Cardboard Storage Shelf From Single Box

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Introduction: Cardboard Storage Shelf From Single Box

I received a package in a big cardboard box, and I decided to transform it into a 4 shelves storage shelf unit. And if you think cardboard is weak, I'll prove you that you can put a lot of weight on each shelves. Now, let's get started!

Supplies

For this project, you will need :

- A big cardboard box

- Hot glue sticks and a hot glue gun

- An utility knife

- A ruler

Step 1: Cutting the Legs

The first step consist of cutting the four legs of our shelf unit. I cut the legs using the corners of the box. There's four corners and we need 4 pieces so it's perfect! Each legs are 4 cm x 4 cm x 84 cm

Step 2: Cutting the Shelves

In the last step, I've cut the legs out of the cardboard box. That made some left overs and I'm using the sides of the box to make the shelves. I cut two shelves from each pieces. There is one side on each shelves that is already folded, I'm going to do the same for the 3 other sides of the shelf.

Step 3: Cutting Each Shelves to Size

Before I bend the 3 other sides of each shelves, I cut some extra cardboard on each sides, then I cut the corners so it's easier to fold the shelf in the next step.

Step 4: Bending the Sides of the Shelves

One side is already folded, so I bend the 3 other sides by applying a lot of pressure on the line using a big metal ruler. That way, it's easier to fold the cardboard right on the line. So i fold the four sides of each of the four shelves.

Then, I put some painters tape on each corners so they stay temporary in place while I put some hot glue on the inside of each corners of each of the 4 shelves.

I now have four shelves but there still some work to do to make them heavy duty.

Step 5: Reinforcing the Sides

I add a piece of cardboard on the inside of each sides of the shelves to add some strength to the shelf, especially because the lines in the cardboard are on the horizontal instead of vertical, so it's weaker without the cardboard reinforcements I added.

Step 6: Reinforcing the Middle of the Shelf

Now that the sides of each shelf are build tough, the middle is still weak and to fix that, I'm adding a center brace and four smaller pieces to add some strength to the core of the shelf. Trust me, it will be able to take a lot of weight for a cardboard shelf.

Step 7: Fixing the Legs of the Shelf Unit

Now that the four shelves are done, it's time to add the legs. I first glue in place two legs, on one side, on the bottom and the top shelf.

Step 8: Fixing the Legs

Then, I glue in place the last two shelves, then I complete by gluing the last two legs in place.

I want my shelf to take a lot of weight, so I'm reinforcing the inside of the legs between each shelves.

Step 9: Finish Result and Load Test!

Time to test the build, I tried with 133lb total (60kg) of weight and it pass the test easily. I plan to use this shelf unit to store some computer pieces inside a melamine closet unit.

And the beauty of this build is that it's almost free to build, you just need a couple of hot glue sticks and voila!

Thanks for watching, if you like this project, please check my youtube video. Thank you!

Step 10: Youtube Video Tutorial

If you would like to support me and my work, the best way it by watching my youtube video! :-)

Thank you everyone for the support, I'm working hard to bring you more cool cardboard projects!

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1 Person Made This Project!

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27 Comments

0
jfherring
jfherring

2 days ago

This is great. I use two computer monitors daily, of differing heights. The offset makes me crazy. I'm going to make a shelf from some boxes I have with offset shelves to even up my monitors. I think if I paint it black, it will look good on my desk, too. Thank you!

0
Hey Jude
Hey Jude

Tip 8 days ago on Step 10

Nice guide - and congrats!
If you add masking tape to the back of your rule, it skids less. (Not for you, but for noobs).
=D

0
ddulsky
ddulsky

15 days ago

I love CTG technology (Cardboard, Tape and Glue). Nice engineering in your project.
I would just like to give a mention for new folks to be careful when cutting cardboard.
1. Use a sharp blade (safer to use than a dull blade). Sharp blades = less pressure needed
2. Make sure you are cutting on a protected surface, like a cutting mat or extra scrap cardboard. This helps keep your blade sharp.
3. I like to make a light first cut to break the top paper, then follow with one or two heavier cuts to get through the cardboard cleanly.
4. Always keep your holding hand and fingers "behind" where you are cutting. It is very easy to slip with the knife. If you are pressing hard, you slip far.
I see no bandaids on your fingers, so good work!

