Paper Container




Very low cost folded paper container, for holding small items (such as screws) during repair, assembly, construction etc.

Can also be used as an envelope for carrying items securely.

It's disposable, recyclable, sustainable, environmentally friendly plus widely and freely available.

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Step 1: Making a Paper Square From a Rectangular Sheet

Take a rectangular sheet of paper. In America this could come from a legal pad, or in Europe an A4 notepad.

You are going to use basic paper folding techniques to crop it square.

Use your finger/thumb nails to form sharp, straight creases. If your nails are too short, use the edge of something like a credit card or a plastic ruler.

Step 2: First Corner Fold

Turn down the top right corner, aligning the short edge of the paper accurately with the left, long edge.

If you have made a paper aeroplane, or tried some basic Origami, this move should be famliar to you. Or you may be lucky enough to have some square paper already.

Step 3: Folding the Waste Piece

Open out the diagonal fold you have just made.

Turn up the bottom short edge to make a horizontal fold. This should be parallel to the top edge of the paper. A square will be created when this horizontal fold intersects the bottom right end of the first diagonal crease.

Step 4: Tear Off a Strip

Open out the paper, then remove the waste portion, leaving a square with only one crease in it, the diagonal one. Tear or cut, as you prefer. If tearing, don't worry about any slightly rough edges.

(If you were making a paper aeroplane, the piece you are now discarding would form its tail).

Step 5: Diamond Shape

Rotate the square to form a diamong shape, with the single crease horizontal.

Step 6: Triangle

Lift the bottom point of the diamond up, to meet the top point.

Crease the centre fold sharply.

Step 7: Left Side

Bring the left point of the triangle across to meet and stop at the right, sloping edge. Keep what was the lower left edge of the double skin of paper parallel to the base of the triangle.

Step 8: Right Side

Repeat the previous step, but this time do it for the right side, bringing it over and on top of the left side flap.

Make all the creases sharp, to keep the flaps in place as much as they will. Thinner papers will behave better than thick ones at this stage.

Step 9: Front Top Flap

Fold the top front flap down, over the two side flaps, keeping the fold in line with the points at each side, creasing it sharply to hold them in place. The point will line up with the apex of the small triangle which has appeared by itself at the base of the container.

The top front flap locks things down.

Step 10: Rear Flap

Turn the whole assembly over and fld down the rear flap.

The container is flat at tis stage and you are going to open it out, gently, and squeeze it into a cup shape, or a truncated cone, rather like the ones used in some office drinking water dispensers.

Step 11: Dent the Base

Push your thumb into the base of the container, to make a dimple. It may help to put two or three fingers into the mouth of the cup, to oppose the force of your thumb pushing the paper in..

Step 12: Squeeze Into Shape

Squeeze the folded seams of the sides of the container together, making a cup shape.

The conainer is not free-standing but will lean quite happily against something else.

It's now ready to store those pesky little parts that would otherwise roll off the bench onto the carpet and get lost. You can write notes on it to help you re-assemble things.

Step 13: Envelope

You can squash the container back down almost flat, while keeping its contents inside. Bring the top rear flap over the meet the front flap, forming an envelope.

You can stick the flap down for greater security in transit.

This container has many uses. With the right paper, it will even hold water long enough for you to drink from.

You might also try making some of these from larger sheets of paper, such as newsprint. With the appropriate choice of materials, you can easily fashion silly hats, or create temporary plant pots for example.

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58 Discussions


8 years ago on Introduction

Great 'ible, thanks, with very clear and thorough instructions. .. and what good comments, too :)

1 reply

9 years ago on Introduction

Very easy directions to follow though I am sure they were far from easy to write out. I was able to make my cup happily stand up just by folding the little points on the bottom inwards, though it will probably fall down if I put too much in to it. This is great and thank you for sharing.

1 reply

Thank you. Glad yours stood up on its points.

There are some useful suggestions amngst the comments about this 'ible.


11 years ago on Introduction

I haven't read through all the comments so I don't know if these things have been mentioned, but I make these for my kids' snacks sometimes and don't have time to cut or tear off the bottom of the magazine page that I've used. So I just leave it attached (keep it folded up and just continue with the folding. Also, I don't use tape and it holds just fine.

1 reply

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

Thanks. Your snack sacks also sound like a good way to encourage young readers. Peter


11 years ago on Introduction

i have been making these since 3 years ago! I was just about to post mine until i saw this. Mine has a cup holder, should i still post?

2 replies

Of course you should post. The great wonder of people is their different approaches to the same ideas. I look forward to seeing your version. Regards, Peter Bryenton


12 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable. I tried printer paper when I did this, only to find that it leaked through the paper itself. I then discovered that I could filter sugar water (but not salt water) with my make-shift filtering cup. Could be a very useful application by chemists if they have the right type of paper. Or even to drain starch out of pasta? Haha

1 reply

Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

Shame about the salt water: I suddenly had a vision of a gigantic, eco-friendly ocean-based desalination plant.


12 years ago on Introduction

I just made it, and I am eating Cheesz-Its Out of it right now. Good Instructable! Mmm.... Cheese...

1 reply