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Picture of Mini-shelf from cardboard box
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Need small shelfspace for your desk and want to do something with that cardboard box? Make mini-shelf out of it!

For this instructable you'll need:
* A knife capable of cutting cardboard
* A rectangular cardboard box you don't need for anything else (such as that box where your last internet order came in)

I assume you know that knives can be sharp and give nasty cuts if used improperly and that you know to be careful when using them. That being said, let's get started!
 
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Step 1: Mini-shelf: removing the flaps from the box

Picture of Mini-shelf: removing the flaps from the box
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In this step you cut away the flaps that closed the box. Make sure you only remove the flaps from one side of the box (unless you want a see-through shelf)

Cut through the fold between the flap and the side of the box. Pay attention on how you cut because it will define what the front of your mini-shelf will look like. Repeat this for the other flaps and keep the opposite flaps together.

Step 2: Mini-shelf: Preparing the shelves

Picture of Mini-shelf: Preparing the shelves
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We will now use the flaps to prepare the shelves. Take a group of opposite flaps and mark 2 parallel slits on one of them, stopping just over the middle of the flap. These flaps will be your actual shelves and the slits will determine where your vertical supports will come, so think this through! Then take the other flap and align the straight edge (the one you didn't cut). Proceed to cut along the markings you've made. If the cardboard you use is particulary thick, you may want to cut out a small rectangle to ease assembly (not wider than the thickness of the cardboard, you want some pressure to keep things together)

Do the same for the other flaps that will be your vertical supports. The slits here will determine the height of your shelves, so again, think this through! When you mark the slits, remember to put them on the opposite side from where you marked them on the shelf flaps. This is so you can have all the straight edges on the front. In this project I put the slits for the shelf flaps from the straight edge to the cut edge, on the vertical flaps I had put them from the cut edge to the straight edge.

A note on the making the slits: the slits will only provide stability to the construction when the slit is not wider than the cardboard that goes into it. When it is too narrow however, you may experience difficulties during assembly. If this is the case, make the slit a bit wider. If you made it too wide, either put some tape in the corner after assembly or try to make it narrower by applying tape on the inside of the slit until it is narrow enough.

Another thing to take into account when determining the placement of the vertical supports: don't space them too far out. When you place relatively heavy objects on the shelf it may bend or fold when the spacing is too far. The closer the supports are to one another, the more weight the shelf can support between those supports.

Step 3: Mini-shelf: Assembling the shelves

Picture of Mini-shelf: Assembling the shelves
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After cutting the slits it is time to put everything together! Take a shelf flap and a vertical support flap and align one of the slits on each flap with the open ends pointing towards eachother. Slide them together until the straight edges align. Keep doing this for the other flaps.

When this is done, your construction should be self-supporting.

Step 4: Mini-shelf: final assembly

Picture of Mini-shelf: final assembly
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Now take the shelves you made out of the flaps and fit them into the box where removed them from.

To make things sturdier you can apply tape to the joints.

Step 5: Mini-shelf: Finishing touches and other uses

Picture of Mini-shelf: Finishing touches and other uses
Now that your shelf is finished you can paint or otherwise provide color the unit! But you don't have to use it as a shelf, you can also use it as a box with separators!

Now put your stuff in it and enjoy a tidier desk!