Make an Up-cycled Gift Box

Category Paper
You can up-cycled a tea box to make a cute, decorated gift box. Using glue and sturdy craft paper you can decorate the box cardboard for pennies.


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December 26, 2018

This used to be a tea box! I first made these when I was dead broke and in a pinch to help out with a family Christmas. Someone on ThriftyFun had once posted about re-using a sugar bag for sugar cookies, which got the gears turning. So many possibilities! Since then, making these has become less a matter of necessity and more a matter of being kinder to the Earth. A labor of love.

Total Time: about 1 1/2 hr to assemble (There's a lot of wait time. You should multitask.)


  • empty tea box
  • 2 sheets sturdy 12x12 in craft paper
  • glue
  • paintbrush with rectangular tip
  • scissors
  • craft knife/box cutter
  • newspaper or paper bag to keep your table clean


  1. Gently take apart the box. Use the craft knife to break apart the glue seals. This helps prevent the paper from tearing.
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  3. Lay the box down on the blank side of a sheet of craft paper and start tracing around the edges. You will want a paperweight. I used a tile coaster to keep it secure while I traced.
  4. The box will probably extend past the paper. Just stop at the last seam, draw a line across, and trace the remaining shape on the other piece of craft paper.
  5. Cut out the shapes. To glue, brush glue over the box like a thin layer of paint. Gradually attach the paper to the box, starting from one end to the other.
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  7. Wait one minute for the glue to set slightly. Then, flip over the box and fold up all the seams. Wait another minute before putting the box back together. Trim off any excess paper. You may need to bend the seams again.
  8. Start putting the box together at one side. Apply a heavy layer of glue on the side panels and attach to the side wall. Flip the box to the side and set down paper weights to hold the panels down. Let dry 15-20 minutes before moving to the other side.
  9. Once both sides have dried and are secure, finish off the top part. You can use paperclips to clamp the panels to the roof of the box.
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  11. Let the box set up overnight before using it for gifting so your gift won't smell like glue, lol! It's also fun to include a few bags of tea from the original box.

    Note: A hot glue gun may also work for when you put the box back together.
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