green living DIY

Great Ways to Upcycle Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard is a great packaging that’s more environmentally friendly than its main competitor – plastic. Making it creates very little waste and toxic byproducts, all while being suitable for recycling several times. Cardboard box manufacturers explain that the design and the finishes you put on the cardboard boxes are also important in this article here.

While recycling is a good way to reuse cardboard, you can reduce the carbon footprint even more by upcycling it yourself.

Pet Beds

The first thing many people think about when you say: “an empty cardboard box” is a cat nestled right in it, even if it is a bit too small for it to fit comfortably. There is a scientific explanation why they do it, but you can take their box beds to a new level with these simple tips:

  • Cut foam to fit in the bottom and cover with your favorite fabric or use an old cushion.
  • Paint the sides or use a glue gun to cover with fabric. A glue gun and some faux fur will also create a comfy interior for your furry friend.
  • Use a stapler to attach bits of string or balls on strings so they have something to play with.

Pinhole Cameras

Also known as a camera obscura, a pinhole camera is a simple device made form a box that allows you to take pictures. Be sure to get a box which won’t let the light in, so it shouldn’t have any holes in it. Make a hole in one side of your box. Cut a thin piece of and glue it over the opening. Use a pin to poke a tiny hole in the foil. On the outside of the box, cover the hole with a piece of black tape. Take your box into a dark room, attach a piece of photographic paper to the inside opposite your small hole. Place the lid back on the box so that no light will reach the paper. Place the box in front of the item you wish to photograph and remove the tape. Replace the tape when the picture is taken.

Get a step-by-step guide to making your own pinhole camera here.

Homemade Light Box

If you are an amateur photographer, chances are that you have been shocked by the prices of certain items like light boxes. When taking pictures of smaller objects, you want your background to be uniform.

You can make a light box for a fraction of the cost by upcycling a cardboard box. Just get a large box, cut big holes in two opposite sides to allow enough light in. Cover both holes with thin sheets of paper to create a uniform light source. Finally, take a poster board and put it as the bottom and back side of the box. This way, the background will always be the same white, and you can start shooting professional-looking photos.

Box Forts

Collect moving boxes from neighbors and friends until you have enough to build a fort for your kids. This simple activity is great for the colder winter months and will give them hours of fun. They can design their own fort, construct it using duct tape and then decorate it with paint. Once the fort is complete, they can play in it too. Get some design ideas here.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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