Don’t Just Recycle, Reuse Your Shutterfly Packages

Seeing that orange package arrive in front of your door always brings such a thrill. What beautiful memory will you peel back the cardboard edges to see? Your kiddos first day of school (from home) picture? A custom photo book filled with snapshots from your last vacation? Or maybe just the last time you left your house? Maybe a mug with a smiling dog or cat? No matter what it is, the feeling is usually the same. Until you have to figure out what to do with the cardboard and plastic that was used to keep your precious memory safe on the journey to your mailbox.

Creative Ways To Reuse Your Shutterfly Packages

Creative Ways To Reuse Your Shutterfly Packages

More than ever, people are thinking about how their actions impact the world around them. And here at Shutterfly, we want to help give you some ideas. Recycling is great, but if we can get one or ten more uses out of that box or mailer before it ends up in the green bin with the arrows, that’s even better! Here are some ways you can reuse your packaging.

Make a DIY Picnic Basket

Use your most recent box from the mail and one of the last few summer days, to pack up a little picnic and get some fresh air. Maybe there’s a special occasion coming up and a picnic getaway would be the perfect way to celebrate safely this year. Check out these step by step instructions for making your own picnic basket by wrapping the box in cloth and adding a few cute details.

Decorate your picnic box with some prints from Shutterfly. Now you’re sharing life’s joy sustainably. What could feel better than making a memory, while looking at old memories, knowing your helping keep our planet clean for the many memories still to come. Pack a green picnic to really top it off! Instead of bringing paper plates and plastic cups, try to go for reusable dishware like these wine tumblers, plates and bowls. If you’re really hoping to ditch the dishes, try biodegradable cutlery. Pick snacks and foods that aren’t packaged, like apples and fresh breads.

Create Epic Cardboard Forts

family building cardboard forts together
Have kids? Have a box? Well congratulations, because now you’ve got the most fun rainy day ever. Turn your most recent Shutterfly delivery into a home for toys and tiny creatures. Let your little ones in on the fun by letting them decorate their very own cardboard box fort, cardboard dollhouse, and so much more. Big boxes make great spaceships, school buses, and trains. Turn a medium-sized box into a dollhouse or play kitchen appliances. You can even build a pet bed out of packaging boxes by adding blankets and pillows.

All you need is a little glue, leftover wrapping paper, crayons or markers, and your imagination. Maybe frame a few photo prints with the scraps from the mailer they arrived in. You can even incorporate some other repurposed items such as bottle caps and lids as dishes, fabric scraps as tables clothes and bedding, and plastic wrap and packaging for the windows.

Zero Waste Shipping

It is so exciting when a package arrives, that it’s hard not to rip right into it. But if you can be patient and open the mailers and packages carefully, you can actually reuse them to send your next parcel. Usually, if you order prints and pictures, they’ll show up in little orange mailers. These are 100% recyclable, but you can go green by reusing them a few times before sending them off to be recycled. Remember your three R’s. Reduce and Reuse first and then Recycle. With these mailers, you could do all three.

All you need to do is cover up the original shipping label with the next destination and add a few stamps (just stop by your post office to get it weighed so you’re using the right amount). Here are some helpful hints to make sure it makes it to the right place safe and sound. If you want to get fancy, you can decorate your mailer with paint, markers, stamps and stickers. Just make sure both addresses are clear and easy to see, and you have the correct postage. Off you go!

Turn Boxes Into DIY Gift Tags

reusing cardboard to use as gift tags
Tis the season for lots of shopping for the best personalized gifts, and almost everything comes in a box or with cardboard inserts. If you don’t want to step foot into another store to pick some gift tags, this is your opportunity to recycle some of those boxes into DIY gift tags. All you need is a few small boxes, some acrylic gauche, and lots of creativity. Here’s a few tips and things you might need to make your own DIY holiday gift tags:


  • Cardboard- on the thinner side will be easier to cut
  • Scissors or cutting board
  • Ribbon or Twine
  • Paint or markers
  • Hole punch

Make It

  1. Trim your cardboard into as many rectangles as you can. 2” wide and 3” long is a good starting point Mine are various sizes because variety is fun.
  2. After you have your rectangles made, trim off the top two corners, be careful not to trim them too much, you’ll want the middle of the tag to remain straight.
  3. Punch a hole in the middle of the two corners about 1/8” down from the top of the tag.
  4. Get out your paint or markers and add your festive flair. I left enough room on each tag to right names, but you can always paint or draw on the entire front and save the back for names.
  5. Cut your ribbon or twine into 10” pieces and then loop them through the holes leaving the ends untied so you can secure them to your gift bags or gifts.
  6. And that’s it, it’s that easy! Save those boxes and make some tags.

Garden Bed Starter

Did you know you can use old cardboard to control weeds in your yard? Soak your cardboard so it lies flat, place it a few inches under the soil in a weedy area, and cover it with dirt. The wet cardboard smothers the weeds and feeds the soil with the broken down weeds and cardboard. This form of mulching, known as sheet mulching, also traps the moisture in the soil, helping you conserve water in the process.

Full of carbon and not contaminated by many other chemicals, generic corrugated cardboard can serve many purposes for a garden. It creates a great starter for new beds, helps reduce weeds, and can help protect weak or young plants from the elements, among many other uses.

Make Your Own Wall Art

diy cardboard crafts
There are all types of wall art you can make with cardboard boxes. You can cut out geometric shapes and make a statement piece, you can make shadowboxes, you can even make abstract art using pieces of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Make the letter garland you see at a graduation, birthday, and any other type of party. You only need a few materials to make your word garland, and as a bonus, you can make it say whatever you want. Add sequins or glitter for a stand, out, and eye-catching design. There is no limit to what you can do once you unleash your creativity.

Wrapping Up

Whatever way you choose to reuse and repurpose old cardboard boxes, you will be helping the environment, stretching your creative muscle, and even saving money. Thinking and acting sustainably can be easy — and every little bit makes a difference. Here are some more achievable ideas for getting environmentally-conscious in your day-to-day life!