DIY Cardboard Furniture

Aug 14, 2010 by

When we first moved here, we brought everything down in a car. I mean *everything*. It didn’t leave much room for furniture though so our new apartment was very empty. Well it was full of stuff but we had no where to put it and no where to sit and no money to buy anything to fix it.

So I looked around at what I did have and tried to come up with a solution. I had boxes, the packing junk that comes in boxes and craft supplies.

Box furniture tutorials

BAM! Finished and ready for craft supplies:

Box furniture tutorials

You’re probably thinking it wouldn’t hold anything but the extra supports in the middle+hot glue+tape really make it a lot more structurally sound. Currently it is full to the brim with yarn, craft junk, fabric, my sewing machine and overlocker, nail art stuff and deco bits.

Next my make shift couch/ottoman.

I took all of the boxes we had and cut them flat. I then stuffed a bigger box with them. I packed it full then I stood on it and packed it even fuller. James stomped on it and we packed it again.

Box furniture tutorials

I taped an old ugly pillow I was going to chuck out to the top.

Box furniture tutorials

Got some kick-arse (that’s kick-ass for my American friends) purple zebra print fabric…

Box furniture tutorials

And covered the whole thing. I’m planning to cover the seams using silver thumb tacs when I can find some that aren’t ridiculously priced. It seems silly but we couldn’t afford a couch and this has been perfect so far. 2 months and still going strong ^_^ I also made out tv stand this way but I haven’t had time to cover it yet, I want it to be pinstripe!

Box furniture tutorials

So have you guys done stuff like this before? I think it’s very common to see students with furniture built out of milk crates and stuff, it’s like a right of passage XD

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  • http://blooomzy.blogspot.com bloomzy

    You truly are the master of D.I.Y crafts.
    I’m clapping you from the other side of the world XD

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Woo thanks Bloomzy! :D

  • http://ihua.blogspot.com msihua

    OHEMGEE!!! That is amazing!!!! I would never have thought of using any boxes/leftover bits to make furniture… you are kick-arse!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      XD Thank you! Seriously not that great!

  • http://thefashionatetraveller.blogspot.com trashtastika

    I remember that purple pouff!!! What a great idea with the shelving too – they look great!! I’d NEVER have thought of using cardboard :)

  • http://aurorahime.blogspot.com Natasha

    I’m loving the ottoman! I’ll gladly sponsor you some thumb tacs :D

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Wooo sponsored thumb tacs! Bring it on XD

  • http://fuyumeuk.blogspot.com/ fuyume

    oh wow thats ingenious :)


    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha thank you!

  • http://biggreendinosaur.blogspot.com BGDino

    That is an ULTIMATE DIY… of quite MacGuyver-esque proportions… AND it’s pretty!

    There was a guy in the year above me in college who constructed his bed from milk crates and a mattress.

    My couch was a generous donation from my parents… we’d had it in our family house ever since we came to Australia twenty years ago. And it’s still DARN comfortable :D

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Yeah MacGuyver baby! Omg milk crate bed sounds so uncomfortable. I think old couches are always the most comfy! We just had antique couches donated to us, very awesome and comfy!

  • http://cateaclysmic.blogspot.com Cate

    hehe that’s awesome I love your little chair looks fantastic, I remember I used to do the same thing when I was younger now i seem to have a plethora of storage boxes, shelves, tables etc. and nowhere to put them, I must be making up for lost time XD

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Thank you! I wish I was drowning is storage too XD

  • TsuYeul

    o 3o
    Future housing plans of big brother:
    Milk crate coffee table + sheet of glass
    Orange ‘witches hat’ cone hat stand/ rack
    Duct tape coasters + bed linen…

    I’m scared. Your’s is much niftier/ prettier : DDDD

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      :O Duct tape bed linen? That is very… creative? Heehee thank you!

  • http://cherrycolors.com Tamara

    Woah! That’s damn amazing! I never thought about making stuff from cardcoard, but damn you’re SO creative! :o

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      It’s all about using what you’ve already got :D

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  • http://bonjour-glow.blogspot.com Glo-w

    They say necessity is the mother of inventions^^ I think in you case it always turns out brilliantly! recycle and work with what u have!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Very very true! Working with what you’ve already got is the best :D

  • http://www.mariesu.net Marie

    You really are a master of these things! :D

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha thanks Marie!

