The other day I finally mustered the energy to break down and tie up all the cardboard boxes I had acquired over the course of about two months (bear in mind this was also the holiday season!) and I kid you not, my back was aching by the end of it. I made several trips out to the recycling can, identity concealed by my hat, mask, and sunglasses—mortified by the consumption that clearly went on in my home. I scurried back and forth (probably making myself look more suspect) with my bundles of paper and twine, feeling guilty all the while.
Usually, I’ll reuse leftover boxes as floor or table protection while doing a DIY project, and that does help me sleep better at night. However, I recently came across an even better way to repurpose cardboard: art! Yes, art!
Carly of MyCityApartment on Instagram, was inspired by the art of Simone Polk Dahl and wanted to create something similar with supplies she had laying around. So, instead of throwing away her stack of Christmas boxes, she cut them up and crafted a striking piece of textural art for her living room. Genius, says I. If you too, feel a twinge of guilt each time you order something to be delivered, this super-easy project is for you. Make one for yourself, and for everyone you know—we have a sneaky suspicion they’ll love it.
What You’ll Need:
- Leftover cardboard
- Paint of your choosing (baking soda optional)
- A canvas or frame
- Glue (hot melt or otherwise)
What You’ll Do:
- Start by prepping the canvas or frame you’re going to create your artwork on—you can totally reuse a canvas you already have but no longer love, cover up an old piece of art in a frame, or even work directly on a piece of posterboard—it’s up to you. I used a standard canvas I got at Michael’s, and to create a more finished look, I ripped the canvas off the frame, cut it down, and re-stapled it to the back so that the frame was exposed. I then painted the wooden frame black, and it looked like a totally custom frame job.
- Next, start cutting out pieces of cardboard. The size and shape of them is really up to you, and I ended up adding some variation in my rectangles by cutting some smaller and shorter than others, just to make everything a little imperfect.
- Arrange your pieces of cardboard how you’d like them on your chosen surface. I decided to replicate Carly’s, so I layered on a base of similarly-sized rectangles ro be followed later with more layered on top.
- You can paint each piece individually, or glue them down and paint them altogether. Carly used acrylic paint mixed with baking soda (to add even more texture) so I followed suit. I also used hot glue, but really whatever glue you have on hand will work.
- Once the base layer is dry, you can add any detail pieces you’d like. Again, I loved Carly’s so much that I just replicated the black lines on top of the white—it looks like just enough modern detail, and makes the whole piece feel very purposeful.