20 Ways to Recycle Cardboard

Instead of throwing away your cardboard clutter, why not recycle?

Impressive ways you can recycle cardboard

Got lots of cardboard stacking up in your home? Maybe you just moved to a new place, or you did a lot of online shopping, or you received a lot of gifts over the holidays. Either way, a stack of cardboard boxes is not a pretty sight.

However, having cardboard boxes around is not such a bad thing. With willingness and some creativity, you can recycle them and give them a “second life” by turning them into something more useful.

Cardboard is a durable material that can easily be cut and shaped into many forms. Here is a list of ideas on how you can recycle your cardboard.

But I must warn you. These projects are so awesomely beautiful you would never thought these were just made from cardboard!

Now let’s get on with it!

Recycle cardboard for storage

Cardboard boxes can be used for storage as is, but you can also get creative with it.

1. Belted storage totes

Create more storage space by converting cardboard boxes into belted storage totes, such as this DIY project.

recycle cardboard - belted storage totes
Image from Brit + Co

Cover the boxes with fabric. Use gold screw bolts and spray adhesive to keep them in place. Add an old belt to be the carrying strap for the container. You can make do without the belt if you prefer to just have them as fabric storage boxes.

Think about all the fabrics and prints that you can choose – this can liven up any room!

Get the full tutorial at Brit + Co.

2. Rope basket

Recycle that cardboard box into a rustic DIY basket. Use fabric and rope to recreate a basket-looking solution which you can use to keep a lot of stuff!

recycle cardboard - rope basket
Image from Hometalk

In the image, it’s used in the bathroom, but you can make one for all the rooms in your home!

Get the full tutorial at Hometalk.

3. Jewelry box

With the right decor, you will not be able to tell that this jewelry box was made out of cardboard!

recycle cardboard - jewelry box
Image from Creativities

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Instead of buying an expensive jewelry box, recycle your cardboard and make something simple but classy and beautiful!

Get the full tutorial at Creativities.

Recycle cardboard for organizing

Cardboard boxes are very handy when organizing around the house. Check out these ideas!

1. Drawer dividers

Do you always have to spend a few minutes digging through the contents of your drawer to find what you need? Dumping things in a wide drawer can be really messy as time passes!

But you can keep things neat and tidy in there by making a DIY drawer divider made out of cardboard.

This is one of the easiest projects you can do to recycle cardboard. And you can use it in every drawer in your home!

Here’s a simple organizer for the dresser drawer. It’s very easy to do! Simply cut the cardboard according to your drawer’s size, then fit them in.

recycle cardboard - dividers for dresser drawer
Image from Design Sponge

You may cover the bottom with a wrapping paper. It’s a protection for your clothes, and a simple decor too.

And this one’s in the kitchen – to tame the kitchen tool clutter!

recycle cardboard - drawer organizer in the kitchen
Image via Reddit

You can also style your divider. Like this last sample – it’s an interlocking divider used in the home office – perfect for organizing the small stuff.

recycle cardboard - drawer divider for home office
Image from DIY Network

2. Magazine holders

You can do this DIY project in less than 10 minutes! Use an empty cereal box to make magazine holders. Wrap it with wrapping paper for a beautiful touch!

Now use it like any other magazine holder – to hold documents, folders, and files.

Get the full tutorial at Tennessee Home & Farm.

3. Desk organizer

Tidy up your desk or counter space with this DIY desk organizer! Use this to organize office supplies, cosmetics, and other stuff that always need to be just within reach.

recycle cardboard - desk organizer
Image from Budget 101

It’s a very simple DIY – will literally take just minutes! Get the full tutorial at Budget 101.

4. Shoe rack

Need a space for your shoes? This DIY shoe rack is a great space saver! Place it near the entryway or in the closet.

So before you buy a shoe rack, consider whether you can just make this one. You’ll be able to give your shoes a new home in a budget-friendly way!

Get the full tutorial at A Piece of Rainbow.

Recycle cardboard for d├ęcor

You can do a lot of decorative projects with cardboard!

1. Photo frame

I find making these photo frames a bit challenging. But its’ really artsy and classy, so if you’re into crafts, you’re going to enjoy making these!

recycle cardboard - photo frame decor
Image from Instructables

You can have them in any size, and design them any way you want! So why buy a new photo frame when you can DIY?

Get the full tutorial at Instructables.

2. Cardboard letters

Cut up the cardboard into decorative cardboard letters. After that, you can decorate them and style them in so many ways – the sky’s the limit!

And here’s a really gorgeous one! This was wrapped in yarn. Get the full tutorial at Catch My Party.

recycle cardboard - cardboard letters
Image from Catch My Party

Hang your cardboard letters as wall decor or use them for parties and special events!

Visit this post for more cardboard letters ideas!

3. Hexagon art

Hexagon decor is a trend in home decorations. And it’s really a nice wall art, like this one!

The white and gold colors blend beautifully in the overall layout of the living room. Get the full video tutorial at Heena Space.

Now why stop in wall art when you can make wall shelves? Yes, wall shelves from cardboard!

This is quite challenging, but the outcome is so much worth it! Get the full video tutorial at Dyartorin Crafts.