  • http://www.papillondenuit.net/ Kari

    Haha wow!! I bow down to your awesomeness <3 I've done the crates and cinderblocks route, but never cardboard boxes (for anything larger than a jewelry cabinet, anyways) XD I'm currently in need of some furniture myself… maybe I'll try a cardboard couch!!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha no bowing! A cardboard couch would be seriously awesome!

  • Srednivashtar

    Wow, this post is so timely for me. I’m moving interstate in about a week and will be taking VERY little furniture with me. I’m excited to try your makeshift couch idea!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Oh great timing! Good luck with your move :D

  • http://sixty4point6.com Sylvia

    Omg. Violet you are amazing! I like it very much. Especially the cardboard cabinet for craft supplies. Not only environment friendly, but definitely big save =)

    cheers x

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Much much cheaper right? And you can then make it the perfect size for your apartment ^_^

  • http://melludee.com Melody

    You are so so so amazing!!
    I’ve never done anything like this because I’ve never had to (still living with parents) ! But woahh! If I ever need something done, I know where to turn to for advice now !!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Enjoy the time with your parents, living out of home is very over-rated >_< bills suck too! Haha when you do move out I'll be sure to give you cardboard as a housewarming present ;)

  • http://melissyjn.blogspot.com Melissy

    I’ve got to say, the microwave oven zebra print seat is GENIUS!! So cute as well!! XD

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Heehee thank you! I really love the fabric!

  • Jes

    You never fail to amaze me. You truly are a unique gem.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha thanks Jes!

  • http://daydreamreece.blogspot.com/ reece

    Do you have something equivalent to a staples near you? With it being back to school season (here) they might have some for cheap.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Do you mean like staples that you hold paper together with? It’s not back to school season here unfortunately, our school year starts in January >_< The thumtacs are just to make it prettier so it's not really needed XD

  • http://apisgirl.com Clarissa

    This is what my friend did before he met his wife, only with less stability, glue and fabric. The guy is getting his PhD in physics and all of his furniture save for his bed was made from cardboard boxes for about 3 years, and his only cooking utensil was a broken wooden spoon.

    I think he should take some pointers from you, this is pretty much full on epic win in the DIY/sqautter/uber poor arena.

    How do you suggest I make a chair?

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      I couldn’t imagine having no cooking utensils for 3 years, it must be a guy thing >_< Hmm a chair? I think it could totally be done! I'm thinking of having a tea party at our place soon so I might have to diy some chairs… *evil planning begins*

  • rumtum

    OH MY GAWD… Violet. Is there one thing you can’t DIY?! XD
    Your cardbox cushion is amazing! Who would have think of that?!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      XD I don’t know but if I find it I’ll let you know! Heehee no kowtowing necessary!

  • http://herlumpiness.blogspot.com Miss Lumpy

    This is amazing. No, seriously, when I saw this first picture I thought “Oh, this is going to be /good/,” and I am not disappointed! Awesome job, totally inspirational!!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      :D :D :D Aww I’m glad not to disappoint, thanks so much! I always really appreciate your comments <3

  • http://www.butakimu.blogspot.com Betty

    Omgeeee! You are amazing! I think I might run out and try to make that ottoman.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Oh let me know if you do!

  • http://www.project-kathryn.com kathryn

    Your polka dot apron is the cutest thing ever. I love the diy projects. My friend used some shelves for years he made out of banana crates lined with fabric and used the wardrobe packing box I stole from the removalists as a wardrobe because I couldn’t afford one. I never did anything to make it pretty though, just hide it behind the bedroom door.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      :D That’s a dress I made a couple of years ago! The wardrobe packing box is a great idea :D I need more wardrobe space actually, maybe I should make a second one. You are full of good ideas!

  • http://www.bunny-florentine.com Bunny

    Oh my god. I am totally and utterly in awe..

