Making Inexpensive Decorative Storage Boxes

Most people could use a bit more storage space around the house. Decorative boxes are a great way to utilize space, allowing you to store many different things in an attractive and handy manner. Unfortunately, these boxes can also be somewhat expensive when you buy them at the store. By utilizing some regular cardboard boxes and other containers that you have around the house, you will be able to create some beautiful and useful storage boxes, while keeping scrap materials out of the landfills.

Choosing Your Boxes

The first step in creating a decorative storage box is choosing the size and shape you need for what you wish to store. If you have a particular use for the box in mind, you should check the box you select so that you are sure it is the right size before you start on your project. This is one of the many advantages of making your own boxes...the ability to custom fit the box to what you need to store. You will also want to make sure that any box you choose is sturdy and strong enough to support whatever you want to store in it. This might not be important if you just need to store a few lightweight trinkets or some jewelry, but can be crucial if you need to store a heavy collection of coins or rocks. Boxes that are manufactured in a sturdy fashion are always the best choice, so choose those that have a solid bottom. Boxes with lids also make great decorative storage containers, since you can also cover them with paper separately.

Choosing the Paper to Cover the Box

Once you have selected the perfect box, the fun of decorating can begin. You can use a variety of materials for covering the boxes, including scraps of paper, adhesive shelf paper, contact paper, decorative wrapping paper, unused pieces of scrapbook paper, or even interesting pieces of newspaper. Newspaper can sometimes be an especially interesting material to use, especially if you can find a piece of newspaper that features a story that is meaningful to you. A box covered with the comics section of the paper can also be a lot of fun.

Decorating the Box

Once you have your paper selected, you will want to find an adhesive that is well-suited to the paper. For example, if you are using heavy scrapbook paper or sturdy construction paper, you might want to use craft glue. However, thinner papers such as newspaper or wrapping paper often tend to wrinkle if you use some varieties of glue. Spray on adhesives and those which are designed for scrapbook paper use can sometimes work, especially if they state on the container that they are designed to prevent paper wrinkling. If you know how to do decopage, this can also be a great way of decorating a box. Cut out pieces of paper, using the box as a guide, which are sized to fit the sides of your container. Overlap the edges slightly at the corners to provide good coverage. In most cases you will want to cover the box completely with the paper, at least on the outside. Once the initial layer of paper has dried, you can use other pieces of paper to decorate it. When complete, you'll have a decorative box that is environmentally friendly and practically free.

Jessica Ackerman, author and staff designer at, specializes in tree wall sculptures and wrought iron decor.