How to Securely Assemble a Cardboard Box for Shipping

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Wikimedia Commons

When shipping small- or medium-sized items, often the best option is one of the simplest: A traditional cardboard box.

Cardboard boxes come in a variety of sizes and strengths, from inexpensive, single-use shipping boxes to custom-made, reinforced cardboard boxes designed for repeated shipping uses.

Yet, when it comes down to is, most cardboard boxes are similar in shape and design. Essentially, they are a single piece of cardboard that has been glued together so that it can be collapsed flat for easy storage when not in use.

Assembling a Cardboard Box

So once you know how to put together one cardboard box, you pretty much can assemble any sized box, regardless of how big it is or what it will be used for.

The first thing to do is to open the box. If it is lying flat, separate the pieces your hands so that there is a top and a bottom. Both will be open at this point.

Next, you want to fold the four tabs on the bottom of the box into each other. Start with one panel — it doesn’t matter which one — and fold it down. Then fold the one directly to the right of it and fold it down, followed by the third.

Then take the fourth panel and fold it under the right side of the first panel. This will create a semi-firm base for the bottom of your cardboard box.

Reinforcing the Bottom

At this point, even though the four panels on the bottom of the box are intertwined, they won’t provide enough support for you to securely load items into the box. Instead, you want to reinforce the bottom with packing tape.

Turn the box over so the folded bottom is facing up towards you. Then use a packing tape dispenser or a loose roll of mailing tape and place a long strip over both bottom seams. Make sure the length of tape is long enough so that it overshoots the box’s bottom and can adhere to the sides of the box for extra support.

If you need to put multiple strips of packing tape on the bottom of the box, go ahead.

Loading the Cardboard Box

Once the bottom of the cardboard box has been adequately secured, it’s time to load the box with the items you want to ship.

Make sure you don’t overload the box with too many items, or exceed the rated weight capacity of the box. This should be listed on the bottom of the box as well as on the packaging materials it came in.

To prevent the items from moving or shifting during shipment, you will want to pack the box with something to keep your items in shape. This can be packing peanuts, inflatable plastic bags, or just rolled up newspaper.

Then all you need to do is to fold and secure the top of the box the same way you secured the bottom and your box is ready to be shipped!