    Here I am, whining about how all my furniture is stuck in my Mum’s garage and I have nowhere to put my things. Yet I have a bedroom filled with cardboard boxes that could so easily become shelves. Inspired now! – to work I go! Thank you. :)

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      I can’t wait to see what you do! I hated not having furniture too >_<

  • Jaede

    Violet, you always out do your self again and again. Who would have though to use boxes. Amazing. I’ll miss your posts over the next few weeks but I look forward to catching up when I return. xxx

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Aww thanks Jaede, I bet you’ll have an awesome time though. Don’t worry I’ll still be here when you get back ;)

  • http://jin-lim.blogspot.com/ Jin

    You are just amazing Violet! I am building my first house at the moment and have been looking around for furniture. Some of them are really expensive! My brain’s started clicking after seeing your post hehe myabe I can DIY some stuff now my nail art storage!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Furniture can be really expensive >_< we just couldn’t afford anything after the move. I bed it would be really easy to make a big nail cupboard or some shelves. Good luck!

  • http://ataleofnewcities.blogspot.com Izzy

    I’d never thought of making a full set of shelves from cardboard before! I tend to just fall into the bad habit of leaving everything in the boxes I packed it all into, or just leaving it in piles on the floor because I have no space to put it >.<
    I'll definitely be having a go at making myself some cardboard shelves when I move into my new student house in a month – my room is going to be pretty small so I have no space for permanent furniture other than a bed and a desk, and if my shelves are made from cardboard I can just recycle them when I leave rather than having to cram them into the back of the car!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha a lot of our stuff is still in the boxes it came down in too >_< You’re right this is an awesome idea for student living!

  • http://www.cutexcoco.blogspot.com Tasja

    Haha awesome!
    I moved a half year ago and actually I made the same box-pillow thing XD
    And I use a box as tv table and inside that box I have lots of books etc. That I don’t need at the moment but still can’t trow away.

    It’s easy and very cheap ^^ and you can use your own fabric.
    I got the idea because I saw kinda the same thing in the Ikea but that was like 80 euro’s ~.~

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Great minds think alike ;) That’s a great way to store your books too! Mine are all still in their box atm too I should totally use that for something!

  • Kate

    I’m definitely going to have to do this once I move into an apartment, it’s so cheap and handy (and pretty much a necessity for students)! You sure are a master at this cheap DIY stuff xD

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha thanks Kate! This kind of thing would be great for students!

  • http://thecotton-club.blogspot.com/ Kara

    wow, that’s really cool =] And they don’t actually look half-bad! Glad you have somewhere for your things

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      They’re not exactly high end but still do the job :D Thanks!

  • Holly

    This is awesome!! I thought about making shelves out of boxes since I have so many, but I didn’t want ghetto looking stuff. I never thought of covering them with fabric.

    I’ve also been looking for cute/cheap DIY things to prettify my closet. I could use this to make cheapo shelves for shoes, or accessories or something.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Yes the fabric is really the key to being slightly less “ghetto” XD Shoe shelves are a great idea, my shoes need a better home!

  • http://boredandcrafty.com Meream

    You are, officially, my DIY heroine/goddess. FOR SURE.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Aww thanks Meream :D

  • http://www.andibgoode.com Andi B. Goode

    Blimey! That’s amazing. I’m so impressed. I would never think to do something like that.
    -Andi x

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha thanks Andi! I think desperation brings out my creativity ;)

  • Brigitte Pernia

    Dear Violet,

    With this post, you have earned my full respect and admiration. Not that I didn’t admire you before, but now I truly consider you the one and only MASTER OF CRAFTS. You are amazing, and I hope you know that.

    Brigitte :)

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Awww! You are just so lovely to say that Brigitte! I hope it gives you some ideas for your dorm :D

  • http://www.weedyseadragon.net Laura


    we have a two living areas and while we have chairs for the first the other is empty. This leaves people with nothing to sit on when we have parties, this will be perfect!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Yay glad to help, good luck :D

  • http://www.mydiychat.com/ Aurelia

    It’s amazing! These looks so chic after your renovation :P
    Nobody can guess what are they come from ha ha
    Budget but doesn’t look cheap, thanks Violet for the idea.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Thanks so much for commenting Aurelia! I’m really glad you enjoyed!