How to Give Gifts in Cardboard Shipping Boxes (and Actually Make It Look Cute)

published Dec 21, 2020
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cardboard boxes decorated with paint and ribbon

There’s no denying it, we’re all doing much more online shopping these days—which means the boxes are piling up. Sure, you can wrap them up to make those boxes ready for gifting, but you can also skip the paper and give gifts straight in their shipping box.

Of course, you probably want your gift to have a little more pizazz than just an Amazon logo or a big old UPS shipping label. For a quick DIY that’s low on waste and high on the cute factor, try these easy ways to dress up a plain shipping box so it’s ready for its place under the tree.

Here’s what you’ll need:

How to turn a shipping box into a plain brown box:

1. Disassemble the box

Carefully slice through the tape on the sides and bottom of the box. Look for the small tab overlap on the inside of the box and carefully pop it off from the side that it’s glued to. Be sure not to slice through it, you’ll need it to reconnect the box.

2. Turn it inside out

Turn the box inside out and fold it back into shape. Place a good amount of hot glue on the tab, tuck it inside the box, and hold in place until secure.

3. Seal up the box

Place your gift inside, then hot glue the remaining flaps shut by placing glue on the underside of the flaps, starting with the bottom first. After gluing the bottom, reinforce the inside with packing tape if the package is exceptionally heavy.

How to decorate your plain brown box

Now for the fun part: Grab your craft paints, markers, ribbons, or colored tape, and start decorating.

Stamp it

I used a circular craft sponge to stamp metallic polka dots on this box. You can achieve a similar result using a potato cut in half, or the rim of a glass dipped in paint.

Tie a bow on it

You can also disguise the gaps in your box with a beautiful, wide ribbon bow. The ribbon not only looks fab, but will help reinforce the package if it’s holding something heavy.

Paint it with stripes or other geometric designs

Use painter’s tape to create a pattern on your box, then paint it any color you like; I used FrogTape’s scalloped tape for the design here. You can also dress the box up with stripes of decorative washi tape, like these rolls from Scotch.