How to Make a DIY Upcycled Bookend Vase From an Old Cereal Box

This trendy DIY upcycled bookend vase looks like clay, but it’s actually made of cardboard! Transform an old cereal box to give your bookshelf a boho-chic look for cheap.

January 25, 2022
Completed DIY Upcycled Bookend Vase

Put it on your bookshelf

You’re all done! Style it with neutral colored books for a boho look for cheap.

Photo by: Karen Kavett

Karen Kavett

Show off your beautiful faux flower bouquet in a unique, functional new way. With this step-by-step guide, HGTV Handmade's Karen Kavett shows you how to turn an old cereal box into a one-of-a-kind DIY upcycled bookend vase.

DIY Bookend Vase 09:53

Karen Kavett turns an empty cereal box into a trendy-looking bookend vase.

Materials + Supplies

  • saw
  • cutting board
  • paint
  • paintbrush
  • baking powder
  • rocks
  • faux flowers

Turn Your Cereal Box Inside Out

Grab an old cereal box (Image 1). Cut off the top tabs from your box and carefully open it up (Image 2). Glue it back together so it is inside out (Image 3).

Trace Your Pattern

Print out the pattern and cut it out (Image 1). Trace it onto the front of the box (Image 2), and then flip it over and trace it onto the back of the box (Image 3).

Cut Out Your Design

Cut the shape out from the front and back of the box (Image 1), leaving the sides of the box intact and with tabs on either side (Image 2 + 3).

Make Smaller Tabs

Cut lines horizontally into the tabs that are about 1/2 centimeter to 1 centimeter apart, depending on the size of your cereal box (Image 1). This will allow the sides to be flexible so they can bend along the curves of the vase shape (Image 2 + 3).

Glue the Lower Side

Glue the sides in place with the tabs inside, following the curve of the vase (Image 1 + 2). Start with the lower side and cut off any excess (Image 3).

Glue the Upper Side

If needed, glue the excess cardboard from the previous step to the other side to extend it (Image 1 + 2). Glue that side in place the same way as the previous one (Image 3 + 4).

Make the Top Piece of Your DIY Vase

Grab a piece of cardboard from another food container. Trace the opening of the vase. Cut out a rectangle outline with tabs on all four sides, using a craft knife to score the tabs so they fold down easily (Image 1). Hot glue this inside the vase opening (Image 2).

Sand the Edges

Go over all of the edges with sandpaper to smooth them down.

Sand the Edges of Your DIY Upcycled Bookend Vase

Sand edges

Go over all of the edges with sandpaper to smooth them down.

Photo by: Karen Kavett

Karen Kavett

Add Handles

Use small wooden rings as handles (Image 1). Use a saw to cut them down into an arc (Image 2), and then sand the ends until the angles lay flush against the curves of the vase (Image 3 + 4). Hot glue them in place (Image 5 + 6).

Paint Your Upcycled Vase

To really make it look like ceramic, add a small spoonful of baking powder to your paint (Image 1) and mix them together, which will make the paint fully matte and a little bit textured (Image 2). Be sure to paint inside the top of the vase with a small paintbrush as well (Image 3). Add two coats of paint over the entire vase (Image 4). Let dry completely (Image 5 + 6).

Fill the Bottom With Rocks

Fill the bottom of the vase with small rocks or any other heavy, small items so it doesn’t tip over (Image 1). Add faux flowers to finish it up (Image 2).

Put Your Finished DIY Upcycled Bookend Vase on the Shelf

You’re all done! Style it with neutral-colored books for a boho look for cheap.

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