How to Fold a Cardboard Box

A folded cardboard box is frequently made from a single large sheet of cardboard. You can fold your own box from any type of cardboard by laying out a design on a large sheet and making the appropriate cuts. You can make this box any size you want. All you have to do is figure out the dimensions you want for whatever purpose the box will serve. You can even fold smaller boxes out of a flattened larger recycled cardboard box.

Determine how big you want your folded box to be. You will need length, width and height measurements.

Calculate the dimensions of a large cardboard sheet that will be folded to your desired measurements. For the length of this large sheet, add twice the box length and twice the box width plus 2 inches for a flap. To get the width of this large sheet, add the box height plus the box width. Take for example a finished box that will be 20 inches long, 10 inches wide and 5 inches high. The length of the cardboard sheet will be (2_20) + (2_10) + 2, or 62 inches. The width of the sheet will be 5 + 10, or 15 inches.

Cut out the large cardboard sheet to the measurements you calculated with a utility knife.

Draw a line parallel to one long side that is half the box width measurement from the nearest long side. In our example the parallel line would be drawn 5 inches from one long side. Draw a second line the same distance from the opposite long side. Crease these two lines with a bone folder.

Draw a shorter line perpendicular to the two long lines 2 inches away from one short side. Draw another shorter line the box width away from the first one. In our example it would be 10 inches away. Draw a third line the box length away from this one, which would be 20 inches away in our example. Draw a fourth shorter line the box width away from the last one, which would be 10 inches away. Crease all these lines with a bone folder.

Begin at one end of one of the shorter lines and cut a slot from the edge to the point where it crosses the first long parallel line. Cut a similar slot on the other end of this line, stopping when it gets to the first parallel line. Repeat cutting these slots on all the shorter lines. In our example, all the slots will be 5 inches long.

Pick up the cardboard sheet from one end and fold it along the first crease in the first shorter line. Continue picking up the cardboard and folding at each crease until a box forms. Tuck the 2-inch flap inside the opposite edge and glue or staple it. The top and bottom flaps will naturally fold over to cover the ends of the box. Tape the bottom flaps in place and your box is ready to fill.


If you will be making more than one box, you can draw a template with these instructions on a piece of paper and trace it onto multiple cardboard sheets. If you use corrugated cardboard the folded box will be sturdier than if you use single-layer cardboard. You can fold this box from paper as well.


Use care with a utility knife.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Bone folder
  • Glue or stapler
  • Tape
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About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.