Box · How-to

Have presents, need boxes

Boxes for presents

For me, making boxes feels similar to making books. I like the planning, the precision, and then the surprise of what it looks like when it comes together. And, since I seem to always have  odds and ends of beautiful papers around, making boxes for gifts is a satisfying way to deplete my stockpiles.

This year I combed through the web to find models of boxes that I hadn’t made before.  There seems to be no end to box-making tutorials. There were two styles of boxes that caught my eye. What was harder to find was templates and legible instructions for the ones that I picked out to make.

Boxes made from one sheet of paper
Boxes made from one sheet of paper

Here are the two styles of boxes that I am making this holiday season. The one on the left is an origami box, made from a square paper, no cutting or gluing.  I saw it on lovely website, , which I encourage you to browse through. I copied the instructions from the pages, but the text was all but completely illegible. So I did a bit of cut and paste in Adobe Illustrator, replacing the text but keeping the drawings, and here’s what I came up with:

Gift Box designed independently by Tomoko Fuse in 1995
Gift Box designed independently by Tomoko Fuse in 1995

While searching out this structure I’ve inferred that both Robin Glynn and Tomoko Fuse figured out how to make this, independently of each other. It’s a tricky box to make, and if you haven’t done much origami, I don’t recommend trying this out unless you have a good bit of time on your hands. It’s worth taking a look at this YouTube box tutorial if these illustrated instructions don’t do it for you. Once I got the feel for the folds, it was nothing short of great fun to make.

box red box

This little rounded box originally hailed from a website that has deleted the page that originally posted the template that I looked at. Right now the only place I can find it is on pinterest boards, but these templates are so small that scaling them up creates ragged images. Needless to say I am delighted that I now know how to use my software to make usable templates. Here’s what I came up;

Box with buttonhole closure
Box with buttonhole closure

I debated whether or not to add any directions on to this page, as the image seems to completely suggest the steps to create the box.  I finally decided that words add a reassuring touch, so I wrote them in . I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who makes this to tell me  if they needed the words to accompany the template.

So, that’s it. Now it’s time to turn more of this…papers

…into these.

boxes and barn
Boxes on our snow covered picnic table, near the barn

If folding beautiful containers is appealing to you, here are some other posts which may offer some inspiration:

Happy Holidays!

ADDENDUM!!!!!  (March 1, 2014) I just saw a really lovely variation of the buttonhole closure box at Candy Wooding’s blog, My Paper Arts. She’s improvised on the rounded notches so that they show up as a heart.  Go to to see her photos of the box. She’s embedded this link in her post, which will bring up the template she’s created. Enjoy!

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