How to Make a Briefcase Out of Cardboard

By Barb Barker ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Easy-fold mailing box
  • Brown packaging paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Brown craft paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Paper towel or rag
  • 2 large buttons
  • 4 small buttons
  • Large needle
  • Nylon thread
  • Thin elastic hair band
  • 2 large, elastic hair bands
You can carry paperwork in your new briefcase without it getting wrinkled.

Finding the appropriate briefcase for an affordable price makes for an almost impossible task. If your position does not require a top-notch product, an inexpensive briefcase will suit your needs perfectly. You can create your own with just a few simple items and a small portion of your time. Putting together recycled items for your briefcase will keep your costs in check, while creating a handsome leather look.

Fold the easy-fold box so it resembles a briefcase with a flap.

Lay the box on top of the paper and cut the paper large enough to cover the outside of the box. Wad the paper into a ball. Pull the paper back out and wad it again. Continue this until the paper has softened and looks similar to leather. Flatten and smooth the paper by hand.

Put glue on the back of the box, and press it onto the center of the paper. Put glue on the sides of the box, leaving the top and the bottom of the box open. Fold the paper up onto the glued sides. Cut the paper along the edges of the side panels, leaving the rest of the paper attached.

Fold the bottom portion of the box into place. Glue this portion. Fold the paper up over this glued portion and press into place. Unfold this portion of the box. Trim the paper, leaving 1 inch around the bottom portion of the box. Glue the inside of the box around the edges. Fold the paper up and over the edges and press into place.

Glue the bottom half of the front of the side panels to secure the bottom portion into place. Fold the covered bottom panel up and press into place.

Fold the top flap portion of the box into place. Glue this portion on the outside of the box. Fold the paper up over this glued portion and press into place. Unfold this portion the box showing the inside of the box. Trim the paper leaving 1 inch around the top flap portion of the box. Glue around the inside edge of the box. Fold the paper up over the edges and press into place. Cut a piece of paper to fit inside of this top flap. Glue the inside of the top flap and press the paper into place.

Mix the some brown paint with a few drops of water. Brush the paint on the paper covered box with one hand. Wipe the paint off with a towel using the other hand. Continue this until the paper looks like weathered leather.

Pierce a hole into the center of the box top flap 1 inch from the edge with the threaded needle. Pull the thread through to the front and one large button. Sew down through the large button, the hole in the box and into one small button on the inside of the box. Continue sewing through all pieces until securing the top button. Bring the thread to the inside of the box and knot. Cut thread off.

Pierce a hole into the center of the box bottom portion 1 inch from the edge with the threaded needle. Pull the thread through to the front and sew the buttons in place in the same manner as the top portion.

Place the thin elastic band around the top button and tie a knot to secure around the button. Place the band around the bottom button to close the briefcase.

Lay the two thick hair ties end to end and pull the end of each through the loop of the other locking then together. Find the top center of the box from the inside of the lid. Measure out 2 inches in either direction and mark these places.

Pierce the box top with the threaded needle up through the top of the box. Lay one end of the double hair tie handle over the hole and wrap the thread around the hair tie. Push the needle back down through the box and into one of the small buttons. Continue sewing through the button, the box and around the hair band until secured into place. Bring the thread to the inside and tie a knot. Cut the thread. Repeat this same process the other side until secured into place.

About the Author

From her home located in the rolling foothills of Southern Ohio, Barb Barker is putting her skills to good use as a freelance writer. Her expertise is in the arts and crafts field with a lifetime of experience. Barker has an Associate of Arts in business management.