10 Creative Ways to Use Cardboard Trays

Cardboard trays are often overlooked as mere packaging materials, but they can be incredibly versatile and useful beyond their initial purpose. With a bit of creativity, you can transform these humble trays into practical and aesthetic solutions for various needs. Here are ten creative ways to make the most out of cardboard trays:

1. Organise Your Workspace

Utilise cardboard trays to declutter your desk or workspace. Sort stationery items such as pens, pencils, paper clips, and sticky notes into separate compartments within the tray. This not only keeps your essentials organised but also adds a touch of eco-friendliness to your workspace.

2. Seed Starter Trays

Cardboard trays are biodegradable and make excellent containers for starting seeds. Fill the compartments with potting soil and plant your seeds. Once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, simply tear away the cardboard and plant them directly into the soil.

3. Jewelry Organiser

Convert a cardboard tray into a stylish jewelry organiser by lining the compartments with velvet or decorative paper. Use each section to store rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, keeping them tangle-free and easily accessible.

4. Snack Server

Next time you host a gathering or movie night, repurpose cardboard trays as snack servers. Arrange an assortment of snacks such as chips, nuts, and candies in the compartments for guests to enjoy. The trays are lightweight and disposable, making cleanup a breeze.

5. Drawer Dividers

Customise cardboard trays to fit inside drawers and create compartments for organising socks, underwear, or accessories. Cut the trays to the desired size and arrange them within the drawer to keep items neatly separated and easily visible.

6. Paint Palette

Artists can use cardboard trays as makeshift paint palettes. Pour different colors of paint into the compartments, allowing for easy access while painting. Once finished, the trays can be disposed of or recycled, minimising cleanup time.

7. Herb Garden Starter Kit

Get creative with cardboard trays by turning them into miniature herb gardens. Fill each compartment with potting soil and plant herb seeds such as basil, parsley, or mint. Place the trays near a sunny window and watch your herbs flourish.

8. Drawer Organiser for Tools

Keep your workshop or garage organised by using cardboard trays as drawer organisers for tools and hardware. Sort screws, nails, bolts, and other small items into separate compartments, making it easier to find what you need when working on projects.

9. Gift Basket

Elevate your gift-giving game by using cardboard trays as the base for DIY gift baskets. Fill the compartments with an assortment of goodies such as chocolates, candles, bath products, or gourmet snacks. Wrap the tray in decorative cellophane and tie it off with a ribbon for a personalised touch.

10. Plant Protector

Protect delicate plants from harsh weather conditions by repurposing cardboard trays as plant covers. Simply place the tray over the plant to shield it from frost or excessive sunlight. The trays can also help retain moisture in the soil, promoting healthier growth.


Cardboard trays offer endless possibilities for creative reuse beyond their original purpose. Whether you’re organising your space, starting a garden, or crafting homemade gifts, these versatile trays are a sustainable and budget-friendly solution. So before you toss them into the recycling bin, consider how you can give them a second life with these innovative ideas.