Introduction: D.i.y. Cardboard Shelf

Cardboard can be a very useful tool in constructing simple around-the-house devices. Learn how to take a simple cardboard box that was almost trash and turn it into a functional shelf for your trinkets. This cardboard shelf measures 5" wide and 25" long.

You can view this tutorial on one page and other crafts at my blog:

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:
1. Hot glue gun w/ plenty of glue sticks
2. Tape measurer
3. Cardboard Box
4. Xacto knife or box cutter
5. Cutting Mat [optional but very helpful]
6. Paint [optional]

*Images 1, 2, & 4 from Wikimedia commons.

Step 2: Make a Pattern

Begin with a box  and cut it and lay it flat.

Measure out the desired length you want your shelf to be.
This one is 5" X 25".
Create a rectangular pattern using these measurements. Be sure to keep the pattern lines as straight as possible.

Step 3: Cut: Your Pattern

Cut out your first rectangle of cardboard using your box cutter or Xacto knife.

Now you're going to trace out two more cardboard rectangles. You can use the first one as a pattern.

Cut out all three.

During this time, you can also cut out the base of your shelf, which should measure 3 inches wide by 25 inches long. [not pictured.]

Step 4: Cut: Shelf Braces

You will also need to cut a few more piece from the cardboard. These will be the braces or stabilizers that connect your shelf top to the base.

Measure out a triangle brace that is 3 inches wide and 3 inches deep. Make the width and depth meet at a right angle. Connect them with a straight line across the middle. Cut one out and use it as a stencil for your next ones.

You will need to make 8 total.

Step 5: Glue: Braces Together

Now you're going to want to glue two of the braces together, giving it a double-thickness. This will result in four reinforced braces. I used hot glue to do this.

Step 6: Glue: Shelf Pieces Together

Next, using the hot glue gun, glue the three cut-out cardboard pieces that are the length of your shelf.

The three layers of cardboard will give it some strength.

Step 7: Trim: Edges

If you are like me and terrible at cutting, you might need to trim your edges, so that they are smooth. Now is the time to do so.

It's really important to the stability of this structure that every edge be straight and even.

Step 8: Assemble: 3-layer Shelf to Back Base

Next, assemble the three layer shelf to the back base.

Have the hot glue gun ready and loaded. Mine sort of dried half-way through applying the glue.

Using the hot glue, connect the shelf to the top of the base at a 90 degree or right angle.

Hold and press down until it's completely cooled.

Side notes:
See that light shining through at the center of the angle? That's because it wasn't cut straight. I had to sort of seal it with hot glue. This tells me it probably won't be as structurally sound as I want it to be.

Step 9: Assemble: Braces to Back and Top Shelf

Next, add the braces for reinforced security.

Start on the two edges. Glue the corner of the braces into the corner of the shelf. Press them in deep to add security.

Once you secure the outside two, then add the inside two, placing them in equal distance apart in the middle.

Step 10: Optional: Paint

Smooth out the edges with a pair of scissors or your knife.

Paint your shelf if desired.

Step 11: Mount and Decorate

Finally, mount your shelf on a wall and display your hard work! I mounted with nails, but half way through I thought double sided tape would work.

I wouldn't put a book on this, but it's perfect for display of tiny things or candles.

I would have preferred to put another coat of paint on this, but I ran out.