Innovation Unboxed

Kara Whitten

DIY home design artist and entrepreneur, Kara Whitten, appreciates the enduring functionality of paper packaging. Here, in her home office of Kailo Chic, see how she’s stylishly up-cycled sturdy, everyday cardboard and paper products to keep her home office organized.

Cardboard Paint Tower

Tiered Crafts Caddy

As a maker, Kara has no shortage of craft supplies in her office. One item that she uses daily is acrylic craft paint. Instead of just having it perched on a shelf, she created this triangle paint organizer to make it easier to see each color. While not everyone has a massive paint collection like she does, this organizer is also perfect for home office supplies like pens and markers or personal items like jewelry and hair accessories.

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Hot glue gun

Step 1: Cut cardboard into 26 strips approximately 4” wide by 12” long, then score the strips at 4” and 8”. Fold the strips into a triangle and use a piece of packing tape to secure the seam.

Step 2: Add hot glue to the raw edge of the cardboard triangles, let dry, then paint with acrylic craft paint.

Step 3: Use a hot glue gun to attach the triangles to each other to form the large triangle organizer.

Ribbon Organizer

Ribbon Spool Taming

Kara packages many orders as gifts, and ribbon is always close by, but usually in a tangled mess. This simple organizer helps keep her ribbon tangle free and easy to use by dispensing just the amount. If ribbon organization isn’t a necessity for you, try using this same technique to organize papers, ink, and charging cords.

  • Empty shoe boxes
  • Colored paper
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Precision knife
  • Dowel rod


Step 1: Begin by wrapping the shoe box cover and bottom separately with colored paper and using the glue gun to secure the paper in place. Use the precision knife to cut slits in the side of the shoe box to fit your ribbon width.

Step 2: Cut your dowel rod to fit lengthwise into the shoe box and thread your ribbon spools onto the dowel rod. Use scrap cardboard to create two U shaped pieces and hot glue them to each side of the box with the opening of the U facing up. Slip the dowel rod into the box letting the ends rest in the U-shaped pieces of cardboard on each side.

Step 3: Thread the ribbon ends through the slits in the box and replace the lid.

For a simple organizational box, skip the slits and dowel rod and simply add letter stickers to label the box contents.

Paper Organizer

Style Your Files

Having an organized space makes daily tasks like packing up orders and creating products so much more efficient. In her business alone, she uses label paper, printable paper stickers, and card stock to package and ship all of the Kailo Chic products. That means she needs to keep her papers and folders organized! The simple three tier paper fi ling system was built out of old cereal boxes, decorative scrap book paper, and glue.

  • Empty cereal boxes large enough to hold paper
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Paint brush

Step 1: Cut the cereal boxes at a diagonal on both long sides and straight across each short side.

Step 2: Use a glue stick to attach scrapbook paper to all sides.

Step 3: Cut off any excess scrapbook paper and paint the inside a fun color using acrylic craft paint. Once dry, use them to hold all your important papers.