6 Creative uses for old newspaper boxes

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If the response to this photo from The Big Picture is any indication, old newspaper boxes are a sign of the demise of newspapers, a sort of coffin for the medium. Inspired by the announcement that the Seattle P-I’s newsracks were on sale, here are some creative ways to transform the antiquated metal boxes.


If you think this photo of a news box turned into a grill is ‘shopped you’re wrong. Custom grill maker Steve Barker’s handiwork is highlighted in an issue of Make magazine and the creative cooker even comes with a propane tank attached to the back. If you need something a little more low tech, take a cue from this hollowed out video drop box-turned-oven spotted in Liberia.

Digital Newsstand

Scott Walker was on to something when he rigged an old newspaper box to deliver headlines digitally. The Alabama editor outfitted the box with a 17-inch monitor and rigged it to display headlines from The Birmingham News. Pretty cool huh?

Book Exchange

Newspaper boxes have long been used as a way to distribute information, albeit for a small fee. Some clever neighborhoods have transformed local news boxes into a place to share books or ideas, no quarters necessary. Community book exchanges (covered here and here) are a low involvement way to unite a neighborhood around an old metal box.


You’ll have the most unique fish tank on the block if you encase your little floaters in a repurposed newsstand. The window makes for great viewing and the coin slot makes for a convenient feeder/air hole.

Case Mod

The digital newsstand is pretty cool, but you won’t get much else out of it. Take a cue from Shaun McKinney and just put the whole computer network in the box. McKinney transformed the newspaper box into an awesome case mod, transforming it into a “Lan Party in a Box.”


Homer Simpson may just have discovered a new use for the newspaper box when he accidentally trapped little Maggie inside one. The space is just right for a small child to hang out or take a quick nap and the plastic door would keep them out of trouble (Kidding, of course. No angry emails please).

For even more creative or downright wacky suggestions for old news boxes, check out the comments in this article by the P-I’s @moniguzman.

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