In the life of a maker, there are many times when our craft requires that we figure out something unexpected. I encountered such a thing on a recent project when I realized that the grooved interior of a corrugated paper box was just what I needed to finish out the item.
Whether you're using it to hand make a birthday card, or like me, using it to add some texture to a prop, this technique is a quick and low-mess solution to removing that pesky top layer of cardboard.
Step 1: Flatten Out the Box
First, you'll want to begin by finding a box that meets your needs and flattening it out. While it might seem that the fold lines in the box would mess up the pattern along the fold, my experience shows that those folds will become insignificant.
Step 2: Let's Get This Wet
Once the box is flattened, it's time to wet that top paper layer that you're wanting to remove. While some people have suggested submerging the entire box into water, I discovered that using a wet sponge to saturate that top layer of paper is much less messy and keeps the rest of the box much more dry. As a result, your final dry time will go much more quickly.
Step 3: Let's Peel This Box
Wait a few minutes to allow the water to begin to soften the bond between that top layer of cardboard and corrugation, then use one of the side tines of a dinner fork to plow down the valleys of the corrugation in a place or two. As you do this, you're looking for a nice piece you can grab ahold of and start peeling back the top layer.
Using this technique, you should find that some of the peels should travel a greater distance.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
As you go, some areas will be more troublesome than others. Continue using your fork to slide down the ruts in the corrugation and under the top layer of paper, lifting them off.
I was pleased that after a few short minutes, I was able to prepare a large area of cardboard.
While this certainly isn't an everyday project, I hope that others will find this technique useful, and if you have a particular use of peeled cardboard, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks!