I have a CD storage shelf that has been used for storing various small knick-knacks (since CDs aren't used in this house anymore), but storing lots of small stuff like this makes it easy for stuff to fall out, and it also looks messy. To fix this, I made some storage boxes.
I made the boxes from 3 mm cardboard, and covered all sides with printed paper to make them look good. I decided to make them different to make it easier to remember which one contains what. The boxes shown here are covered with an old tourist map and pages from a disintegrating Tintin album.
Step 1: Bring Out the Right Tools
You need to make sure that you have the right tools. This is what I used:
- cutting mat
- metal ruler
- sharp knife (I used both an X-acto knift and a carpet knife)
- brush to spread glue
- interfacing or similar to avoid glue sticking to stuff it shouldn't stick to
- a press is good, but if you don't have one a few heavy books or something like that also works
Step 2: Make the Box Sides
To begin with, figure out what size you want your finished box to be. I wanted mine to be pretty snug in the shelf, except for some free space on top. That meant that my box got a bottom which is 15.5 cm wide and 15 cm deep. I decided to make the box 10.5 cm high, mostly because that meant I could use a scrap of cardboard I had lying around.
To make this box, I need a bottom, two side sides and two front/back sides.
Bottom: 15.5 x 15 cm
Front/back: 15.5 x 10.2 cm
Side: 14.6 x 10.2 cm
I'm making the bottom the size I want the finished box to be. The sides stand on the bottom piece, so the finished box will be the height of the side pieces plus the thickness of the bottom. I make the front and back sides the same width as the bottom. The width of the side sides will thus be the depth of the bottom piece minus twice the thickness of the cardboard used.
Step 3: Glue Covering to Sides
Cut out pieces of whatever you want to cover the box sides with. I used a tourist map. It's easiest to just lay each piece on your covering and cut a little way outside (to make a slightly too large piece of covering). When you have all the pieces you need, bring out the glue.
Apply glue to the correct side each piece and affix the covering as desired. To figure out which side is the correct side to put the glue on, check if your cardboard is bent. If you can see that your pieces are somewhat convex, apply the glue to the convex side. When the glue dries, it will shrink somewhat, making the piece less bent. Make sure the entire piece is covered, and make sure that 1 cm or so is sticking out at least along the side that will be towards the top of the box on the four side pieces.
Put the pieces on something flat (with interfacing in between, to avoid unwanted sticking) and put under pressure. Leave overnight.
Once dry, trim away unwanted cover material on all edges except the top edge. Here you fold along the edge and glue down. This will be the top edge of the box. Leave to dry. Cut away the surplus.
Step 4: Build the Box
Lay down the bottom piece in front of you with the covered side upwards. Take the back side (which should be the same width as the bottom) and apply glue to the bottom edge. Holding the back with the covered side towards the inside of the box, press the edge down along the edge of the bottom piece. Make sure it is well aligned. Hold the back steady for a few minutes.
Take a side piece and apply glue to the bottom and the edge that will be towards the back side. Fit snugly with the covered side inwards and press down, making sure to make all edges align as well as possible. Repeat for the other side.
Take the front piece and apply glue to the bottom. Then apply glue to the front-facing edges of the sides. Fit the final piece with the covered sides inwards.
Your box is now in its final shape and needs to dry. Place an old folded newspaper or so on top of the box and then put gentle pressure on top (a few books or so). The newspaper is there to spread the weight to all sides even if all your sides are not of prefectly even height. Leave this to dry.
After drying, check all joints to verify that the glue has made contact. If not, put some glue in the crack with a piece of paper dipped in glue and then apply pressure again.
Step 5: Cover the Outside of the Box
Once again, cut pieces from your covering material to cover the sides of the box. Start with the two sides, and make pieces that are about 2 cm wider than the box and 1 cm higher. Apply glue to the side of the box and affix the covering so that the top edge is aligned with the edge of the box. Leave 1 cm sticking out on the other sides. Put the box with this side down on a folded newspaper. Repeat with the side of the box which is now on the top. After gluing, lay another newspaper and then apply weight (books or whatever).
After this has dried, trim the surplus covering material to make nice flaps. Glue these down on the adjacent box sides.
To cover the front and back of the box, cut two new pieces of covering, but make them the exact width of the box. Only leave material sticking out towards the bottom of the box. Glue these as the other two sides. Allow to dry.
Trim the surplus to make two new flaps towards the bottom. Make sure that these don't over lap the previous flaps. Glue them down.
Finally, cut out a new piece of covering that is exactly the same size as the bottom of the box and glue this to the box.
Step 6: Clean Up the Mess
Enjoy the difference between the old messy shelf and the new nice-looking shelf with storage boxes in it.