Cardboard Standing Desk Under $5




Introduction: Cardboard Standing Desk Under $5

The goal of this was to make a standing desk with minimal effort, under $5 of materials, and with materials readily accessible either already at home or at your local hardware store.


1 Large Cardboard Moving Box (18”x18”x24”) - $1.78 at Home Depot

1 roll of 1.5” masking tape (you can use any tape, I used blue painters since that’s what I had on hand) - $2.97 from Home Depot

Sharp Box cutter/Utility Knife

Amazon cardboard box, ideally wide enough to hold your laptop and about 10” high

Several books 1-2” thick

Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Working Height

You will want to test this out with a cardboard box probably from a recent Amazon delivery or possibly use a plastic box. Something close to the height of 10-12”.

Set the box on the desk you plan to work on and use books to adjust the height until you feel comfortable. You will also want to see if you are using additional monitors if you can prop those up as well.

Adjust with books until the middle of the main screen you will be looking at is eye level.

Measure the final height from your desk, mine was 12”.

Step 2: Assemble the Moving Box

Put together the moving box, taping each seam and edge.

Step 3: Cut Box to Height

With the box down on its longest side, measure your ideal working height (mine was 12”) on all 4 sides of the box and cut with the utility knife.

Keep cutoff piece, it will be used later on.

Note: I used another broken down box as a straight edge to start my lines.

Step 4: Tape the Inside of the Box

Flip the box to see the inside and tape all of the seams.

Step 5: Breakdown Cut the Edges Off the Excess Piece

Breakdown the cutoff piece from the moving box.

Cut the edges so that all is left is the main flat piece.

Cut this in half.

Note: Keep additional cutoff pieces, they will be used later on.

Step 6: Reinforce Box With Two Wings

Add your two wings in the middle of the box. Measure to ensure they are in even thirds.

Tape all sides and edges, starting with one side and ensuring there are no gaps.

Note: having them even is key, I missed this step and had to adjust things later on.

Step 7: Add a Middle Support

With the shorter cutoff edge of the box, use this to reinforce the middle.

Cut to size and height and tape all edges.

Step 8: Cut Side Reinforcement

With the two long cutoff edges, fold them on the existing crease and then one more time. Do this on both sides.

You should then have a square in the middle, cut this piece out and discard.

Tape the remaining two long pieces together on the edge.

Step 9: Add Side Reinforcements to Box

Fold the side reinforcements into a W.

Insert into each side of the box. (This is where I failed to measure the middle wings to be even, so I had to adjust one of the side reinforcements as you can see)

Tape all edges.

Note: the taping step requires small hands to get into each area, see if you can recruit anyone available to help!

Step 10: Setup Your Standing Desk, You Are Done!

Great job! Post your desks and share any feedback!

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