How to Make a Cardboard Display Box

Written by louise harding
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How to Make a Cardboard Display Box
Create a display box from a cardboard or paper mache box with a lid. (carton image by Unclesam from

You can display a lovely doll, delicate model or any other collectable in a cardboard box to keep the cherished item free of dust and protect it from breakage. Inexpensive boxes are available at craft and hobby stores and take about an hour to transform into a display box. Because the display box is custom-made, you can choose whatever colour you like for the box and background felt.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cardboard or paper mache box with lid, 11-inch by 9-inch by 3-inch
  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paint or spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • Paintbrush, if necessary
  • Clear gloss spray paint
  • Outdoor area or garage
  • Scissors
  • Heavy weight clear plastic sheet, 8½-inch by 11-inch
  • Rubber cement
  • Felt, 11-inch by 9-inch

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  1. 1

    Remove the lid from the box. Use a ruler to measure in 1 inch from each outer edge of the lid, and draw a rectangle with a pencil.

  2. 2

    Use a utility knife to carefully cut the rectangle from the box lid. This is the display frame section of the box. Discard cut-out rectangle.

  3. 3

    Paint the inside and outside of both the box and the lid with acrylic paint and a paintbrush, or take the box to a well-ventilated area, place it on newspaper and spray paint. Allow paint to dry.

    How to Make a Cardboard Display Box
    Paint the outside and inside of the box and lid with acrylic paint. (paint play image by Pix by Marti from
  4. 4

    Place newspaper on the floor of a garage or patio, and place the box and lid onto the paper. With clear gloss spray paint, paint the inside of the box and lid first, allow to dry and turn the box and lid over and paint the outside. Allow paint to dry.

  5. 5

    Cut the clear plastic sheet to fit snugly inside of the lid. You can recycle clear plastic from toy packaging, food packaging, overhead projector plastic or photo album plastic covers.

    How to Make a Cardboard Display Box
    Cut a sheet of clear plastic to fit snugly inside of the box lid. (scissors image by timur1970 from
  6. 6

    Apply rubber cement to the inside 1-inch rim of the lid. Press the clear plastic over the rectangle hole inside of the lid. Allow to dry.

  7. 7

    Cut a piece of felt to fit the inside of the box bottom. Apply rubber cement to the inside bottom of the box, and press the felt onto the rubber cement. Press firmly and rub the felt to ensure a secure, flat. Allow to dry.

  8. 8

    Place objects into the box or glue smaller objects to the felt in the area visible through the plastic window of the lid. Rubber cement, fabric glue and glue guns work well to secure small objects such as seashells, stamps, trinkets and coins.

    How to Make a Cardboard Display Box
    Display small collections, such as seashells, in the cardboard display box. (seashells image by Emerkaza from
  9. 9

    Apply rubber cement to the inside edge of the box lid and place the lid onto the box.

Tips and warnings

  • For an alternative look, the cardboard display box can be covered with decorative paper.
  • A hanging device such as a sawtooth hanger or two metal soda can rings can be glued to the back of the cardboard display box to hang the box on a wall to display.
  • Don't hang a heavy box with breakable items.
  • The box can be stood vertically or horizontally and placed on a shelf or table for display purposes as well.
  • Always use spray paint in a well-ventilated area.

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