What to Make With a Shoebox

There’s always someone at home who needs a new pair of school shoes, or trainers, or football boots, or work shoes, or high heels for party time! But what do you do with the boxes? Most people recycle them but we have some awesome shoebox project ideas. What can you make out of a shoebox? Let’s find out!

14 March 2023

You know how the old saying goes – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! And of course we know you’d recycle your old shoe boxes but before you flatten them, think to yourself ‘what can you make with a shoebox?’

A lot of people keep their shoes in the boxes they came in and that’s perfectly acceptable on the list of shoe box ideas, as is using them for storage or as an organiser for stationery, nail polish or garden seeds, but we’re going to get a little more creative than that!

Read on to discover some cheap and easy shoebox project ideas that kids and adults alike will love to make!

Seven Awesome Shoe Box Ideas

Using shoes boxes (Photo: SDI Productions via Getty Images)

Just a quick word of caution. Some of the shoebox project ideas below require the use of paint, glue, and other things from the toolbox, so please take care and ensure an adult undertakes these tasks. If you’re not sure about anything and you need advice, look online or ask in your local craft or hobby shop and they’ll be happy to help. The ideas below are just that, ideas. Feel free to use your creativity and imagination, that’s the fun of making things out of shoeboxes!

Stand-out Shelves

Shoes and boxes on a shelf (Photo; Mint Images via Getty Images)

Shelves are a great answer to the question ‘what can you make out of a shoebox.’ If you’ve got a number of different sized boxes, remove the lids and paint the boxes inside and out to add a real splash of colour and a 3D dimension to a room. Mount them on a wall in an abstract manner and put trinkets or keepsakes or photos or really anything you want into them!

Sign of the Times

Black shoe box (Photo: anmbph via Getty Images)

What to make with a shoebox is one of life’s most popular questions and there’s a number of inspirational answers. One of them is a fun chalkboard, where you can leave messages for each other, let the family know what’s for dinner, create cool word clouds or jot down inspirational quotes. In fact you can write whatever you want! All you need to do is paint the lids black and get some white or coloured chalk.

Room with a View

Shoe box gym (Photo: Westend61 via Getty Images)

One of the most fun and creative answers to the question ‘what to make with a shoebox’ is an entire room in miniature. A doll’s house, cafe, fire station, gym, shop or even a zoo, paint the walls or decorate with wrapping paper and then make all the elements you need using things like cotton reels, modelling clay, toy cars and whatever you have. You’re only limited by your imagination. If you’ve got enough shoeboxes you can make a whole town!

A-maze-ing Fun

Maze in a box (Photo: Cavan Images via Getty Images)

Adults of a certain age will remember small plastic toys where you had to roll a series of tiny metal balls into holes or manoeuvre them around a course to get to the end! Well you can make your own for hours of fun! This is one of the great quick and easy shoe box ideas. On the inside of the lid, create a maze from craft sticks, pipe cleaners or even thin tubes of pasta and add in a marble or two. Fastest from start to finish wins!

A Pizza Cake

Shoebox with toys (Photo: skodonnel via Getty Images)

This is one of the really fun shoebox project ideas for younger kids with adult supervision. Keeping the lid on, cut open around two-thirds of the long side of the box to make a toy oven. On the other third, you can add the dials and even a clock. With an additional piece of cardboard you can make the pizza paddle (known as a peel) and get the kids to make toy pizzas with any and every topping. Of course it’s not limited to pizzas, they can ‘cook’ anything they like!

Lights, Camera, Action

Using a Pinhole camera (Photo: Cyndi Monaghan via Getty Images)

This is one that you will need to get instructions to do – and there are hundreds of online tutorials you can look at – but if you’re asking ‘what can you make out of a shoebox’, the answer is ‘a pinhole camera!’ Actually it’s called a camera obscura and the theory has been around for thousands of years. Essentially it allows you to project still or moving images from your phone onto a wall so you can have movie night without spending money on an expensive projector and screen!

Where in the World…

Photo memories (Photo: ISO3000 via Getty Images)

Shoe box ideas don’t come any more personal and touching than this. We’ve all got treasured holiday photos, so instead of keeping them on your phone or in nondescript frames, cover the inside of shoe box lids with maps of where you were and fix your holiday snaps to the map. You can do the same with wedding photos, new baby photos, new home photos, the list goes on and on and on…!

Where shoebox project ideas are concerned, there’s no limit to what you can do or make, so next time you have some spare boxes lying around, ask yourselves ‘what can you make with a shoebox’ and you’ll definitely find something fun and interesting to do!


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