How to make a small cardboard box

Updated February 21, 2017

It is always nice to receive a gift in a nicely wrapped cardboard box. But, if you are giving an oddly shaped gift, it may be difficult to find a box that fits just right. But, you can make a simple cardboard box in your own home by tracing an easily adaptable pattern on a piece of cardboard. You can buy cardboard sheets from some art supply shops and hardware shops.

Determine the length, height and width of your box.

Multiply the length by two and the width by two and add those numbers together. This will be the length of your rectangular pattern. To determine the width of the rectangular pattern, add the height of the box and the width of the box. Draw a rectangle of those proportions on the cardboard, leaving a 5 cm (2 inch) gap between the left edge of the rectangle and the edge of the cardboard.

Measure one length of your box from the upper left corner of the rectangle and make a mark. Measure and mark one width from the first mark. Measure and mark one length from the second mark. Draw a vertical line down from each mark.

Measure 1/2 of the width from the top left corner of the box and 1/2 the width from the bottom left corner of the box. Draw two dotted horizontal lines across the box from those marks.

Draw a 5 cm (2 inch) long horizontal line from the left of the top dotted line so that the line is leaving the rectangle. Make a similar line from the left of the bottom dotted line. Connect the end of the line with a vertical line. This is the glue flap that will help you glue the entire box together. If your box is very small you will need to adjust the width of the 5 cm (2 inch) flap. Cut out the glue flap so that it is still attached to the rest of the rectangle.

Cut from the top of first vertical line up to where the first dotted line crosses it. Cut the bottom of the first vertical line up to where the bottom dotted line crosses it. Repeat this process for the second and third vertical lines.

Score along all of the dotted lines and along the attached edge of the glue flap. Fold the rectangular pattern into a box.

Hot glue the glue flap to the right middle edge of the rectangle. This will form the sides of the box.

Fold the flaps along the width of the box so that they are perpendicular to the sides. Do the same with the flaps along the length of the box. Tape the bottom of the box shut.


If you have an old box at home that is large enough you may be able to break it down and make a new box out of the intact bottom of the box. Make your own cardboard box if you have oddly sized shelves and want a cardboard box to fit perfectly. If you are displaying the box, consider covering it with waterproof wrapping paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Packing tape
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About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.