Build | Crafts | Shelves & Storage

Need More Storage? Make These Impressive Bins from 3 Easy Things!

How to Make Storage Bins from Cardboard Boxes Post Preview: Learn how to reuse cardboard boxes for storage. With just a few easy materials, you can make these DIY cube storage boxes that are perfect bins for clothes, toys, or other items. 

Before our son was born, we found a great changing table with open shelving at a budget-friendly price.

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 pre-made fabric storage bins.

Since I was 7 months pregnant with my first and 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 organizer bins in colors of my choice, rather than being tied to store-bought colored storage bins.

Reusing cardboard boxes for storage for the nursery changing table
DIY cardboard storage drawers for nursery changing table

How to Make Storage Bins from Cardboard Boxes

I cannot tell you just how much I love these homemade storage bins. The customized storage cubes 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

To make these DIY 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 neutral 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 DIY Storage Bins from a Cardboard Box

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 πŸ™‚ 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.

DIY Storage Bins Made from Cardboard Boxes

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 a 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).

Using knobs, hardware, and cardboard boxes to make your own DIY storage cubes and drawers

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.

DIY no-sew cub storage bins made from cardboard, contact paper, and knobs

Here’s a picture of what the inside of the DIY storage box looked like, after adding the knob.

Attaching a knob to a cardboard box to make diy storage boxes with knobs!

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 themΒ and it was so much easier to grab a knob from the top shelf of a closet, than a whole bin.

For less than $5 per box, I had functional customized storage bins that I LOVED.

Gray and blue DIY storage boxes made from cardboard

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. Four 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!

Four years of pulling the diaper bins out multiple times per day!


  1. I love this! It`s so beautiful and creative. I would definitly need this πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Cristina! I love how you can customize them with different contact papers – much more creative than the store-bought bins πŸ™‚

  2. These are awesome! Love the pattern and colors you chose. You’d never know they’re cardboard boxes by looking at the pics!

    1. Thanks so much, Cassie!! πŸ™‚ I love the contact paper too πŸ™‚ Looking to make some more for my office πŸ™‚

  3. The contact paper is attractive and has a nice, finished look. Then, the addition of the knobs really finished off the boxes. I never would have guessed that these were just cardboard boxes. Nice job!

    1. Thanks so much Carol – what sweet compliments πŸ™‚ They have worked out so nicely – and they are going on three years of constant use (constant pulling to get diapers) πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Danielle!! Yes – totally customizable πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Roseann – the knobs made it look so professional and easy to use πŸ™‚

  4. I was just thinking in the last month that I need to make some of these for an area I am organizing. I have made them before and they work great… I didn’t put knobs on though and I really like idea. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, the knobs make it so easy! πŸ™‚ I’m thinking of making more too – I like them so much better than the fabric ones you buy πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve made boxes very similar but I didn’t think of the knobs – Great idea!

    1. Thanks Carol πŸ™‚ The knobs make it so easy!

  6. This is awesome. It seems like a fairly simple project that can make a big difference in a room!


    1. Thanks Patty πŸ™‚ Yes so simple!

  7. This is such a neat idea!

    1. Aww thank you! Hoping to recreate it in our new house πŸ™‚

  8. Wow! I love that this is so simple and easy. And cheap! Our dollar store always has wonderful selections of contact paper. Thanks for sharing on Amaze Me Monday.

    1. Ohh I’m jealous of your dollar store collection! Yes, so cheap! The bins are so expensive elsewhere.

  9. Beyond adorable. Even though I am severely DIY-challenged (life hashtag: #idkhowtodiy), I might actually be able to do this. Have pinned as a sign of hope and good intentions. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing…stopping by from #TuesdayTalk!

    1. Hahah love the hashtag! Yes, you definitely can. This was one of my first DIYs – it’s very simple! πŸ˜‰

  10. Love your covered box idea. They are awesome. The knobs are a great touch. Your nursery looks so beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing at Over The Moon Party.

