With this project I’ve officially entered stage 1 of maximizing the (surprisingly little) space in our kitchen: making custom storage boxes, particularly for cans and spices.
But why did I go with boxes? I needed a solution that would allow me to easily store and move everything around as I saw fit. And then there’s The Boyfriend to consider, who hardly ever digs around in the kitchen but when he does he’s like a bull in a china shop, so I also needed something that was durable yet also replaceable. Making my own boxes just seemed like my best bet all around.
So once I had settled on boxes, that brought up other questions like – what boxes do I use? Where do I get them? And how to go about making them stronger without a lot of effort?
Turns out, I had just about everything I needed already in the house.
Tools You’ll Need
- Empty soda box (I used the “flat” 12 pack)
- Contact paper or decorative paper (I used this Whitewood contact paper)
- Chalkboard paint for labels (optional – I made my own)
- Mod Podge (optional, depending on steps – I made my own)
- Small paint brush (optional, depending on steps)
- Duct Tape (optional)
- Newspaper or Ad Pages (optional)
- Scoring knife (if using contact paper)
There are a lot of optional tools in this list, and I’ll tell you why: I’m a bit OCD. And when I said I wanted these can storage boxes to be durable, I meant it. However, I know not everyone will need (or want) to go to all the trouble I did to accomplish this. I made sure to put optional steps in bold.
Before we get started, I wanted to point out that different brands of soda have a different box design. For this project, I opted to go with a Coke product box (left) vs Pepsi brand (right).
To start off, I made sure the empty soda box I used still had all the perforated pieces attached. This means the two slats along the top (for the built in handle) and the little lip near the can opening. These pieces aren’t required, but I liked having them for the added durability. The only piece you don’t really need is the removeable flap for the box opening, although I used pieces of it to create the box label (more on that below).
Next I used the duct tape to go over any openings, corners, and places where the cardboard was glued together. Again, I needed these boxes to be super durable, but you can skip this step if you’d like. It’s totally optional.
Another optional step? I painted the boxes with mod podge and then wrapped them in some old newspaper, just to strengthen the cardboard a little. After I applied the newspaper and painted a little mod podge over the corners, I let the box dry overnight.
Now the boxes were ready to be covered! You can either use more mod podge to stick on some decorative paper, or you can do what I did and use contact paper.
However, I did have a couple of problems with the contact paper: unlike what I expected, the contact paper didn’t stick very well to the newspaper / mod podge combo. But it worked well enough to get the job done. For any pieces that wouldn’t stay put, I just used more duct tape. The contact paper does stick well to itself, so I overlapped as many corners as I could.
Now that the box is covered in the design of your choice, you’re good to go! Get to sorting those unwieldy cans!
From here, you can also create a label you’d like. I ended up using the cardboard flap that originally covered the opening in the soda box (waste not, want not), cut it into the shape of a label, and then painted it with chalkboard paint. This way I can change what I stored in the box without a lot of hassle. I used a piece of double sided tape to stick the label to the front of the storage box.
And that’s it! The next time I make one of these, I might try to use decorative paper (or maybe go all retro and just use newspaper) and see how it compares to using contact paper. I’ll be sure to post an update with pictures here if I do!