Pamela Hovland, who is our BEST scout, found this cardboard box shelving system on Etsy. It’s a variation of the clipped-together shelving idea we wrote about earlier. It is to our mind a brilliant use of an ordinary cardboard box (which we’re thinking, could even be painted with rubber paint…) It seems to be the same deal as the other clipped-together systems we’ve found: to get the clips, you’ve got to buy the box. So we’re continuing our call for HELP finding something that will do as a clips to make sturdy shelves out of boxes. 


…Since we started poking around, we’ve been finding more plays on this idea, which we’ll post next week. Stay tuned…

Related post: Clipped-Together Shelving Pt. 1: Wood (Help Needed)

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22 replies on “clipped-together shelving pt. 2: cardboard boxes

  1. How about Paper clips?

    Staples® Medium Metal Binder Clips, 1 1/4″ size with 5/8″Capacity.
    At $2.99/24, as of today. And free shipping if your order is $50 or more.

    (yes, I spend WAY too much time coveting office supplies. Why do you ask? *grins*)

  2. I’ve been holding a splittering plank on an Ikea bed with paper clips for months. It’s very sturdy if you pick the biggest ones and refold the handles. Colorful ones might be pretty.

  3. (prepare for cold water…) this screams ‘DORM ROOM’ at me. i don’t think this would last long. a) cardboard is flimsy stuff. it is designed to project whatever you put inside just long enough to get it to it’s intended destination. b) moisture and light will add ‘patina’ but it will also weaken your shelving eventually. c) over time, weight will warp and skew the nice geometric design of this scheme – even if you don’t use these shelves to store books.

    an alternative: wood of the same thickness of cardboard is incredibly strong. i’m thinking of peach boxes and such. (remember the Peaches record stores?) can you send your scout out to locate wooden shipping crates? if you can find them somewhere, they would be more durable.

  4. Large binder’s clips would probably do the job. They’re made for paper, the handles fold forward out of the way, and they have a classy and compatible utilitarian look… in black, no less.

    Agree with pippin’s idea for boxes; binder’s clips would probably work on them too.

  5. I hear you pippin. And we’re on it. We’ll report next week….

  6. I agree that the binder clip is a magical tool. The metal wire looking handles not only fold forward as Joan mentioned but can actually be taken off once you position them in the desired place by squeezing the handles and taking them off their hinges. I think this would create a better look from the side at the vertical connections of these shelves.

  7. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  8. Am skeptical about using cardboard boxes but very intriqued by this idea. Was staring at a stack of old drawers from a locker cabinet and it hit me, clip these together. Instead of binder clips–which I didn’t have at 9 pm–I used small clamps. They look really cool and artistic in my son’s room. He uses the clamps to hang Mari-gras beads and ribbons from. So not dorm room. . .

  9. I love this idea. You could always use some sort of adhesive between the boxes if you aren’t worried about being able to take them apart later (I’m not sure if you’d want to use something like hot glue, tacky glue or wood glue).

    You could use (hear me out before you think it’s too ghetto, lol) duct tape. They sell colorful and patterned varieties that could match practically any design, especially if you plan to paint your boxes.

    If you’re worried about moisture, you could always use a sealer/varnish to protect the boxes =)

    I just recently made a small shelving unit (2 boxes stacked on top of each other, long-ways) to hold my son’s baby clothes. For my project (something I’ll be posting to my own blog about soon) I used packing tape to hold the two boxes together and covered them with a baby animal themed wrapping paper. I suppose you could cover your shelves with whatever you want (paint, a collage from magazine pages, wrapping paper, cloth, etc) and it really wouldn’t look like a piece of dorm furniture. Especially if you sealed the top layer.

    Just my 2cents <3

  10. Wow, what a trove of ideas. Thank you!

  11. se `podria usar cajas de fibra de vidrio en laminas finas muy resistentes con tapa desmontable por si queremos proteger la mercancia de las estanterias en caso de transporte.

  12. I wonder if you paper or fabric mache’ the cardboard if it will make it more stable and or doing like a decopage on the boxes? Or do you think the mache’ would warp the boxes?

  13. Covering the boxes with decorative contact paper adds many years to their lives!!! I still have and use diaper and wipe boxes for toy storage and my girls are now 7, 9 and 11… Covering them with contact paper makes them look nice and makes the boxes resistant to “stuff” that may get spilled on them.

    Since you mentioned your scout, it made me think of the case sized boxes that Girl Scout cookies come in… I think one of these will be made to house my daughters’ stuffed animal collection soon!

    Thank you so much for the idea!!!

  14. I am trying this for my “porta” shop. I attend a lot of shows, and this will be lightweight, easy to transport, and set up. I’m trying it for the first time this weekend. My boxes are spray painted white, and I think it will look nice.

  15. If anyone is still looking at this.. I know this is an old post and wants the clamps the original picture shows they are from the hardware store retainer clips.

  16. Fabric, contact paper, scrapbook paper, and modpodge to put them on makes them heavy duty and you can add as many layers of mod.podge as you want to protect them. Also you can spray with a clear sealer at the end if you want to as well. I just did 9 21/2 inch thick boxes that are 12 1/2 by 13 inches for scrapbook storage and I kid you not I mod podged it with scrapbook paper and made it pretty and sealed it so well that it weighs 15 pounds. That is before I put anything in it. I put my pattern weights which were made out of pure metal and weigh 30 pounds. I put them together to test each shelf and none of the shelves even bent or moved at all when j put all the weights on one atca time.

  17. If you paint the boxes with wood hardener they will be very sturdy and hard like wood, You can buy it at any building supply store in gallon size. I use it for hardening paper beads and it makes them water repellent.

  18. 1) Buy 12″ square cardboard boxes from Unline.
    2) Buy 12″ square peel ‘n stick floor tiles from Home Depot or Lowe’s.
    3) Use tiles between stacked boxes to create solid foundation.
    4) Secure in front with large binder clips from Dollar Store.
    5) Using wood trim in back, staple from inside of box. Attach one wide piece of trim at top from left to right, repeat at bottom. Then secure each row top to bottom with wood trim stapled center of each box.

  19. use pizza boxes turned inside out, using a glue gun to assemble them. Domino’s Pizza gave me 10 boxes.

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