DIY Organizer Box: How To Make Storage Boxes Out Of Cardboard Or Plastic

Storage boxes are a great way to get organized and make things easy to find. But finding ones that fit your space without breaking the bank can be hard to do. Which is why I decided to make my own DIY organizer box using corrugated plastic (but cardboard would work, too).

how to make DIY storage boxes from cardboard or plastic

Today I am sharing how to make custom-sized DIY organizer boxes to facilitate easy, tidy storage.

The idea for making my own bins started when I set out to organize the contents of my office.

I decided that I needed many drawers to hold an assortment of small office supplies.

The most economical solution was to install pullout shelves with boxes on them into an existing shelving unit I had in the room.

Then I could divide the boxes into sections as required.

By making the boxes myself, I was able to create 7 narrow ‘drawers’. Enough to store a variety of frequently-used items and have them easily accessible.

And while I used these in my office, they would work well anywhere that you might need some custom storage – like the bathroom or your craft room.

Read the step by step instructions for my DIY organizer box made from cardboard or corrugated plastic below.


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DIY organizer box supplies



1 | Determine Where The DIY Organizer Boxes Will Go

Pull out shelves in a shelving unit

I knew that I wanted my boxes to go inside the shelving unit in my office.

Before I made the boxes, I installed shelves on sliders every 4″. (This is similar to the sliding shelves Wanda installed in her kitchen. Find the tutorial for that HERE.)

Putting the shelves on sliders isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does make getting at the boxes a lot easier!

2 | Measure The Size

To determine the size of the finished box, measure the width, length and height of the space that you want your DIY organizer box to fit in. Mine is 12″ wide by 11″ long by 2″ high.

Make your box a little smaller than the available space so that you will be able to take it in and out easily.

Then figure out the size of corrugated plastic or cardboard you need to cut as follows.

For the width:

  • Multiply the height by 2. In my case, 2 x 2″ = 4″
  • Then add that to the width measurement. In my case, 4″ + 12″ = 16″

For the length:

  • Multiply the height by 4. In my case, 4 x 2″ = 8″.
  • Then add that to the length measurement. In my case, 8″ + 11″ = 19″ long.

3 | Cut The Cardboard Or Plastic

Lay the corrugated plastic on a flat surface.

Measure and draw the size as calculated above onto it.

To make sure that the corners are square, use a framing square to mark the corners.

Using the metal yard stick as a straight edge, cut along the marked edges with the utility knife.

4 | Mark and Score The Fold Lines

Now we’re going to work with the cut piece of cardboard to make the fold lines for the sides of the box.

On all four sides, measure in the height of the box (in my case 2″).

Use the ruler to draw straight lines along those measurements.

On the sides that will be the front and back of the box, measure in the desired height again from the line you just drew (for me another 2″ in).

Draw lines across the width at those points.

Use the score and fold tool and a straight edge ruler to score along all of the lines you have just drawn. Make sure to go all the way across on all of the lines (they should cross in the corners).

Then go over the lines with the perforated paper tool to make the folds easier.

You will need to press firmly with both of these tools, particularly if you are working with corrugated plastic.

Use the utility knife to cut out the 4 outside corners and discard those small pieces.

From those square cut-outs, continue cutting along the score from the first marked line to the second line. This will be the connecting flap to hold the corners together.

5 | Fold The Box

Fold along all scored lines. You will have a double fold at on the front and back ends of the box.

Cut out 1/8″ to 1/4″ from both the inside and outside edge of the flaps. This makes them easier to insert.

Fold up the ends that only have the single score line and bend the flap into the box.

Use the hot glue gun to apply glue to the insides of one of the double folded sides and to both sides of the flaps.

Fold up the double-scored side and wrap the second fold over the top of the flaps on both ends.

It is necessary to work quickly here, before the glue dries. Using slow setting glue sticks that set in 3 minutes gives you a little more time.

Clamp the ends and middle of the glued fold by putting a small scrap of wood between the plastic and the clamp on both sides of the fold.

Repeat for the other side of the box.

Let the glue dry for a couple of hours before removing the clamps.

6 | Add The Finishing Touches

The great thing about this is you can make any size of box you want…to fit perfectly in any space!

I used this same method to make some smaller boxes for inserts as well as purchasing some small plastic containers from the dollar store.

Lastly, I labelled each box so that I can identify the contents easily.

Using chalkboard labels and a chalk marker means I can change what’s in the drawers later if I want to.

I love how efficient it is to locate my supplies, and how neat and tidy everything looks.

Now all the clutter is off my desk, yay!

Other DIY Storage Ideas You Might Like

Have comments or questions on our DIY organizer box? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on January 18, 2021 but was updated with new content on April 22, 2022.

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  1. Thank you for this.

    This is great for a particular space that already has sliding enclosures and drawers – but what about a self-contained unit?

    How effective would it be if you built the thing the drawers go into as well as the drawers?

    I imagine the structure would not be as sturdy or the drawers would not slide out as easily – but I wonder if there are any reinforcing techniques to address this?

    Maybe doubling up on the cardboard in the unit would help, but I imagine this makes corners and edges more difficult to design and assemble since the outer layer and inner later would need to be of slightly different lengths.

    Do you have any ambitions of giving this a try? I might try some things but your skills definitely give you a better chance to develop a working design for a self-contained unit

    1. Hello, If I were building a self-contained unit, I would use plywood for the outer box. Cardboard is too flexible and would not hold the screws for the sliders. There are framed plastic units available on Amazon, for example, that come assembled and are inexpensive.
      Thanks for your thoughtful input.