Before our son was born, we spent a lot of time putting together the nursery. We ordered the best furniture for our budget, scouring the reviews for others’ opinions and tips.
We found a great changing table on Wayfair that was a good fit for our nursery and for our budget. It had open shelving, so I was planning to buy storage bins.
However, I ran into a snag – realizing that I could only fit two of the standard sized storage bins on each shelf. Two had too much leftover space, and three just didn’t fit across.
On top of that, I could not decide what colors I would go with that complimented the colors I already chose for the baby’s room – there wasn’t much of a selection.
Being that I was 7 months pregnant and had some time on my hands, I decided to make my own storage bins. I tried using fabric from the curtains, but that was a fabric/hot glue mess.
So, I found a much simpler way teaching myself how to make storage bins from cardboard boxes. I can’t emphasize how easy it was!
Here is the end result – made out of just contact paper, cardboard boxes, and packaging tape! Not bad, huh? And, here’s a picture of the rest of the nursery.
How to Make Storage Bins from Cardboard Boxes
I cannot rave enough about these storage bins. People never believe that they are made from cardboard boxes! You just need a little time and patience and a few easy supplies. You can pick out different colored, patterned, or textured contact paper, which brings character to your space. For just a few dollars per box, you get character and storage!
- Cardboard boxes
- Packing tape
- Contact paper(s) of your choice
I ordered a bundle of boxes from Amazon, since we didn’t have any laying around. (Have I mentioned how much I love Amazon prime?!) We were planning to move soon, so we would use the rest of the boxes then.
I also ordered three types of contact paper. The baby’s room was going to be gray and turquoise (gray walls, one striped with a lighter gray, turquoise carpet, and white furniture – check out our nursery makeover).
So, I found a cute, high-quality turquoise patterned paper and a gray one that complimented that on Amazon. I figured I would alternate colors.
For the inside, I used a less expensive, thinner paper in a neural color from Target. You don’t have to cover the inside, but it does make for a nice surface that can be easily wiped.
Instructions for Making Storage Bins
First, measure your boxes for your intended area. Make sure they will fit length, width, and height-wise. I had to cut a little bit off the top of my boxes to make them fit.
Next, cut the flaps off of the boxes. You could use these as dividers, if you’d like 🙂 Use a good pair of scissors – it makes a huge difference.
Now you are ready for your contact paper. Cover the outer four sides of the box with contact paper. Pay attention to patterns, if you want everything lined up nicely. I didn’t cover the bottom of the box with contact paper.
Also, you might need to tape the bottom or inside edges of the contact paper down, depending on the quality of your paper. If you want your boxes to last, I would get good quality paper, like this one.
Next, you can cover the inside of your box with contact paper. You don’t have to – but it makes for a nice surface that you can easily wipe. Being that they were for my son’s nursery, I wanted the inside to be nicely covered.
The Best Part?
After I was finishing covering the inside and outside of the boxes, I was ready to add the knob. The knobs made the storage bins look professionally made and made the bins easy to quickly grab.
I picked the knobs up from Home Depot – they were inexpensive white knobs. Yet, the screw was too long – so I simply swapped the large screws out for the short ones. (Below is the knob, washer, and short screw).
I drilled one hole in the front of each box. Then, I added simple, white knobs, so I could easily pull them in and out.
Here’s a picture of what the inside of the box looked like, after adding the knob.
I definitely recommend using these knobs for the boxes because they made it so easy to pull out each bin. Later, I made more bins – for closet storage (winter hats, gloves, etc) and for Ash’s office. I used knobs on all of them and it was so much easier to grab a knob from the top shelf of a closet, then a whole bin.
For less than $5 per box, I had functional storage bins that I LOVED.
The storage bins have held up great (Update: Three years later, they still are in tact. I just tightened the knobs yesterday for the first time). The total cost of the project is really just the amount you spend on contact paper and knobs. I made my boxes for less than $5 per box. You can’t beat that price!
I was so pleased with the outcome that I used the leftover materials for winter storage bins and pantry floor bins. I also used chalkboard contact paper to make bins for Ash’s messy office closet.
These DIY storage bins are so pretty that you can put them anywhere in your house, leaving your guests wondering just how you made storage bins from cardboard boxes.
Overall, this was one of my favorite thrifty DIY projects – it’s hard to believe that underneath the storage bins is a simple cardboard box.