    1. Aww thanks Beverly! We LOVED that nursery – that’s one of the only reasons we were sad to move from that house.

    1. Thanks Ginger! I’m trying to find the time to make more πŸ™‚

    1. Hahah! Mind reader?? You’ll love them πŸ™‚

    1. Yes they are!! This is the perfect alternative πŸ™‚ It does take a little time but totally worth it in my opinion!

  11. That’s so much better and easier than using material and they look fabulous. Plus you get so many awesome new contact paper designs now that will fit into any decor scheme. Great idea

    1. Yes, I tried to hot glue fabric and it was a hot mess! Yes – all of the contact paper designs are awesome πŸ™‚

  12. Such a great economical solution & love the DIY. Pinned & sharing Thanks for joining the Inspiration Spotlight party.

    1. Thanks Theresa!! πŸ™‚ We love the way they turned out and they have held up so well πŸ™‚

  13. Great idea! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth!

    1. Thanks so much Jes!! We love your link party each week! πŸ™‚

  14. What a fabulous idea! And they are so pretty too.

  15. Love those boxes. I made a twine wrapped box, and while it’s awesome, it was definitely a hot glue mess, and took a long time to make. This is fantastic, and fast alternative. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Thanks Leslie! I’ve seen the twine ones – they turn out awesome πŸ™‚

  16. What a great idea! I love how aesthetically pleasing these bins are and on top of that so simple and practical! Amazing what you can do with just a cardboard box and contact paper.

    1. Thanks Brooke πŸ™‚ Yes – I’m still amazed that they are made from cardboard and contact paper πŸ™‚

  17. You did a fantastic job on these! I am going to try some for my granddaughter’s nursery. She has one at my house because I’m the lucky grandma who gets to keep her every day while her parents work. πŸ™‚ I am not good at covering boxes with anything but I’ll give it a go! Visiting from the Sits!

    1. Thanks so much, Pam! Awww your granddaughter is so lucky to have a nursery at your house too πŸ™‚ My mom watched my son while I was teaching – and they have such a nice bond πŸ™‚ I think you could handle this project – it was one of my first DIYs. Happy Mother’s Day!

  18. JaneEllen says:

    Cardboard is most likely all that’s under cloth coverings on premade fold down bins. So smart, I like something I’ve designed for color pattern much more than generic bins. Your son’s nursery looks so nice, love stripes on one wall and bins you made are wonderful. Great job.
    Happy Mother’s Day

    1. Thanks so much JaneEllen! Definitely agree with you on the color pattern. I’m working on a pattern myself for my office bins – couldn’t quite find a contact paper to fit the bill. Aww thank you – we loved those stripes! We might try to replicate them in our new home πŸ™‚

    1. Yes would love to! Thanks so much πŸ™‚

  19. What a great idea and your tutorial is perfect. At seventy, I don’t need anything like that for a nursery (ha!) but I can see them in the computer/craft room to store all sorts of goodies. Some of the premade fabric units are too tall and your method could provide just the right size for bookcases and cabinets. Well done!

    1. Haha! Yes, you cant put them anywhere πŸ™‚ I made some for Ash’s closet, for our winter gear in our downstairs closet, and for bins at the bottom of the pantry πŸ™‚

  20. Such a great DIY, Eileen–your boxes look terrific under the changing table. Thanks so much for sharing the how-to with us all at Vintage Charm πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much Diana! Much better than store bought πŸ™‚

  21. Contact paper is the best! Found this link on the Pierced Pastimes linky party and I’m glad I did!

    1. Yes! You can do so much with it πŸ™‚

  22. These turned out great. So crisp and clean and my favorite combination of thrifty and beautiful. Featuring when my party opens up tonight!

    1. Thanks so much, Carol! So excited for the feature πŸ™‚ I’m trying to find the time to make more πŸ™‚

  23. Mother of 3 says:

    Those are beautiful! Who would have thought they were made out of cardboard boxes?! Pinned.

