the cardboard blank. Double check all your measurements and layout marks. I even messed up on this and didn't layout the top of the box correctly. Live and learn.

Step 3: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

Basically take a razor and cut out the outline of the pattern. Remember, don't cut the fold lines.

One other note, when looking at the blueprint, the bottom part marked "first", has a dotted line 1/2" from the bottom. It is highly advised that you first cut up to that half inch line instead of cutting the whole 1" section out, here is why. When I made the first couple of boxes, I noticed that my cutting, but especially my folding was not spot on. And the 1" gap, ended up being to big of a gap, with little support for the "third" section while test fitting before glue-up. So by starting at 1/2" up, you give yourself a better chance at a tighter fit on the bottom.

Step 4: Folding

Picture of Folding

Now that everything is cut out, it is time to make all the folds. I ended up using a self healing mat as a folding guide. But the best would be a sheet metal brake, which I don't have.

Step 5: Glue-up

Picture of Glue-up

Now we are getting close to the finished box.
Apply a bit of glue to the flap and attach it to the inside of the front face. I just clamped it to my work bench for about an hour to dry.

Step 6: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Now that everything is glued, you basically have the same product that you get from your local office supply store. Just fold all the bottom flaps and the front flap. And you have yourself a finished magazine box.

Step 7: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

Start filling it up with magazines.

Step 8: Mods

One piece of cardboard 15" x 29" is kind of tough to find. I ended up having a piece that was about 29" x 65", so I was able to make four boxes, but they were all about an inch short in height.

I have considered that you can make the box out of two pieces of cardboard. So if you use a wine box, you can use opposite corners of the box, while using the bottom flaps of the box as the bottom flaps of the magazine box. At least six bends are all ready done for you.


JulieS63 (author)2015-10-18

Hello, do you still have the AutoCad format? Would you mind sharing it? Thanks!

AbigailT2 (author)2015-05-22

this looks really cool i just about to start this project

MisterBlik made it! (author)2015-03-24

Mod Podged some Sunday Comics on the outside of mine. Also shown is the cardboard tablet mount I made. (author)2014-10-23

Nice and easy. Love it........

screaminscott (author)2008-02-18

Very nice instructable. However, I wonder if it's really worth it to copy the design of the commercially available boxes. They were created so a person could buy it and assemble it with no glue. As long as you are gluing it anyway, why not make a design that requires gluing but is quicker to cut and assemble. Remember, Office Depot has a pack of 6 of these for $9.99. Is it really worth is to spend the time on all those complicated cuts?

ausable (author)screaminscott2008-02-19

Well then take the design and mod it so you don't have to use glue. And yes it is worth spending the time to make it. I've already done all the legwork on this project. Plus it is made out of 100% recycled cardboard, which is cardboard that normally would have been sent to a landfill. Can you say that same about your Office Depot boxes? I think not.

screaminscott (author)ausable2008-02-20

What I meant was: It might be a good idea to mod the design to use MORE glue, since you have to glue it somewhere anyway. For example, you could make flaps bottom of the box much simpler (just simple rectangles), and just glue or tape them together. You really don't need the cool 'self closing' design, because you arent trying to ship them flat. I guess its just part of my mindset. I like things simpler, faster, cheaper. Others prefer cool design. It's whatever turns you on.

marton891 (author)screaminscott2012-06-23

I couldn't agree more with screamingscott. Since there's no need to ship them flat, it would be easier/faster to keep them simpler by using rectangles and just tape it together.. but hey, awesome work!

vbmakes (author)2012-02-20

I have to admit, the cuts were a little complicated, and it took me a while to make this, but that's probably because I'm not used to making crafts. Either way, I'm glad I stuck to my goal and made this happen! I wish I would have copied the outline of the template before I pasted it together.

SparkleRox (author)2012-02-13

Thank you for this part especially! I found some cardboard magazine holders but they didn't have instructions on how to fold the bottoms and I just could not figure it out. These pictures were very helpful.

radracer (author)2011-12-11

I really love this instructable. I'd rather put the $2 down for a 5 pack FLYT at IKEA, but the nearest one is a 2 hour drive, so this saves me gas.

ashleybmeyer (author)2011-04-14

Just made one! Easy enough for my lazy self, and definitely beats spending $11 at Officemax or schlepping all the way to ikea or whatever. I used gorilla glue, works great. Thanks for the great instructable! I might decorate it with fabric or something if I feel ambitious.

Cardboardexpert (author)2010-08-20

I think this is a great forum. I happen to make cardboard ( corrugated ) boxes and everything in this material professionally. This is excellent!

tbcross (author)2010-05-08

I do a lot of mailing ( hatching eggs) so I have a lot of priority mail boxes some of which um..I wrote the address wrong lol. Anyway they are free, heavy duty, and perfectly sized if you get a medium flat rate box.

joeybombstyle (author)2009-09-26

Thanks for posting this I had been rolling around in my head doing just this. Now I have everything worked out for me. This is great.

ausable (author)joeybombstyle2009-09-27

You're welcome!

shabagana (author)2009-07-11

This is a good idea but couldn't you just cut a cereal box?

ausable (author)shabagana2009-07-14

You could, but it won't be as strong as using corrugated cardboard.

wolfganges (author)2009-02-06

Hi! Can you please tell me are these cm (centimeters) or ft? cheers wolfgang

ausable (author)wolfganges2009-02-06

The measurements are in inches on the PDF.

wolfganges (author)ausable2009-02-06

thanks! now I can start creating my cardboard magazine box!

ausable (author)wolfganges2009-02-06

you're welcome

desert bloom (author)2008-07-04

I successfully completed 4 cardboard magazine boxes. Great idea...thanks.

wongsta (author)2008-03-29

lol they sell these at ikea, flatpacked! While i was buying them it separated (two boxers per LARGe sheet of cardboard)

cyenobite (author)2008-02-16

nice instructable! Here's a tip for getting accurate folds with corrugated board... You can use a "burnisher" from any art store (like this one: ), or a ball point pen (basically something that comes to a point, but will not actually cut the board like a knife.)
On the INSIDE of the fold, press down hard enough to score the fold line (you may rip the first layer of paper, that's ok, when it folds, you won't see the rip). But one quick score like that and the board will fold very easily and accurate.
I can also recommend using a hot glue gun too for gluing cardboard - fast and strong.

ausable (author)cyenobite2008-02-18

I'll have to give that burnisher tip a try on the next set of boxes.

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-02-16

Cool! I just get wesson canola oil boxes from Sam's club.

rodelu (author)2008-02-15

Good instructable - but I hope you put something under the cardboard before you cut - it'd be a shame to cut through that hardwood floor!

ausable (author)rodelu2008-02-15

The floor is laminate, and it's totally messed up. But I just cut it in my lap, with the self healing mat on my lap

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-15

I have these at school, and really want one. Now I can do it! Now my desk won't be incredibly messy anymore. Great Instructable.

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