How to Reuse Cardboard Boxes for Shipping

Easily make right-sized cardboard boxes to ship your products:

You can reuse corrugated boxes to ship sold products to customers. Make right-sized boxes so as to reduce weight and the need for more packaging materials, thereby reducing postage/shipping fees. All you need are second-hand cardboard boxes, a box cutter (razor blade), packing tape (in a dispenser works best) and glue.


Postal Services require that shipping/postal boxes be free of old mail labels and bar-codes that could confuse mail handling equipment and potentially delay delivery. Here’s an easy way to quickly prepare used corrugated box for mailing without having to peel off old labels or obliterate old markings on the box.


Select a box with dimensions that are appropriate for the item to be shipped. Slightly larger is OK. Use boxes that are still in good condition. Boxes that have been crushed, or that have severely damaged corners should not be re-used. Don’t use a sharp knife to undo the side joint. This might damage the box surface or the tab. Gently pry the joints open.

Step 1.

Open the bottom of the box by cutting the tape or carefully breaking the glue that secures the bottom flaps.

Step 2.

Locate the joint that secures the sides of the box together.

Step 3.

Carefully break open the side joint by working your finger or a dull tool like a putty knife or dull knife into the glue joint and sliding it slowly from one end of the joint to the other.

Step 4.

Flatten the box and lay it on a flat surface with the side joint facing up. The box is now “inside-out” with the clean inside surface of the box now on the outside.

Step 5.

Lay the box on a flat surface with the open joint facing up. Apply glue to the tab of the joint.

Step 6.

Press the side of the box onto the glued tab, then carefully align the edges of the box. Hold in-place with packing tape or weight and allow long enough time for the glue to dry, and then add a layer of tape over it to ensure that the box is strong and secure.

Glue and then tape the bottom of the box with packing tape to ensure that the bottom will not give-way during shipping. It is also a good idea to tape around the four sides of the bottom of the box for extra reinforcement.

Your box is ready.

Before placing the item to be shipped in your newly built box, test the side joints that you glued to make sure they  are secure. If you’re not sure, you can reinforce the joint with packing tape. Finally, place your shipment in the box and secure it properly with foam, foam chips, paper, packing peanuts, etc. and tape up the box. Affix your shipping label to the now-clean outside of the box. You are now ready for the Post Office or your Courier.

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