Introduction: Cardboard Box Template

About: I work as a Realtor at Keller Williams - Fredericksburg. I'm also a partner in a granite countertop company. Married to Jodie. We have (2) awesome children, Anissa & Troy.

Have you ever needed to ship an item & had a hard time finding a box that it fits? You can use a template to build a box from scratch or to resize a box that fits perfectly. Settling for a larger-than-needed container can cost a lot in extra shipping costs, and searching for the right shape & size can be a big waste of your time. Try building your own. This is a good skill to have if you ship a lot of packages.

Step 1: Measure

What you'll need:

  • Blank corrugated sheets or used cardboard boxes
  • Tape Measure
  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Hot glue gun
  • Pencil

Cardboard boxes are usually described by their Length, Width & Height, i.e., 12"x10"x4". Most of the time you can measure an item and add approx. 1 inch to each of these dimensions for the container you're creating. Getting thoses dimensions right by adding them in your head can be frustrating (at least for me it is), but if you write the #'s on a blank template it can be a lot easier.

Step 2: Complete the Template

Fill in all of the blank boxes on the template with the dimensions you need. Add the correct #'s together to figure the length & width of the sheet of cardboard you'll be using. I work for a company that uses blank sheets of cardboard to build templates for granite countertops. Upholstery shops, auto body shops, house painters & shipping companies are other examples of businesses that use blank sheets of corrugated material. Used & new cardboard boxes are an excellent source for the material you'll need. Some of the folds you'll need to make might already be included and used boxes are usually free!

Step 3: Draw & Cut-out Your Pattern

Make sure the cardboard sheet is at least as big as the dimensions on the template (A & B). If you can't find corrugated material big enough to make a box in one piece, use the template called "2-Piece Box" & use 2 or more sheets to make one box (see Step # 6: "2-Piece Box").

Cut the sheet down to the desired length & width (A & B dimensions). Use a tape measure or a long straight edge ruler to recreate the lines & dimensions on the drawing. The lines on the cardboard will (should) end up looking a lot like the drawing on the template. The solid lines on the template are meant to be cut & the dotted lines are meant be folded.

Step 4: Folding the Edges

Use your straight edge to fold edges up along the pencil marks to make the edges of the box. You may have the kneel on the straight edge to hold it in place. If its a long line, start on one end of a fold & work your way down to the other end. Don't worry if your fold starts out a little crooked. Just straighten it as you go & fold the flap all the way over once you get relatively close. It's OK if you have to flatten a fold again in order to bend the next one. It will bend again when you need it to.

Step 5: Glue

Use a hot-glue gun to put your box together. Make sure the first glue joint ends up with a nice 90° corner. You can glue the ends together & load from the side or glue one end & two sides together & load from it from the end like I did here.

Step 6: 2-Piece Box

If you can't find corrugated material big enough to make a box in one piece, use the template called "2-Piece Box" & use 2 or more sheets to make one box. Cut out (2) identical sheets & glue one of the 2" Tabs to the end of the other sheet. Use your straight edge to make sure they're glued along a straight line. Then go back to Step 3 to complete your box.

Step 7: Ship It!

If you glue the flaps together when after you've packed your box, it will likely end up being stronger & more durable than most taped-together shipping boxes that you can buy.