Recycle cardboard for gadgets

Keep your gadgets safe by using old cardboard boxes. Let’s see how!

1. iPad case

This is a bit challenging, but it is doable and worth it!

As we know, any iPad accessory can be quite costly. Instead of shelling out cash, just make your own iPad case using a cardboard box and some fabric!

You will have to sew the fabric – so that’s why I said it’s challenging. But if that’s your thing, or it’s a skill you want to learn – you will enjoy this!

The end result is a pretty and fully functional iPad case.

ipad case
Image from Make Life Lovely

And when you close it, it’s so secure!

ipad case
Image from Make Life Lovely

Get the full tutorial for this iPad case at Make Life Lovely.

2. Laptop stand

Working on your laptop on a desk makes you hunch over and we know this is not good for the back. But this is easily solved with a laptop stand.

Now instead of buying a laptop stand, just recycle a cardboard and make one out of it. But make sure that you’re using the harder and sturdy kind of cardboard. Get the full tutorial at Shoppo via Medium.

3. Small cord organizer

Got a drawer of jumbled up cords? Or perhaps you have them strewn all over the table or on the floor? Be more organized with this DIY cord organizer!

Get a shoe box and some toilet paper rolls. Then simply fill the box with the empty paper rolls. Arrange them vertically inside and that’s it! You now have a cord organizer!

small cord organizer
Image from Family Handyman

Pretty easy, isn’t it? So straightforward! Now if you have many cords to organize, just choose a bigger box.

Most cords will fit into a toilet paper roll. But if you need something bigger, then make a bigger compartment out of another cardboard box.

To make things look pretty and more presentable, consider wrapping each roll and the box itself with wrapping paper. Or if you’re fond of using paint, paint them!

4. Smartphone stand

Do you need to keep an eye on your phone while you work? Or perhaps you’re playing some music or watching a video.

Before you go to the store, see if you can recycle some cardboard and make a smartphone stand, yourself, like this one!

smartphone stand
Image from Instructables

No need to spend a dime, and it’s very easy to make too! Get the full tutorial at Instructables.

Recycle cardboard for your kids

You love giving toys to your kids, right? Well, instead of buying something expensive, make them toys from cardboard boxes!

I’m sure you will enjoy this. If your kids are big enough, they can even help and I’m sure they will love it too! This is also one of the best ways to teach your kids not to waste stuff, to make the most of what you already have at home.

Now let’s see what toys you can make from recycled cardboard boxes!

1. Cardboard playhouse

Yes, a playhouse! Perfect for your toddler!

If you have those huge cardboard boxes, this is one of the best things you can make for your kids.

They will surely love playing, or rather “living” in it!

playhouse
Image from Pinterest

2. Cardboard dollhouse

I remember having a little pink dollhouse when I was a kid. I really loved it! So I’m sure your little girls will definitely love this project – even if it’s just from recycled cardboard!

You do the measuring and cutting. Then let your girls help with putting the pieces together. And now it’s playtime!

dollhouse
Image from Cakies

Get the full tutorial at Cakies.

3. Parking garage

When your boys are so into cars, this is for them!

Let them have hours of fun navigating their toy cars up and down this cardboard structure!

parking garage
Image from Pinterest

Recycle cardboard for your pets

Are you a pet parent? Make them some cool things from recycled cardboard. Check these out!

1. Cat scratcher

If you are a feline lover, you will like this DIY cat scratcher project.

Cut long strips of cardboard boxes and curl them into a circle. Use glue to hold them together. To make sure that your cat will use it, sprinkle some catnip in the cardboard as you work each layer!

Cardboard is an excellent scratching material, so I’m pretty sure your cats will love scratching this toy! Your furniture may at last feel peace.

Get the full tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger. By the way, you may paint the outer circle for an extra beauty touch!

2. Pet bed

Give your pet a warm place to sleep with recycled cardboard box. Decorate it any way you please!

cat bed
Image from Hometalk

I love that faux fur in there – very warm! I’m sure your cat will love to lie down there especially on cold weathers. Get the tutorial for this cat bed at Hometalk.

And this one’s for your puppy! The box was hand painted – you can see how clean and lovely it looks!

dog bed
Image from Pinterest

If you find these too fancy, you can keep things simple, like this one. Wrap the cardboard in fabric and you’ve got yourself a warm bed for Kittyt! Get the full tutorial at Your Purrfect Kitty.

cat bed
Image from Your Purrfect Kitty

3. Indoor dog house

Give your dog a house inside your home and make him feel super comfortable in there! Design a structure that will fit awkward nooks and crannies in your home. This one is a simple project to keep a dog cozy indoors.

indoor dog house
Image from Packaging Blog

I love that faux fur again! So cozy. I’m sure your dog feels loved and cared for in there!

Get the full tutorial at Packaging Blog.

Let’s recycle your cardboard!

Some of these projects require an entire cardboard box, while others would only need a few sections.

But as you can see, your cardboard stash do not have to be a nuisance after all! So before you throw yours out, see if you can still make something out of it.

You do not only get to save the environment with your resourcefulness, but you also get to save money too. Now who doesn’t like that?!

Looking for more recycling ideas? Try these!

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