How to Make a Laptop Bag from Cardboard

Three Methods:Inner LayerOuter ShellHandle Ideas

So you've just received a nice laptop, but you can't afford 40 bucks for a carry case. Maybe your old laptop bag has been shredded, gotten coffee spilled on it, or doesn't fit your new laptop. Good news: you can make an inexpensive temporary replacement from nothing more than a box and some packing tape!


  1. Image titled A nice sized cardboard box.
    Obtain sufficient cardboard. The boxes in which reams of paper are shipped in are the perfect size for a laptop bag..
  2. Image titled Flatten.
    Open the flaps of the box and the lid so that the cardboard lies flat on the ground.

Method 1
Inner Layer

  1. 1
    Find the center line of the lid. You can either fold the lid in half (narrow end to narrow end) or by measuring from each end using a ruler.
    • Mark the center line.
      Image titled line.
  2. 2
    Measure two lines such that one is half an inch (1 cm) away and the other is an inch (2.5 cm) away from your center line.
    • Mark these lines.
  3. Image titled Measure, mark, and score your lines.
    Score all lines with the blunt edge of a ruler or similar object. Scored lines bend easily.
  4. Image titled Scored lines allow the cardboard to bend easily into a "taco" shape.
    Bend the cardboard box along the scored lines.
  5. Image titled Use your laptop as a guide for measurement.
    Lay your laptop on the cardboard so that the scored lines bend around the long edge of your laptop.
  6. 6
    Mark the edges of your laptop on the cardboard and then put away the laptop.
  7. 7
    Score 1/4(0.25) inch (0.5 cm) away from your laptop's outline (on the outer side) and go all the way around.
  8. 8
    Cut the excess cardboard 2 inches(6 cm) away from the scores, so that it forms a wide flap all the way around the laptop's outline.
    • Score all fold lines.
  9. Image titled Narrow wedges
    Cut narrow wedges at each place so that the cardboard can bend.
  10. 10
    Tape the resulting smaller tabs flat against the inside.
  11. Image titled Taco Fold
    Fold the cardboard like a taco.
  12. Image titled Flaps lined up carefully at the top edge.
    Line the flaps very carefully at the top end.
  13. Image titled Tape flaps together at sides.
    Tape the sides together.
  14. Image titled Completed "inner" box view.
    Set this inner layer aside and begin work on the outer shell.
  15. Image titled Another look at the "inner box".
    This is how your inner box must now look like.

Method 2
Outer Shell

  1. 1
    Open up the box base.
  2. Image titled Mark the center line.
    Find the center line of the box base.You can either fold it in half or use a ruler.
  3. Image titled Mark and score five lines... the center, and two on each side of it.
    Mark and score the center line and two lines on either side of it. Each spaced approximately 0.5 inch (1 cm) from each other.There will be five lines, two on either side of the center line.
  4. Image titled Align the "inner" box on the line furthest away from the center line.
    Align the inner shell on the box base. The "grain" should lie perpendicular to the grain of the lid (it's stronger that way) and the bottom edge should line up with the outermost scored lines.
  5. Image titled Transfer the "inner box" dimensions.
    Trace the inner layer's pattern onto the box bottom.
  6. Image titled Mark 1 cm outside the tracing.
    Measure and mark 0.5 inch(1 cm) away from the outline of the inner shell and the go all the way around.
  7. 7
    Add a 3 inch (6 cm) flap to each side of the pattern.
  8. Image titled Cut off excess.
    Cut along the outer lines.
  9. Image titled Score fold lines and cut narrow wedges at bending points.
    Score along the fold lines and cut narrow wedges at the edges of any flaps.
  10. Image titled Tape small flaps down as shown.
    Tape the small flaps down securely.
  11. Image titled Fold like a taco, and tape securely.
    Fold the "outer" cardboard like a taco and tape the short edges securely, leaving the long edge(s) open.
  12. Image titled Slide the first box inside the second one.
    Place the inner layer inside the outer shell.
  13. Image titled Secure the inner box with strips of tape going the entire width of the box.
    Tape the inner box to the inside of the outer box.
  14. Image titled Voila!
    Slide your laptop inside. You can now make the handle.

Method 3
Handle Ideas

  1. Image titled Rope Handle #1 alternate view.
    Image titled Rope Handle #1
    Make a handle using a looped rope. Make a loop using two meters (yards) of rope. Pass the rope ends through holes in the flaps. Tie the loop closed. Use the loop ends as handles.
    Alternative View:
  2. Image titled Rope Handle #2
    Make a handle using a tied loop. Cut the rope a foot long or so (30cm). Pass the ends through holes in the flaps. Tie the ends in a knot.
  3. Image titled Alternate view with "handles" made by sliding the rope through the holes.
    Image titled Make a loop of rope only slightly larger than the case is "around".
    Handle from a single large loop. Make a loop that is only slightly larger than the case. Pass through the holes as shown. Slide loop to open. Slide loop to make "handles".
    Alternative View (Handles made by sliding the rope through holes):
  4. 4
    Make a handle using a Tee Shirt. Sew the hem edge of a large tee-shirt closed. Slide the case in through the neck opening and use the sleeve openings as your handles.
  5. 5
    Make a handle using a Rolled Cardboard. Leave largish flaps of cardboard at the box opening. Roll the flaps to form "scroll like" handles. Tape well.


  • Idea: make the second layer slightly larger than the inner, and place a layer or two of bubble wrap in between the two, including the bottom. This will help to some extent with shock-resistance.
  • Careful measuring and cutting is the key to making this work well. Sloppy work will make a sloppy looking case that will fall apart easily.
  • You may color or decorate the outside of your case in any way you see fit. Duct Tape would make a reasonably sturdy cover if you had a roll of it on hand, but you could also use packing tape to cover it for waterproofing and scuff protection purposes.


  • Scissors are edged tools. Exercise appropriate caution when using them.
  • All cardboard is abrasive, some is VERY abrasive. Particularly to plastic. Unless you want scuff marks on the lid/base, take appropriate steps to prevent rubbing.
  • Cardboard is neither weatherproof nor shockproof.
  • Some people may not take you seriously or think of you as "tacky" (if you are interviewing for a job or your new job's boss). This isn't always the best thing.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard box. The type that copier paper comes in works very nicely.
  • Packing Tape
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil or pen for marking
  • Rope or twine

Article Info

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Categories: Featured Articles | Cardboard Crafts | Laptops