0
leshemeli
leshemeli

11 days ago

I liked it. You used all the right mechanical rules for getting the strongest profile with the minimum weight.
You shoul be an aeronautical designer.

0
Waystation49
Waystation49

14 days ago on Step 8

Great idea! A slow paced video would help. Record a narration. If you use Zoom you can get a transcript.

Your written explanation here ? I can't follow it. It comes off like IKEA instructions- just figure out by logic vs instructions.

It seems you left out talking about many steps.

Can you also give measurements in inches please .

0
ScienceDiscoverer
ScienceDiscoverer

Reply 12 days ago

Please, understand that not all people are hypersocial like you and many can be not comfortable to talk on camera.

And also, please, can you learn to use measurment system that 99% of the world uses and stop screwing up most of the world population with your stupid system of measurments?

0
gravityisweak
gravityisweak

Reply 13 days ago

Step 10 has a 4 minute video.

0
NikyN2
NikyN2

14 days ago

I'd love to do this (I am in dire need of a shelf), but sadly, my birds ate the box I had... :/

0
CLTuna
CLTuna

14 days ago

I use the rounded end of a window screen spline tool and a straight edge to make fold "grooves" then add a bit of wood glue to stiffen once clamped in place.

0
DavidH677
DavidH677

14 days ago

I love it !
When I lived in a YMCA Hostel 50 years ago (before glue-guns were invented), I made many similar shelves for Young Men without any Money. They easily took tens of kg weight - the one I kept for my room was filled with heavy engineering textbooks throughout my 5 year stay.
Just a word of Hindsight: every time a cardboard shelf flexes Under Load, there's a tiny, invisible amount of tearing. So, as time goes by, the unit starts - ever so gradually - to sway, and the day will eventually come when a vice crashes to the floor.
But you'll have your next delivery box ready long before then :-)

0
SylvanB
SylvanB

Tip 14 days ago

Instead of cutting away the corners of each shelf (two cuts), instead cut one side of the corner and fold along the other to make a tab.

When folding up the edges of the shelf the tab can be glued inside to hold the two edges together.

0
AndrewA167
AndrewA167

15 days ago

Great way to recycle that stuff! How have you found the glue to hold up (mainly the "sheering" weight between the shelves and "leg rails")?

My fear would be that standard hot glue would separate from the paper...

The more industrial high-temp hot-glue might be a better thing; there is also special "hot glue" systems made for cardboard box manufacturing that definitely is meant to "take the weight" so to speak - but that might not be very cost effective (I think ULine carries such things).

If you were willing to wait some time - using something other than hot glue would be possible - E6000 adhesive, or maybe a polyurethane adhesive (gorrilla glue or similar) would be very effective...

0
SylvanB
SylvanB

Reply 14 days ago

White glue (e.g. Elmer's, any polyvinyl acetate based glue), or wood glue (e.g. Titebond) would work well. Something with a bit of flexibility after curing like the E6000 might be better. The polyurethane might be a problem because of the expansion while curing - needs tight clamping. The others I usually use just a bit of masking tape to hold things together while they set.

0
DebM40
DebM40

15 days ago

Love the idea of this! Less in the landfill and in return, we make something useful.

0
StephenB276
StephenB276

15 days ago

A bottom layer of cardboard on the shelves would make it a torsion box design, which has even greater bending and twisting strength.

0
4peanut
4peanut

15 days ago

Excellent instructable. It never occurred to me to reinforce the shelves. Great idea.

I did watch your Youtube video and subscribed!

0
jlms
jlms

15 days ago

That's very nice but I am not sure about the glue supporting that much weight for long, I would try to secure the joints with something else in addition.

0
charlessenf-gm
charlessenf-gm

Reply 15 days ago

Would be an excellent point were the shelves constructed of something other than brown paper in the first place. Card 'board' is still nothing more than paper 'origami,' designed and intended for temporary use. That said, a waterproof (Titebond III?) glue might do better - or Super Glue Gel & activator. However, absent a sealant, the construction might be doomed by a rainy day or storage in a humid environment regardless the adhesive employed.

Marvel at the creativity in meeting the challenge!