Introduction: Simple Organizing Cardboard Shelf

I have found a nice double corrugated cardboard box in the street and was wondering what to do with.

My wife just remind me what a mess our "not so common" desk was with all my DIY things spread all around (I don't post any photos of that because I don't want internet to see it;-). As we don't have a very big desk, I decided to make a very simple desk organizer shelf to store my projects, parts and pieces and other stuffs.

So I started to make a very Simple Cardboard Shelf that could organize my stuffs and be integrated on our desk.

In this I'ble you will not only see how I did my own shelf but you will learn one of the techniques used to make cardboard furniture (made simple)!

What you will need

  • Large double (or triple) corrugated cardboard box (mine is obviously coming from a water heater)

    vs

    Double corrugated / Simple corrugated

  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Hot glue gun
  • Gummed kraft paper (+water + sponge)
  • Paint

Let's Make it!

Step 1: Cuttings

You will need to cut 5 parts out of your cardboard. Here are my dimensions but more than building exactly the same as mine for you, I encourage you to determine which are the best dimensions for your shelf. This I'ble aims more to demonstrate an easy way to build a cardboard shelf than imposing you dimensions and shelf shape.

So here are my 5 parts dimensions:

  • 2 parts: 34cmx95cm for the sides
  • 3 parts: 30cmx34cm for the shelves
  • 6 parts: 1cmx34cm for the reinforcements

Take care to have as squared angles as possible to insure a stable shelf.

Step 2: Cutting the Notches

Measure the thickness of your cardboard.

On the sides of your shelf, cut notches at desired height. Take care about the orientation of your cardboard, especially if you have blank sides that you want to have on the exterior of your shelf.

My shelves are positioned every 25cm, meaning that I will have 25 cm height between 2 shelves: I have one notch every 25cm.
As my cardboard is 6mm thick, my notches are... 6mm wide.
As my shelf will be 34 cm deep, each notch (on the side but also on the shelves) should be 17 cm (half the depth of the shelf: 34/2).

Do the same notches on your shelves. I cut them 1 cmaway from the edge.

As a result you will have a shelf with 3 levels, positioned every 25 or so cm, 27cm wide and 34cm deep.

Step 3: Assembling the Shelf

Once all your parts are ready, let's start the assembly.

Work on a stable and flat area.

Take one side and one shelf and insert the notches until you reach the end. Take care to align the notches not to damage the cardboard. As cutting might be not as precise as needed nor the thickness of your cardboard so constant, extra force can be applied. However, take car not to damage the 1cm part of your shelves.

This 1 cm shelves can spike out as on one of my photo. Don't worry, it is just due to the fact that your cuttings were not accurate enough. We will glue it to the side later.

Once your shelves are in place, hot glue the reinforcements just on the inner side of the sides, just under the shelf. It will drastically reinforce the capacity of the shelf).

Use your hot glue gun to fix all spiking parts and so.

Rearrange the geometry to have a coherent aspect and shape.

You are almost done.

Step 4: Finishing the Shelf

As finishing, I like to use gummed kraft. It has 2 advantages:

  1. it strengthen the structure by adding some more structural coherence and maintaining parts altogether
  2. it allows to mask corrugation and prepare the structure for the final steps of painting

As you can see on the photo I am not a master of krafting and I guess you could obtain a much better looking finish. However I am still happy with the global result.

My last level was too high so I decided to cut it in a wave-shape.

Now we are ready for the Painting Atelier.

Step 5: Painting Atelier and Final Result

I could have painted it but as I am a loving dad and I love making things with my sons I decided to organize a painting atelier for my children to decorate my shelf.

It was a fun moment for all of us, incl. the cleaning shower they had according to the kilograms of paint they have all over their bodies and faces.

As my shelf will be facing a wall on one side, we painted only the visible side.

I have now an organized desk with a nicely decorated shelf.

Thanks for reading!!

Don't forget to like and vote ;-)


Hint for all mums and dads:
I have a very good life hack for painting Atelier for mums and dads. I live in an apartment with no particular space for my kids to paint. To avoid having to much paint on the table, I use a pallet divider. Go to your local grocery store, and ask for it. This is kind of corrugated plastic foil, looking very much like cardboard. You got that in between milk or water bottles when on a pallet.

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Bio: I am just a guy who love making things Proud father of 2, I cook, build lots of things, learn new things (CAD, Arduinno...), gardening ... More »
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