Large grocery cartons are excellent for storing materials. Many useful things can also be made from them. If the boxes are cut into flat pieces with a knife a great number of them can conveniently be stored in a small space for future use.

Table Mat

Use a square of heavy cardboard the desired size of the mat. Cut a piece of decorated paper or wall paper like the cardboard plus one inch all the way around. Miter the corners by cutting away a piece at each corner. Paste cardboard to paper, pull up and paste edges of paper on wrong side. Paste on a lining paper slightly smaller than the mat. Suitable for lower and middle grades.


Decide on the size and number of sections for the screen. Two and three sided screens are the most popular. Cut cardboards for the sides. Cover each one with decorated or wall paper as described for the table mat above. Lay sections of screen together, face down, with one-eighth to one-fourth inch space between them. Make hinges by pasting on a piece of the cover paper, face down, then a piece of adhesive tape or cloth and then another strip of cover paper, face up. These strips should be just as long as the hinge and about two inches wide. When hinges are all made paste on lining papers and press until thoroughly dry. If the screen is to be used as a background for flowers or objects it should be covered with paper that is not too dominant in design so that it will serve as a retiring background. Suitable for upper grades.

A square of cardboard

A square of cardboard from a heavy box covered with decorated wrapping paper for a mat. A screen showing construction of hinges.

Waste Paper Baskets

1. Use a rather small box the right shape for a waste paper basket. Cut out the top and paste a strip of cloth around the edge for reinforcement. Cover the box with decorated paper, wallpaper or cloth as shown on page 95. Suitable for middle and upper grades.

2. Use a box the desired shape for the basket. Cut out the top and paste a narrow strip of cloth around it to reinforce the edge. Cut small odd shaped pieces from colored magazine advertisements and paste them all over the box. Each piece should lap slightly over the last one. If pieces are selected with harmonious colors the basket will be more beautiful than if pieces of all colors are used. No pieces should be chosen that have on them objects that will be distinguishable, such as faces. The basket will be more attractive and durable if given a coat of shellac when finished. Suitable for lower and middle grades.

A waste paper basket

A waste paper basket made from a heavy box covered with decorated wrapping paper, showing reinforcement around top. Another box covered with bits from magazine advertisements. Construction of a third basket from heavy cardboard, decorated wrapping paper and string.

3. Cut pieces of cardboard the desired shape for sides of basket. It may have any number of sides. Cover each piece with decorated paper, cloth or wall paper as shown for the mat on page 93. Press these sections under a weight and when dry make holes along two sides and the bottom of each piece using a hammer and nail. Lace the sides together with string. Set the sides, thus fastened together, on a piece of cardboard and mark around for bottom of basket. Punch holes in bottom and fasten to sides by lacing. Sides of basket might be covered with pieces of colored magazine advertisements as described above. Suitable for middle and upper grades.

Loose Leaf Note Book

Cut two pieces of cardboard the desired size of book. About one inch from what will be the left side of the front cover cut out a strip one-fourth to one-half inch wide. Paste a piece of adhesive tape or cloth over this space to hold the two pieces of the front cover in place and make the hinge. Push the cloth well down into the opening. Be sure that this cover is exactly the same size as the uncut (back) one. For covering the book use cloth at the left side, which will be the back edge of the book, and decorated or wall paper for the remainder of the cover. Plain cloth should be used with patterned paper and patterned cloth with plain paper. Cut the cloth to fit over the hinge, around the end of the small piece of cardboard and over the hinge again. Cut a second piece for the back. Cut the paper to fit almost to the hinge and with an inch projecting over at the other three sides. Cut the paper for the back the same. Paste on cloth, then paper, mitering the corners by cutting out a piece at each corner. Pull up and paste edges at top, bottom and then sides. Paste lining paper in front cover letting it extend over as near the hinge as the cover paper did and fall about one-eighth inch short of the top, bottom and other side. The back lining paper should cover all except one-eighth inch all the way around. Press covers under a pile of books until thoroughly dry. Punch holes along left edge, put in pages and sew up with string, which may be dyed. The ends may be braided and made more attractive by adding old beads in harmonious colors. String may be knotted as shown on page 104. Both front and back covers may be hinged. Suitable for middle and upper grades.

construct the front and back covers

How to construct the front and back covers of a loose leaf note book, inside of the covers and the completed book.