Before our baby was born, we spent a lot of time putting together the nursery. We painted cute gray stripes, decorated with a cute theme, and ordered the best furniture for our budget.
We found a great changing table with open shelving, so I was planning to buy storage bins to fit all the little things you need under the changing table.
However, I ran into a snag. I realized that I could only fit two store-bought fabric storage bins on each shelf. It awkwardly left a lot of open space, but three storage bins just didn’t fit across.
On top of that, there weren’t many colors to choose from on the store-bought fabric storage bins.
Since I was 7 months pregnant with my first and was pretty bored, I decided to make my own DIY storage bins. I tried using fabric from the curtains, but that was a fabric/hot glue mess.
So, I found a much simpler way – making DIY storage bins using contact paper and cardboard boxes! I can’t emphasize how easy it was! It’s definitely fool-proof.
Here is the end result – these customized storage boxes are made out of just contact paper, cardboard boxes, and packing tape! Not bad, huh?
The contact paper on the DIY storage bins easily allowed me to customize the bins in colors of my choice, rather than being tied to store-bought colored storage bins.
How to Make Storage Bins from Cardboard Boxes
I cannot tell you just how much I love these homemade storage bins. The customized storage boxes are so easy to make and you would never know that the base is made from a cardboard box!
You just need a little time and patience and a few easy supplies to make these DIY storage bins.
You can pick out different colored, patterned, or textured contact paper, which brings character to your space.
When making your own DIY storage bins, for just a few dollars per box, you get lots of storage and a pattern of your choice.
DIY Storage Bin Materials
- Cardboard boxes
- Packing tape
- Contact paper(s) of your choice
To make these cardboard storage boxes, 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 cardboard boxes then. However, if you have little ones already, diaper boxes and wipes boxes work really well for these cardboard storage boxes.
I also ordered three types of contact paper for the storage bins. 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 on Amazon. I figured I would alternate colors on the customized storage boxes.
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 is nice to have a storage bin where you can easily wipe the inside.
Instructions for Making Customized Storage Bins
To make DIY storage bins, first measure the area where you want to put your customized boxes. Make sure they will fit length, width, and height-wise. I had to cut a little bit off the top of my cardboard boxes to make them fit.
Next, cut the flaps off of the cardboard boxes. You could use these as dividers, if you’d like 🙂 Use a good pair of scissors or a box cutter if you are cutting your cardboard box.
Now you are ready to cover your DIY storage bin with contact paper. Cover the outer four sides of the cardboard box with contact paper. Pay attention to patterns, if you want everything lined up nicely. Some patterns are easier to work with than others.
I didn’t cover the bottom of the cardboard box with contact paper, so this is what the bottom of the homemade storage bin looks like.
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 customized storage boxes to last, I would get good quality paper, like this one.
Next, if you plan to cover the inside of your DIY storage box with contact paper, you can do that now. Since I was making this batch of customized storage bins for my son’s nursery, I wanted the inside of the box to be nicely covered, so I could easily clean it.
Later on, I made more cardboard storage boxes for various things, like paper storage, and I didn’t cover the insides – so it’s up to you!
Adding Knobs to the DIY Storage Bins
Now, ready for the best part?
This really makes your DIY storage bins look store-bought and makes them super functional.
After I was finished covering the inside and outside of the customized boxes, I was ready to add the knob to the cardboard storage box. 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 DIY storage box. Then, I added simple, white knobs, so I could easily pull customized bins in and out.
Here’s a picture of what the inside of the DIY storage box looked like, after adding the knob.
I definitely recommend using these knobs for the cardboard storage boxes because they made it so easy to pull out each homemade storage bin.
Later, I made more customized storage 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 customized storage bins that I LOVED.
Time and Cost of Making DIY Storage Bins
The total cost of making customized storage boxes is really just the amount you spend on contact paper and knobs. I made my storage boxes for less than $5 per box.
I was so pleased with cardboard storage boxes that I used the leftover materials for winter storage bins and pantry floor bins. I also used chalkboard contact paper to make paper storage boxes for Ash’s messy office closet. They were fun because you can write on the contact paper with chalk, which makes for easy labeling.
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 customized storage bins is a simple cardboard box.
Updated: How did the storage bins hold up?
The customized storage bins have held up great. Three years later, these nursery storage bins still are in tact. In fact, I just tightened the knobs yesterday for the first time. The contact paper has remained on perfectly too.
And, I should mention, these bins get a lot of use!
Three years of pulling the diaper bins out multiple times per day!