Throw Out That Box? No, Build A Shelving Unit

Are you one of those people who hoards cardboard for someday, and then periodically breaks it all down and puts it out for recycling because you haven’t done anything with it yet? Well, load up a new blade in the utility knife and fire up that hot glue gun, because the [Cardboard Ninja]’s gonna show you how to make a shelving unit from the biggest box in your collection.

[Cardboard Ninja] goes about the build quite smartly, cutting the legs from the four long bends already in the cardboard. This is repeated in the shelves, which are made from the box’s sides — [Cardboard Ninja] takes advantage of the bends when it comes to cutting out the shelves and creates the other three with the edge of a metal ruler. The rest of the cardboard is devoted to supports for shelves and legs.

While you could use this unit to hold all the other, smaller boxen you have lying around, that would be a gross under-utilization. You see, the way this is put together, it can hold upwards of 133 lbs (60 kg) total, provided the rules of weight distribution are followed, and the heaviest things are on the bottom shelf.

That does seem like a lot of weight, but given that this was constructed by someone who has a holster for their utility knife and calls themselves [Cardboard Ninja], I think we can trust their stress tests and just go with it. Given that, it’s always a good idea to anchor shelving units to the wall.

You know, this would make a pretty good entry into the second Challenge of this year’s Hackaday Prize. Remember: this is the final weekend to enter, and the window closes at 7AM Pacific on Sunday, so get hackin’!


17 thoughts on “Throw Out That Box? No, Build A Shelving Unit

  1. Great simple recycling hack if you don’t have cats! I have cats and one of them goes out of her way to find boxes and destroys it. If I build a shelf out of boxes, it wouldn’t last the night.

      1. I don’t think spray paint will make much odds to being recyclable – though that depends on exactly what type of paint. I don’t think it is going to be easily recycled into decent paper/card stock with all the hot glue anyway – so its likely to become lower grade packaging card, egg carton or the like, if its in a fit state to be recycled when you are done with it anyway…

        So for me I suspect, though I’ve not got enough information to state one way or the other, that painting it with anything at all is still winning if it gets you a shelf you will actually use for more than 5 mins.

        1. The reason you can’t recycle cardboard endlessly has less to do with contaminants, which get washed and separated away when the cardboard is dissolved into water and bleached.

          It’s the fact that the cellulose fibers become shorter each cycle. Eventually they just grind down to dust and pass through the filter screens, so you have to keep adding a portion of new fibers even into “recycled” cardboard to maintain its structural properties.

          1. True, except for plastic paints, glues and tapes I understand can really gum up the recycling works so you don’t do the full deal wash cycle on such stuff anyway at best you pulp it up for egg carton type stuff, most likely it just get dumped/burned.

      2. Recycling is the 2nd worst thing you can do with something, the 1st is sending it to landfill… re-purposing already onsite materials is about the greenest you can get. Recycle is the LAST thing you should do when all options for not having it in the first place and re-using it have failed.

        1. Always reminds me of the saying “Hast Du Lack gesoffen?” (Did you drink lacquer?), asking someone who did sth really crazy/stupid/annoying what the heck he was thinking :D

          1. A bit of Finnish:

            Pulituuri: French polish (shellac dissolved in spirits)
            Puliukko: A person who drinks French polish; A gutter dwelling alcoholic.
            Tollo: 1) A wad of cotton steeped in French polish used for spreading; 2) A senseless person, an idiot.

    1. If its indoor furnishing you really shouldn’t need it – even if you go a spill a drink over it 99% is just going to run straight off onto the floor, and you will be mopping up the mess soon, right?? Its not going to get the chance to do anything to the card structurally before you can deal with your mistake. Just don’t put it in that corner window that always gets really damp from condense, and if it does get wet let it dry unloaded…

      Humidity is a little less trivial, but anywhere that gets humid enough to really cause a problem you probably have AC units and dehumidifier to make the inside comfortable enough for humans.

  2. “Are you one of those people who hoards cardboard for someday, and then periodically breaks it all down and puts it out for recycling because you haven’t done anything with it yet?”

    To know me is to love…my cardboard.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.