One of the reasons I love cardboard for building is you can get it for free so easily. Chances are you frequently order items that come in boxes and so if you just save a few of these boxes over time you’ll have more cardboard than you know what to do with!
Still, if you need some help getting cardboard for a project, this list of ideas + resources for how to get free cardboard fast is sure to help cover all your supply needs!
Ask In Your Local Facebook Groups
About 1-2 times a week, someone in my local Facebook group is either asking for cardboard or offering a LOT of cardboard for free. There are also many groups in many cities dedicated specifically to upcycling + freecycling, so these are also great groups.
If no one is offering cardboard in these groups, just make a post and ask. I am sure that about 20 people will gladly give you all their boxes – especially if you explain that you use them for making and building things!
Ask Family + Friends
Family and friends are also a great source and most are happy to save cardboard for you as long as you come pick it up from them in a timely manner since it can take up quite a lot of space!
Simply tell people you need cardboard and it will start to magically appear for you everywhere!
Try Grocery Stores
Our local Aldi’s store has a gigantic crate of cardboard available for the taking every time you shop there. Using the boxes instead of bags when you do your grocery shopping can get you a lot of boxes fast – I think our average grocery order for a household of 4 is usually at least 3-4 big boxes.
The nice thing about these kinds of boxes is you can often get them in interesting shapes + sizes – sometimes even in different colors!
Network With Local Small Businesses
Many local businesses deal with an insane amount of cardboard regularly and they’d be happy to work with you to give you cardboard – just remember they are running a business and so you’ll need to be cooperative with them – don’t expect them to sort things for you or to store it for any long period of time. If possible, try to work with them to schedule for when they typically get deliveries to pick up the cardboard.
Small, independently owned restaurants and retail stores are usually the best businesses to network with, as they usually don’t have the volume or resources for cardboard recycling programs like the big corporations do.
Save Your Own Boxes
Perhaps the most obvious, but also the easiest is to simply save your own boxes.
If you need a lot of boxes regularly, consider switching to ordering most of your household items online. We have things like paper towels, cat food, and dog food delivered to our house each month and those things come in very big boxes!
You can also save cardboard from smaller items, such as cereal boxes and other dry goods food packaging. These are great for smaller projects and when you are adding details!
The accessibility of cardboard is definitely one of the biggest reasons why we added an entire section devoted to building things with cardboard to our website. Being able to get free + cheap supplies like this are always a great way to keep making!
Do you have any other good sources for free cardboard? Share your ideas + tips in the comments section below!