DIY Cardboard chest part 1 – basic cardboard chest parts

So I’ve been working on a handmade cardboard chest for like, a few weeks now. I figure I might as well break down the process into a series of posts, as I’ve learnt quite a bit in the process of building it. I’ve always wanted a cool storage chest, especially for stationary, and here it is! As of writing this, I still have a bunch of little things I want to work on for it, but most of it is as done as can be. 

Bear in mind, this is only part one of a much larger series of this cardboard chest. For this first part, we’ll be going over how to make the box and the lid. The whole project only needs a few things, but there will be additional equipment you can use to make your box even fancier. Those things are as follows:

  • Cardboard, preferably corrugated or something equally tough and flexible.
  • Paper
  • Paint, to make it look pretty.
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Craft knives

Everything else, such as fabric, is entirely bonus! I’ve worked on trying to make a fairly accurate list of measurements for this cardboard chest. However, please bear in mind that I eyeballed pretty much all of it, as I do with most projects. It’s well worth tweaking as you go along to fit your needs!

I’ll be covering the basic cardboard chest shape, fancy hinges, lining with fabric, stencilling, and paper mache & painting. I hope you’ll enjoy this little series of posts of this cute little chest, and join me on this quest for an awesome desktop treasure chest! If you want more paper crafts like this, then check out here.

tcc making a cardboard chest part 1 icon

Making a lid & box

Active Time: 1 hour
Drying time: 1 days
Total Time: 1 days 1 hour
Difficulty: ♥♥♥♥♡

Learn to make the box and lid of this multipart chest project!


  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Regular thin cardboard


  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • All purpose glue
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Compass


  1. Starting with the bottom half of the chest, you will need to lay your corrugated card down flat.
  2. Using your ruler and pencil, draw 5 rectangles on the cardboard in the following measurements: 14cm x 8cm (two of these), 22.5cm x 8cm (two of these), 22.5cm x 14cm (one of this size, it's the base).
  3. Set your base rectangle down. Begin constructing your box by gluing the sides along each edge of the base as shown in the diagram.
  4. Let the glue for the base dry completely.

  1. While the glue dries for the base, work on the lid! Using the compass and ruler, draw a circle with a radius of 7.5cm on your cardboard.
  2. Cut out the circle, and cut this circle in half. It'll be the sides for your chest lid.
  3. Next, you will need to cut a rectangle that is 23.5cm x 22.5cm. Make sure that the larger edge is against the grain, and the shorter edge follows the grain. This might sound weird, but it'll make sense in one moment.
  4. Once that's done, begin to roll your cardboard up, following the grain to make it easier. Corrugated cardboard can fold very easily if you follow the grain! Once you have rolled it up, unroll it. This will give the curve for your lid.
  5. Next, glue the sides onto each side of the curve as shown in the diagram.
  6. Allow the glue to dry completely
  7. Next, cut out a strip of thin cardboard that is 73cm x 3cm.
  8. Carefully fold this strip of cardboard along the inside of the chest lid. Glue it in place and let the glue dry. This will help the lid sit on the chest when closed.


If you're not too fussed about appearances, the chest is perfectly usable even now! The lid should sit nicely on the base, so once it's closed it'll stay closed even with a bit of knocking.

If you'd rather not paper mache, paint, or any other future tasks, then feel free to decorate it now. This chest base can be used for a variety of crafts, and not just for what I used mine for!

tcc making a cardboard chest pt 1 - pinterest image

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