17 Brilliant Ways To Repurpose Empty Cereal Boxes At Home

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper and paperboard packaging and containers, like cereal boxes, amounted to 41.9 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018 alone. Out of the total, 6.44 million tons of the waste generated is sent to landfills. In case you don't want your Cheerios and Cap'n Crunch boxes to end up in overfilled landfills every few weeks (or months), it's high time you started repurposing your empty cereal boxes at home.

Despite what you might believe, these cardboard boxes aren't just fit to hold your breakfast cereal. There are several ways to reuse them. For starters, if you're on the hunt for a unique decoration that won't break the bank, there are multiple creative ways to recycle your old cereal boxes as decor, including as a gorgeous sunflower mirror and exquisite night light. These unassuming boxes can serve varied purposes around your home if you give them a new lease on life. So, without further ado, here are 17 brilliant ways to repurpose empty cereal boxes at home.

Turn them into book holders

Book and magazine holders keep your tables organized, but instead of buying a new one, turn your empty cereal box into a stunning book holder. Grab a ruler, pen, and scissors to measure and cut the top of the box (the side where the flaps are open) diagonally. Once you have the desired shape, use your DIY book holder as is or cover it with some wrapping paper. If you want to create something unique, hide the design underneath with a coat of primer and attach decorative paper on top with Mod Podge.

Spruce your gifts with personalized tags

Gift tags are an important accessory to a gift. However, if you're bored of attaching the same ol' tags to your gifts, craft personalized ones with your empty cereal box. Open up the folded box and cut out individual tags in the shape of your choosing. Now, decorate the gift tags with leftover scrap paper, glitter, sequins, bows, buttons, or anything else you can get your hands on. Punch a hole at the top and intertwine a piece of twine to attach your creation to the gift.

Craft your own bookmarks

If dog-earring the pages of a book sounds criminal, craft your own bookmarks using the empty cereal boxes by cutting out the desired length and width. Now, for the fun part. Cover your makeshift bookmark using old book pages, scrap paper, or craft paper. To tailor the bookmark to a specific book, cover the design with primer, give your creative side free rein, and draw out the imagery you want. For instance, painting the Hogwarts Castle will do the trick if you want the bookmark to pay homage to the "Harry Potter" series.

Organize your drawer with custom dividers

The out-of-sight, out-of-mind adage rarely works for a messy drawer in desperate need of organization. While decluttering your junk drawer will bring order to the space, it won't take long for the space to revert to its original state. However, drawer dividers will keep the area organized long after you tidy it up. So, grab a few empty cereal boxes, sit them down in your drawer, and use a pen to trace the required height. Trim out the box following the marked lines to a T. Cover them with craft paper before plopping your custom dividers inside the drawer.

Make a notebook

Did you know you could use your empty cereal box to create a funky notebook? All you need to do is trim away the sides and flaps. Simply fold a rectangular piece in half, place some A4 sheets inside (cut away the excess), and sew the cardboard cover and sheets with a needle and thread to attach them. You can also create mini notebooks, diaries, and to-do lists by adjusting the size of the cover and the papers inside. Alternatively, use two separate cardboard pieces and sew them (or use spiral binding) with the pages for a large notebook.

DIY coasters

Coasters might not seem necessary until you notice unsightly watermarks on your furniture. If you have a few tiles, glue, and empty cereal boxes lying around, DIY a coaster to protect the wood furniture in your home. Cut 4-inch cardboard squares, apply some glue to the tile, and stick the squares on top. Seal your DIY coasters with another layer of glue, and you're good to go.

Give your boring message banners a twist

If you don't want to clutter your empty walls with art but want to add a dash of color regardless, experiment with empty frames. The best part is that you don't have to buy expensive frames; just DIY one using empty cereal boxes. Remove the sides, top, and bottom of the box. Wrap the front (the side with the design) of the rectangular pieces in craft, decorative, or wrapping paper (fabric works, too) such that they cover the edges of the opposite (blank cardboard) side and hang them up.

