Create Cardboard Shelving For Your Kitchen Set

Create Cardboard Shelving For Your Kitchen Set

I’ve previously shared a tabletop kitchen set I made out of a cardboard box and then I later created a new play kitchen set by making a fridge, oven, and cupboard out of boxes and put it all in an unused end table. I later updated the end table by adding a fabric stove and sink cover to the top of it. The kids’ loved their kitchen set but I needed someway to store all the kitchen items so the kids could use the fridge, cupboard, and oven when they wanted without having to empty them out first. The issue I had was the kitchen set was placed right by our own kitchen alongside a skinny wall and I didn’t want to move it somewhere else. Since there wasn’t a lot of space and I wasn’t sure if the kids would keep using it I decided to create some temporary shelves out of cardboard boxes we had on hand. It worked perfectly and lasted way longer than I expected. Even now, after the bottom box broke, we separated the top and put it on it’s side for a less picturesque storage area. The best part is when you rearrange or your kids get tired of it you can recycle the boxes and you didn’t lose anything by making it.

Pinterest image including pictures of the custom shelving.

I started by grabbing a short box that was the exact width we needed. I taped the top closed and reinforced the bottom. I then grabbed my X-Acto knife and cut two horizontal lines in the side with a vertical line connecting them in the middle. My cupboard was ready and was able to open and close. If you want to take more time on it you could grab a thinner strip of cardboard, card stock, or ribbon and create a loop for a handle. I instead took the easier way out and cut a circle out of the center so each cupboard door has a half circle cut into it and you can use it to get your finger in and pull the doors open.

The new cupboard. Ada’s foot is by the open door and her hand is placed on top. The doors are partially opened.
I cut the two horizontal lines near the top and bottom. Just enough to create a lip on either side. I then cut down the center creating the opening for the cupboard. I finally cut a half circle on either door, lined up, to create a circle large enough to get a finger in.

With the base done I decided to add shelving above. I grabbed two empty Soylent boxes, cut the one side off of both of them, and taped them together so their openings where on the same side thus creating a two shelf system.

Closeup of the side of the two opened boxes. You can see the masking tape connecting the two boxes on two of the four sides.
Making sure the openings were facing up I pushed the two boxes together and securely taped them along the front, back, and sides.

Now all that was left to do was decide how the cupboard and shelves should go together and tape them in place. I realized quickly that the (brown box) cupboard was longer than the white Soylent box shelving so I decided the cupboard would have to be on the bottom. The next step was deciding how the shelving should sit on the cupboard. Once we decided on the placement Ada helped me tape them together by applying vertical stripes of masking tape making sure their join points are secure.

Cupboard on the bottom with the opening matching the kitchen set. The shelves are placed sideways on top with the opening facing out the side. The Soylent boxes are essentially side by side.
The first configuration we tried had the cupboard facing the same way as the kitchen set with the shelving more like cubbies facing out the side. At this point the shelving didn’t seem like it was solving a purpose since the white box’s self was a single divided one. I didn’t have more boxes on hand so I decided to turn it so there would be two small shelves instead.
Ada is kneeling down looking into the shelving. The Soylent boxes are now stacked on each other and balanced near the back of the cupboard box.
I chose to move the shelving so it would be vertical and facing forward. I then moved it further back so the top of the brown cupboard would act like extra shelf space. This way I could also make the inner side of the white shelves go over the side of the brown cupboard making it appear, from the right side, to be as wide as the brown cupboard
The shelving is overlapping the cupboard by a couple inches and then was taped together so it couldn’t move.
I made sure the inner side the shelves overlapped the side of the cupboard making the other side even. This way the new storage shelves could nestle into the kitchen set and be less likely to move too far forward.
Shows Ada holding the tape onto the box.
Ada got into the taping action and I might’ve had her hold the odd one in place as I figured out where the next should go and could tear it off of the roll.
Closeup angled side of the box showing the front barely taped and the side with two pieces of tape.
You could add as much tape as you need to make it feel secure.

And I was done. It was time to place the kitchen set’s item. We have a Melissa and Doug stand that holds pots and pan so I put it on top of the boxes and used more masking tape to attach it in place to the shelves, below, and wall, behind. I figured this would make it more secure but found every time I vacuumed I had to keep removing the tape and reattaching it until I finally gave up. If you aren’t going to be moving your kitchen set attaching it to the wall would work great and make it easier to clean up since it’s harder to move off.

The top of the box and side of the main kitchen set is showing. The main feature is a metal stand taped to both the box and the wall behind it.
I taped the pot stand to the wall and the cupboard but later made it free-standing when it was too much trouble to move it each time I had to vacuum underneath it.

And then I loaded the shelves and cupboard with all the kitchen supplies. I loved how the main kitchen set suddenly had so much room to play without having to unpack everything each time.

Closeup of the stand again but this time it’s covered in pots, lid, and strainer. In front of the stand but still on the shelves sits a loaf pan with some plastic play utensils.
I love how the stand can sit on top of the shelving making even more space.
And then I loaded the rest of the shelving and cupboard with the rest of the toys. The mixing bowl (from a cupcake sand toy set) became a catchall spot for all the smaller items.

Years later the brown box has been recycled and the white boxes sit on their side holding all the kitchen set’s toys. As the kids sometime go over and play with the kitchen set now I’m debating, once again, improving the food storage but haven’t decided how quite yet.

View looking down at how we use the shelving now.

I loved how simple and quick it was to throw these cupboards together. Are you looking for more storage space for one of your play areas? Let me know if you make your own cupboards or shelving after this and for what. Feel free to share yours in the comments below. You can also check out my Facebook page, Instagram account, or join my email list if you want future updates. I hope you have a great day!

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