Modular Honeycomb Shelves





Introduction: Modular Honeycomb Shelves

About: Hi! You can call me Ardee. I'm a specialist (self claim) in paper and cardboard related DIY projects. You can see more of my works at

Hi All! Today I’m going to share with you on how to make a Modular Honeycomb Shelf with cardboard. I love honeycomb type shelves and I was inspired to make one myself after reading Instructables from Andrew Cleveland for his Beehive-Shelves and vickyadrian’s work on Honeycomb-Cardboard .

As for the main material I have dismiss the usage of wood since I have no power tools to work with; plus I’m bad at woodworking. Like vickyadrian did, I chose cardboard because it’s cheap (well, basically it’s free) and easy to work with. My method of building will be different from his/her though, as I’ll show you later.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Here is my items list:
  • Double Wall Corrugated Cardboard Sheets (my cardboard thickness is around 7mm)
  • Normal Cardboard
  • Cutter
  • Glue (I use white glue, it sticks the cardboards well)
  • Binder Clip (get the biggest one, it need to be able to bind at least 1” minimum thickness)
  • Masking tape or craft tape
  • Paint
  • Spray paint
  • Putty filler
  • Sandpaper

Step 2: Shelf Design and Template

The dimension of the shelf are; 266 mm length x 187 mm height x 150 mm depth. It is quite small for a shelf but considering that we are using cardboard here, I kinda worried that a bigger one will compromise the structure integrity. You can make the size bigger while adding more layers (thickness) of the cardboard.

My idea to build this shelf is by ‘sandwiching’ the corrugated cardboard with a layer of normal cardboard. This will turn the corrugated cardboard into a wood plank-like shape to make it easier to shape and glued.

You can see the template measurement in the picture above. Please note that my corrugated cardboard thickness is 7 mm, if your cardboard has different thickness do adjust the dimensions accordingly.

Step 3: Draw and Cut the Template

Draw the templates on the cardboard; there will be two (2) template A – for the top and bottom, and four (4) template B – for the sides. That makes it a total of six (6) cardboard ‘planks’.

Step 4: Fold the Cardboard

Crease the cardboard to make it easier to bend and fold. Fold the cardboard as an envelope for the corrugated cardboard.

Step 5: Cut the Corrugated Cardboard

Cut the corrugated cardboard according to the size of the cut out template. Insert the corrugated cardboard into the folded cardboard. Apply a plenty amount of glue to ‘sandwich’ it together. Use the binder clip to clamp the cardboard while the glue dries.

Once dried, cut the excess cardboard on both sides. Use the outer cardboard angle as a guide (that’s the reason for the sandwich cardboard).

The angle is important to attach the cardboard planks together. If the angle is a bit off, you’ll have a hard time to glue it together, and it wouldn’t shape like a perfect hexagon like we intended to.

Step 6: Glue the "Planks"

At this moment you'll have a total of six (6) cardboard planks. To make it easy to glue it together, first arrange the planks on a flat surface. Use masking/craft tape to hold the planks. Turn it over and apply glue along the connecting edge of each planks.

Next fold the planks to make a hexagon shape. Here's a tip on how to make sure your shelf is really hexagon. Draw a template of the hexagon shape (from the template in Step 2) on a piece of paper. While the glue is still wet rest the shelf on top of the paper. This serves as a guide for you to make sure that you have the exact hexagonal shape that you want.

Step 7: Putty Filling, Sanding, and Painting

Remove the masking tape and start filling the gaps with putty filler. Once done, smooth the rough surface with sandpaper. Be cautious during sanding because you might peel off the cardboard skin (we are dealing with cardboard here, not wood) . I applied a thin coat of white paint (water base) to the shelf and then finished the coating with acyrilic spray paint.

Step 8: The Secret of Modular Shelves

It wouldn’t be a honeycomb shape with a single hexagon so you need to build a few more shelves to stack it together. The secret to the modular shelving is the binder clip. I first spray paint the binder clip white to match the shelf color.

