Shoe boxes are something we’ve probably all accumulated in our closets before. Everyone knows they’re useful for storing small things, or even just preserving your shoes in between wears, but have you ever thought about how versatile they can really be?
Instead of throwing your next few shoe boxes straight into the recycling bin or letting them clutter up your closet, try making one of these 15 projects that puts them to surprisingly creative use!
1. Picnic box
100 Directions suggests creating an adorably decorated picnic box from a medium or large shoe box. These are an affordable throwback to vintage picnic boxes that might have been used at garden parties, especially if you cover them in gingham. This is also a great project for using up small fabric ends!
2. Jewelry organizer
House Awaits Us reminds you that the lid of the shoe box can be just as useful as the box itself! We love this rustic looking little jewelry organizer made by covering a lid in burlap. You can easily stick wall tacks through the cardboard to hang bracelets and necklaces from.
3. Pen and marker organizer
If you’re upcycling one type of cardboard, you might as well upcycle another one too if you can! Save some toilet paper rolls and fit them vertically inside a shoe box that you’ve decorated with markers or patterned paper. Use the toilet rolls to organize your pens, brushes, and other drawing or writing utensils, just like Aunt Peaches did!
4. Wall “canvases”
Creme De La Craft shows you how to transform shoe box lids into wall art that looks the same as a real art canvas, but more affordable to make! Cover the lid in scrapbooking paper or wrapping paper in a colour that matches or stylishly contrasts your existing decor.
5. Decorative wall shelves
If wall art isn’t what you need, Creme De La Craft has another shoe box idea for you too! Paint or decorate the inside of the box, stick it to the wall so the bottom of the box rests against it, and fill it with light decorative pieces that won’t weigh the box down too heavily.
6. Phone charging station
Tasha Chawner walks you through the process of creating a nice, compact charging station out of a shoe box. Cut holds in the side, use label frames from the craft store to reinforce them, and place your power bar inside. When you need to charge your phone of tablet, feed the cord through the hole. This will stop pets from getting at your chargers or plugs coming dislodged! It also keeps cords form tangling.
7. DIY phone projector
Photo Jojo gives you a complete tutorial for making this awesome cell phone projector from a shoe box. This will let you play videos blown up large on the wall for everyone to see, rather than crowding around your little phone screen.
8. Faux storage basket
Southern Flair Crafts teaches you how to create the illusion of a woven basket in order to make these cute decorative storage baskets but in a much easier way than real basket weaving. Wrap jute or hemp string in layers around the outside surface of a shoe box to get the look.
9. Map themed storage
Decoupage is such a useful DIY technique! Shoe box crafts are no exception. In My Own Style suggests using maps to decoupage shoe boxes so they look a little cuter on your shelves as storage than if you just use mismatched boxes as they come from the store.
10. Woven heart box
The cardboard from shoe boxes is useful for all kinds of things even if you don’t keep the box shape. We love this DIY heart-shapes basket that uses yarn to weave strips of cardboard together. This makes an awesome DIY candy basket or gift box for a loved one on Valentine’s Day. Happy Hour Projects shows you how it’s done.
11. Mini filer
If you’re an avid collector or small things, like stickers or stamps, or if you’re looking for a way to store small things like nail decals, then this mini filer by Kinder Craze is just what you need! It is, of course, made out of a shoe box.
12. Ribbon storage and organizer
Sometimes crafting is the best way to organize your crafts! Delicate Construction shows you how to create this adorable ribbon organizer from a show box, some scrapbooking or wall paper, and plastic insets that you’ll be able to pull lengths of ribbon out of. Keeping your ribbon in a box like this keeps it from tangling.
13. Mini chalkboards
Stow and Tell U It’s amazing how useful something made from two simple supplies can be! Grab a show box lid, paint it with black chalkboard paint, and voila! You have a mini chalkboard for directing guests at a big event or labeling prices for your business. The best part is that you can rub off the chalk and reuse them!
14. Homemade foosball
If you’re looking for a simple, affordable craft to make with the kids, why not make something they’ll actually get some play time out of once it’s made? We love this mini foosball table idea by Frugal Fun 4 Boys.
15. Lit up puppet theatre
Do you like the idea of kids’ crafts they can continue to play with but know your kids aren’t really the foosball type? Try making this little puppet theatre instead! Handmade Charlotte shows you how to do that, but also how to add lights just like a real stage!
Do you know someone with a large collection of shoe boxes they’re not using to their full potential? Share this post with them for a little bit of cardboard inspiration!