Create pretty desk trays

Dumping pins, staples, ties, paper clips, and other such supplies in a large container (or bowl) might seem like a good idea ... until you need a specific item. So repurpose your empty cereal boxes into pretty desk trays to make your life easier. It's quite simple. Just determine the design you want, shape your cardboard box accordingly, and brighten the cut piece with some colored paper to add a pop of color to your workspace. You can even organize jewelry and other odds and ends using these trays.

Design eye-catching photo mats

Are you tired of the white photo mats around your pictures? If so, get an empty cereal box, Mod Podge, and scrap (or decorative) paper to make your photos pop. Cut the box in the shape of the picture frame and stick your chosen scrap paper on the cardboard side with Mod Podge. Finally, create a hole in the center and fold the flaps around the other side of the box to make it easier to insert pictures in the frame.

Use them as paint palettes

Are you tired of constantly scrubbing your plastic palettes after every use? Fortunately, it's quite simple to turn your empty cereal boxes into artist palettes. Simply draw the shape of your palette, carve it out with a cutter (scissors work, too), and begin mixing paint on the cardboard side. For a sturdier palette, stick two cardboard pieces together and let them air dry. You can even carve out a thumb hole (eyeball your size) in the cardboard to make it easier to hold and handle.

Up your wall decor game

If you want to adorn your blank walls with some out-of-the-box decor, don't let your empty cereal boxes go to waste. Carefully open up the folded boxes and remove the sides and flaps. Glue crushed aluminum foil to the flat sides (leftover scrap paper works as well) and paint them the desired color to coordinate them with your walls. Your base is ready. Hang the wall art as is or personalize the foil-covered cardboard with different designs, beads, ice cream sticks, and stickers.

Decorate your mirror

A mirror is one of the most important accessories in a room. So why not make these reflective surfaces a focal point? Trace the shape of your mirror on an empty cereal box to get an estimate of the size. Take a ruler and draw a perimeter around the markings prior to cutting it out. Glue the mirror to the cardboard base and adorn the blank edges with beads, stones, craft paper, or flowers. Alternatively, cover the cardboard base in scrap paper for a minimalist look.

Make your seed starter box

An empty cereal box isn't just useful for decorating the house. It can also be used to start seeds. Cut out the top of the box and line its insides with old newspaper. Fill ⅔ of the compartment with compost (or soil), make some grooves for your seeds, and plant them in. Your seed starter box is ready! Personalize the boxes with some paint (prior to adding the compost), and if you have trouble remembering the names of the seeds, write out the name of the plant on the box with a marker.

Keep your desk organized with a caddy

On their own, a few important files, loose papers, books, bills, and mail don't look like they could create much of a mess. However, bring them together, and you'll have to spend considerable time and effort digging through them to locate the item you're looking for. That being said, you can make a desk caddy with a few empty cereal boxes. Grab a few boxes, cut their tops off diagonally (reducing their height as you go), glue them together (in ascending or descending order), and decorate them with craft paper and washi tape.

Build your gift boxes

Finding a suitable box for your gifts, especially the DIY ones, can be a little challenging. Luckily, you can build your own gift boxes using cereal empties. Carefully open up the boxes. Next, fold them back up inside out and glue the edges together. Depending on the size and nature of your gift, keep the top or side flaps open till you put the gift item inside. Tie ribbons on top to give your simple gift box some pizzazz.

Fashion a flower vase

Fashion a life-like 3D vase to house your artificial flowers using an empty cereal box. Flatten out the folded cardboard and draw the desired shape of the vessel on top. Cut out the shapes and attach them back-to-back to create some volume and give the illusion of a 3D design. Conceal the cereal box with some primer and paint. Otherwise, use paper towels (or egg carton leftovers) to give the vases some texture. Add a coat of paint and a few decor elements to beautify the simple vase.

Puzzles don't always come in a box

Whoever said you need a thousand-piece puzzle to keep your mind busy didn't have an empty cereal box on hand. To create your 2D puzzle, get your trusty scissors and remove the flaps and sides of the box. Once done, draw the desired shapes at the back of the cardboard box and cut them. Otherwise, trim the flat surface randomly. Ta-da! Your homemade puzzle is ready! Store the pieces in a ziplock bag and bring them out when needed. To up the challenge quotient, mix up the front and back pieces of the cardboard or two different boxes together.