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DIY Book Bin using Recycled Cardboard

Book-Themed Crafts | Kids | Recycled Crafts | School

Recycle a used box to create a fun DIY book bin! These colorful bins are perfect for holding book series and chapter books!

A book bin holding Pete the Cat books sits on a bookshelf.

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Hello! Today I’m sharing this easy DIY for making your own book bins using recycled boxes! We started creating these DIY book bins a couple years ago to help corral our book series. My kids love keeping their series books in one place and these have worked really well. They are made using boxes ready to be recycled. With just a little colored construction paper and clear packing tape they were transformed into these super handy book bins!

Colorful DIY book bins holding chapter books sit on a dresser.

They work really well sitting on shelves in a group and are also really handy for cube shelving. Adding one book box to a cube not only keeps a series together but they also act as book ends! The book bins can be filled with books front facing  (with the cover facing out) or with the spines visible. We alternate depending on the series and how many books we are trying to fit in each bin. I love using the bins with front facing books since they are a great way to break up a busy bookshelf and draw attention with their visible cover art!

Colorful DIY book bins holding chapter books sit on a dresser.

To create your own books bins you need to cover recycled boxes with construction paper and add a label to the front if you wish. Below you can see my specific step-by-step instructions for how I cover my bins. I like to cover ours with clear packing tape to help them last longer! 

DIY Book Bins

Supplies Needed

A cardboard box, scissors, tape and red construction paper sit on a table ready to craft with!

Step by Step Tutorial

Step One: Find a box to use for your book bin!

Search for a box ready to be recycled to use for the book bin. Tape down all of the tabs. You could cut them off but I think they add more stability to thin cardboard if you keep them and just fold them over and tape them down.

An empty cardboard box sits on a white table.

Step Two: Cover the end of the box with colored construction paper.

For my box, I used two sheets of red construction paper. Depending on how large your box is you may need more! Start by covering the ends of the box with construction paper. Start by laying the paper over the end of the box and fold around the box marking where the fold lines should go. Take the paper off and fold the paper. 

Red construction paper is folded over the sides of the cardboard box.Red paper is pre-folded sitting next to a cardboard box.

Once the paper is pre-folded, go ahead and attach it using tape! Wrap the paper around the top edge of the box so it lines some of the inside.

Red paper is taped to one end of the cardboard box.

Repeat for the other end of the box!

Red paper covers both ends of the cardboard box.Red paper covers both ends of the cardboard box.

Step Three: Cover the middle of the box!

Use one long strip of paper to cover the middle of the box. Mark the inside width of the box using a pencil and then cut a strip of paper that width.

A brown pencil marks a piece of red paper the width of the box.

Position your box in the middle of the strip of paper and wrap the paper up and around the two uncovered sides. Mark the places where the paper will need to be folded. Tape the piece of paper in place. 

Red paper is pre-folded and ready to be wrapped around the cardboard box.A box covered in red construction paper sits on a white table.

Step Four: Cover the box with clear packing tape.

This step is optional but a great way to protect the paper on the box from ripping and tearing! The boxes we made a couple years ago and covered with tape are still in great shape!

Clear packing tape is laying next to a red box.A box is covered in red construction paper and clear packing tape.

Step Five: Add a book label to the box!

This step is optional, but if you plan to use your book bins for a specific collection of books or a series, you can add a book tag to the front. We chose to add pictures of the book series but you could also add the title of the books. I made our labels 4″x 3″ which was a good size for our boxes. 

A box covered in red construction paper is sitting on a white table with a label for the books series on the front of it.

Here is our finished book box for our series “Ballpark Mysteries”. The packing tape is really visible right after making the book boxes but actually blends in after a day or two!

Red book bin filled with books from the "Ballpark Mysteries" series.Colorful book bins are stacked in a tower.

The books bins can be used with forward facing books where the cover of the books is visible to kids like our Pete the Cat books below!

Blue book bin filled with "Pete the Cat" books.

You can also make book bins to hold books with the spin facing out like we did for our Bear Grylls Adventure books! For some of our bins we added labels to both the front and side of the bins so the bins can be positioned different ways with the label still visible! 

A yellow book bin filled with "Bear Grylls" books.

Skip the label and keep the books bins plain! Perfect for adding an assortment of books. I love using these books bins for thin “I Can Read” books or small chapter books. 

Orange book bin filled with an assortment of books.

I hope you enjoyed this fun book craft and have a happy Read Across America Day! Check out this fun DIY Storybook Game for a fun activity perfect for this day! 

Awesome Book Series featured in this post!

We created our book bins for some of our favorite book series! Below is a list if you are interested in checking them out! Many should be available at your local library! I’ve also included Amazon (affiliate) links if you are interested in purchasing them :) 

Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly

Pete the Cat by Kimberly and James Dean

Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne

Bear Grylls Adventures by Bear Grylls

Wheelnuts by Knife & Packer

Billie B. Mysteries by Sally Ripon

Princess Truly by Kelly Greenawalt

   

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