How are cardboard boxes made?

Find out with Sir Sidney McSprocket!

Sir Sidney McSprocket’s been in action capturing facts – all about manufacturing!

Today he’s finding out all about cardboard boxes!

Paper and card aren’t thought of as particularly strong materials – but cardboard boxes are made to be strong enough to hold even very heavy items like fridges and sofas – so what’s the secret?

Let’s find out how cardboard boxes are made!

Partially recycled paper is often used to make cardboard…

It isn’t just better for the environment, it’s also softer and easier to shape.

The paper arrives in large rolls, and is feed through two ridged rollers – something that’s called a corrugator.

This makes the paper into a zigzag shape – and it’s this shape which gives cardboard its strength.

You can try it for yourself – a folded piece of paper stood on its end can support a much heavier item than you might think.

The corrugated paper is sprayed with a glue made from water and starch – a very plain combination which won’t be harmful to anything that’s inside the box.

Flat paper is stuck on either side of the corrugated section – sometimes more than one layer.

This makes the cardboard which will be tough enough to support the boxes contents.

It might go through a printing press too – adding an attractive design or information about the contents.

Finally the box is trimmed and folded into shape. Glue or staples can be applied to sections to increase the strength. And there you have it!

And mind, cardboard boxes aren’t just useful – they’re lots of fun to play with!

You could paint them and turn them into a spaceship or a house! The possibilities are endless!

Sidney McSprocket is Fun Kids’ resident inventor!

When he’s not in Edinburgh, tinkering with wacky contraptions in his workshop, he’s finding out all about manufacturing!

In the latest series, Sidney is finding out about a whole load of everyday objects from tin cans and toothbrushes to plastic bottles and Pyrex…

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Sidney McSprocket’s How’s it Made, with support from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851.

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