    1. Thanks so much!! Yes the right contact paper can totally change the look:)

  24. I wish the idea of these bins had been around when my kids were little. They are genius!

  25. These are cute. I would think the knobs would tend to pull through the cardboard, but I guess it depends on what you store in them — and how sturdy your cardboard box is.

    1. Thanks Adam! I have had them about three years now and the knobs are just fine. Even the one that holds the diapers – which we are constantly pulling. We did use a good quality box though:)

  26. What a great idea!!! I was just looking at totes the other day and they did not fit my space. This is the best solution. Thank you for posting. #BloggerClubUK

    1. Thanks Tracy! So glad we could help:)

    1. Thanks Kimberley! They were very easy:)

  27. These are so great,I will definitely be having a try at making these !! I am desperate for storage in the post Christmas weeks!! #DreamTeam

    1. Thanks! They work so well and are pretty!

  28. Laura @ Dot Makes 4 says:

    What a great idea! I would never think of making them myself, but you make it seem so easy. I’m definitely going to try this!

    1. Thanks Laura! It is easy:) and they turn out so pretty!

  29. Amazing, Such a fab, fun, frugal idea. That would save a lot of money and keep things tidy. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Nichole! Yes definitely:)

  30. These are lovely – such a simple idea! I especially love the little knobs, it really makes them different to the standard ones, and gives a really pretty touch. Thanks for joining us at #SharinghtheBlogLove

    1. Thanks so much Katy! I love the knobs too:)

  31. Fair play, they actually look pretty good. No point paying for something you can make yourself!

  32. That’s a very clever idea, I love upcycling projects. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party this week, and happy 2018!

    1. Thanks so much Teresa! Yes I love upcycled projects too:)

    2. Thanks so much Teresa! I love upcycled projects too:)

    1. Aww thanks Sarah! I love when my DIYs look store bought:)

  33. Jann Olson says:

    What a great money saving storage idea! Thanks for sharing it with SYC.

    1. Thanks Jann! I loved them so much – I made them for so many places πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Laura! They were super easy – I can’t do complicated;)

  34. What a clever idea. Thanks for joining us at the To Grandma’s House We Go link party!

    1. Thanks Sheri! We are loving them:)

  35. I really love this idea not just because its a frugal way to have storage boxes. It is also a great way to make those different kinds of storage boxes you already have match each other. Pinning.

    1. Yes totally agree, Leanna! Have a lovely week:)

  36. These turned out perfect! I love the colors and patterns you chose. Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial with us at Party in Your PJ’s. I’ve pinned and I’m also featuring you on this weeks Party in Your PJ’s!

    1. Thanks so much Teresa! They’ve held up so great. Thanks for the feature too!

  37. Popping in from DIY, Crafts & More Linkup. Love all the uses you can get out of cardboard boxes. This is a great tutorial!

    1. Thanks so much, Trisha. I loved them so much that I made all kinds of them for closets and shelves and other areas.

  38. They are beautiful!!!
    I just wonder what is the packing tape for?

    1. Thank you! I used the packing tape as a reinforcement with the contact paper at the bottom of the box, or as needed.

  39. Great idea! Great post! I have been looking for some simple bin ideas for storage. I already have boxes and some contact paper I really like. All I need is a few knobs and I am good to go! Thank you for sharing your project. I am looking forward to visiting the rest of your site. Robin

    1. Thanks so much Robin! Yes you’ll love these. They are all over my house haha:)

  40. Kathie Stewart says:

    OMG! I am seriously so grateful that you shared this DIY. I have been looking for this exact storage solution since I started crafting and this is just perfect.!! I could just hug you!!! And wonderful solution for us all thanks forever !! Kathie from So Cal !

    1. Awww thank you SO much for your sweet comment, Kathie!! I’m so happy it could help you! I love these too – I have them all over my house with different types of contact paper πŸ™‚

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