Category Archives: Furniture

Cardboard coffee table and toolbox

Here I am surrounded by screwdrivers, scrapers, paintbrushes and other accoutrements to make the DIY go with a swing, and I need a toolbox. I also need a coffee table, because one of these days a friend balancing a coffee cup – or worse – a glass of wine! horrors! – on her knees is going to get drenched.

It’s but the work of a moment to dive into the hall cupboard to wrestle out a large box that once held the vacuum cleaner in all its newness and glory but is now stuffed with stuff. Out with the stuff!

Armed with the box cutter, the safety ruler, a pencil and the cutting mat, off come the top flaps. It’s mudpie time, or rather, flour-and-water-paste with the consistency of single cream time, and this is where all those saved newspapers and sheets of brown wrapping paper come in.

See, if I just paint the box, it’s a) no fun and b) no fun at all. Plus, four layers of papier mâché later I have a sturdy box that doesn’t bend along the edges or show any of the joins in the cardboard.


What’s that at the bottom? Wheels? Why, yes. Little wheels that will trundle. Four little trundling castors for £1.87 and free postage. They’ve got a little 3cm baseplate with four holes that you’re supposed to screw onto wood, but since I’m doing it my way it’s different.

Box3Measured where they would go, stuck them on with PVA and let them dry, just to keep them in position. A couple more layers of papier mâché, then four pieces of calico about 4″ square with a snip in the middle of each to slide them over the castors, and stuck down with more PVA. Couple more layers of papier mâché. Perfectly fine and sturdy for trundling a box round a flat.

Next up, the lid! Got to have something flat for the bottles of wine and glasses and plates of pizza and slices of cake, after all.

Box1More rummaging for cardboard. I’ve been hoarding boxes and bits of cardboard for a while for whizzo projects and guess what! A piece of cardboard perfect for the top of the lid. Just needs cutting to size. Now to slap layers of cardboard together to give the lid some height, make sure the edges are vertical and secure them with paper tape.

What do you call that part of a lid that either sits inside or outside? It’s not a rim. It’s something else. Anyway, that. First, I’ve turned the top of the lid upside down with the box upside down on top of it so I can measure and draw round the edge of the box. Careful measuring, more cut-cut-cutting, some sticky-taping to form the oblong whatever-it-is and then testing the fit on the box BEFORE before sticking it down all the way round.







Cardboard Toolbox and Coffee Table: The Sequel: papier mâché to the lid to cover the tape inside and out. Coming soon.

The Return of the Cardboard Toolbox and Coffee Table: sanding lightly all over the box and lid, and coming up with colours and designs. Looking forward to that.

It’s all go round here ya know!


Here is the coffee table / toolbox after sanding and before painting and slapping on some designs. Not bad, huh!