Use the binder clip to attach the shelves together. Once you clipped it in, remove the clip's handle.

Step 9: Arrange the Shelves to Your Liking

With the binder clip you can arrange your honeycomb shelves position and pattern to your liking. Hence I called it modular honeycomb shelves =)

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    20 Discussions

    Good project! I would maybe try gluing the card board sheets with the grain running perpendicular to each other for strength at the beginning. Just a thought : )

    1 reply

    To make the shelves stronger cut the cardboard shelves so that the

    corrugation in the cardboard runs from left to right

    1 reply

    If I understand you correctly, you're suggesting that the cardboard to be cut along the corrugated line, not across it. Well, I have a perception that gluing the cardboard across its corrugated surface would make the joint stronger. I could be wrong on that. Thank you for your suggestion! I should try it next time.

    This is pretty clever. I like it most do to the fact most of the items needed are probably in your house, garage, or work shed already. So, that means free or very close to it. the special paint might be something folks would need to purchase. You have something here that can go so much further than a "shelf". What I mean by that is...Think of all the different storage designs you could do with this. even doing the same design as this as it was made as shelving, place it in a drawer and wow, look at all the compartments you would have to organize all kinds of things...A craft room...If you have a dresser in your craft room, this is perfect to organize all the little items that come with making crafts. Same for a sewing room. A child's playroom, a girls room (jewelry, makeup, hair stuff, etc... A classroom...crayons, stickers, paper clips, pens, pencils, list is endless. There are plenty of DIY organizing techniques but this one here could be a true winner for people. free (especially for teachers as they already have these items) and cheap for others...would not necessarily need to use "special" paint either because all you'd need to do is use construction paper (all different colors) in place of the white special cardboard used in your design. I mean it's just going in a drawer but yet, can still make it look nice with colorful construction type paper and not even need to paint it. the possibilities of this project are endless...and consider making your own videos on YouTube and having a channel showing people how to make not just this but all different designs and what different ways this very technique could be used. Shelving, organization for drawers, closets, cupboards, even in cars maybe (small grocery shop, bags flair all around and the items all fall out, doing something like this on a larger scale might prevent that) in addition, folks on lots of medicines could organize them, if you figure out a way to make this a little stronger (maybe doubling the cardboard) this would be great to hang on a closet door for kids shoes...possibilities with your design are absolutely endless. I can't say enough how much of a great job you did here for people with very little money. again, make a YouTube channel...get this design and technique out there for the world to see how it's made..visually ???????????

    1 reply

    Hi, thank you very much for your encouraging words! I do a lot of craft projects with papers and cardboard, mostly because it's cheap and easy to work with using normal tools. And this Instructables is the kind of DIY project that anyone can start with either at home or school. I'll leave it to others to use this idea as a basis to create more awesome projects; like all those that you mentioned above!

    I hope my work can inspire others as much as how I was inspired by the work of others.

    Quite interesting and thanks for linking to the other projects. Seeing your construction, the weakest points are probably the connections of the planks. The tape you used before the gluing should give some additional stability. Instead of the tape you could also use thin cardboard or paper and glue it there with large overlaps. That could increase the stability of these points.

    1 reply

    Now that you mentioned it, I did worried about the joint strength. I should have tape the joint or layer it with cardboard. I was too worried about the thickness that I have overlook this. Thanks for the idea man!

    Wow..that project is so cool. How I wish to have such skill level as yours!

    You can make them out of MDF with about the same effort and it will have a nicer finish.

    But this is pretty good for cardboard and paper ;)

    1 reply

    Yep, you are right. MDF board or wood would definitely be a better choice for the material. I used cardboard because it's cheap and available in every household. So I hope that everyone is inspired by this project and can start building their own shelves. =)


    1 year ago

    wow, good idea! thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    This would be perfect for clothes! Roll up each outfit, and put one per hole. One hole per day of the week!

    1 reply