Yes, You Can DIY A Unique Decorative Shelving Unit Out Of Cardboard. Here's How

These days, budget-friendly pieces of furniture are hard to come by. It's not cheap to furnish a home, especially if you have a preference for one-of-a-kind items. But don't get discouraged, because you can always DIY. Believe it or not, you can repurpose cardboard boxes into a bespoke display case that's environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and surprisingly stylish.

For this craft, we're throwing it back to our childhoods with good old papier mâché, scissors, cardboard boxes, and glue. This time, instead of building an imaginary car or time machine, you'll be making a real-life piece of furniture that's unlike anything you can buy in stores. Follow the steps closely and use the TikTok video as a guide to ensure that you're on the right track. With a few simple materials and basic crafting skills, you will create unique shelving for your home that will definitely earn you some compliments from your guests.

Get crafty with this gorgeous DIY cardboard shelving unit

Your crafty inner child will love this fun hands-on project, and your present-day self will love the finished product. TikTok user @cherry.l.a.d.y demonstrates how to make a modern shelving unit out of cardboard, glue, papier mâché, and finishing plaster. The structure of this display case is made entirely of cardboard, so make sure to have a lot of it on hand.

To begin, choose a large square of cardboard to serve as the front of the shelving unit and create several archway cutouts for the shelf nooks. Measure and cut strips of cardboard and use hot glue to attach them around the perimeter of each cutout. Next, create a frame for the display case using even more cardboard. To do this, measure four strips and secure them to each side of your existing structure, ensuring that all of the parts are equal in dimension. Measure a large square to cover the back and secure it to the structure.

Now that the construction is finished, it's time to plaster it with papier mâché, a hard molding paste that is used for sculpting and covering surfaces. To make the paste, mix a cup of white flour and two cups of hot water, then stir or blend until smooth. Coat strips of newspaper in the mixture and cover the shelving unit from top to bottom. Once it's fully dry, apply finishing plaster or pre-mixed filling paste to smooth out the surfaces.

How to preserve your cardboard display case and make it sturdier

There is a reason why furniture that is built to last is made of sturdy materials like wood and metal, but don't worry, there are ways to make your cardboard shelf less flimsy and more durable. Consider reinforcing each shelving nook with an additional layer of cardboard for extra support. To preserve its condition, avoid placing heavy objects inside or on top of the display case.

Another tip is to invest in more heavy-duty cardboard for this project. The most durable kind on the market is corrugated fiberboard, specifically a 5-ply that is double-wall corrugated. This kind of cardboard is actually the best of both worlds because it can handle plenty of weight and is still malleable enough for shaping and cutting. Be mindful of the placement of your display case, as certain environmental conditions — mainly heat, cold, and humidity — may affect the material. Place your shelving unit away from direct sunlight to prevent changes to its internal temperature. As long as you handle it with care, your DIY statement piece will hold up nicely for a long time.