How to Make a Cardboard Display Box

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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.

Things You'll 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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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.