Guest Box

I will be attending a celebration sometime soon.

I’ve been asked to provide a guest book that is intended for people, not just to sign, but to write notes in. It makes perfect sense that I was asked to do this, but I didn’t want to make a book that would end up being mostly empty pages. I also considered that only one person can write in a book at a time.

Instead, I made a guest box that I think will work perfectly.

The box is filled with blank 5 inch by 7 inches card, which, with a few exceptions, are mostly, blank pieces of cover weight paper. I will pass out the cards, and leave some at a central spot, along with pens, markers, and colored pencils.

The plan is that people will get an email, in advance, to ask them to think of what they might write to the person we are reveling with. The idea is that the guest of honor will have something from each of us, something that we have had in our hands, that shares whatever we would like to express, and then, which neatly fits in a pretty box, as a way to easily hold and transport a community of love and appreciation.

This is a lightweight box, made of Crane’s Curious Metallics 92lb Cover Gold Leaf Card Stock.

After the box was assembled, I thought it was perhaps too light, so added an extra layer of paper to some parts of the box.

Used magnets and metal washers for the closures. Using washers with the magnets was the idea of a friend, Steven K. My husband’s workshop is like a hardware store, so it was easy to get what I wanted. I chose small, thin, washers that, like the magnets are held in place and mostly hidden by being sandwiched between layers of paper.

Included some decorative elements too.

Used PVA to hold the structural elements of the box together, but used glue sticks when I was adding the extra layers, as I wanted to reduce the amount of moisture that I’d introducing on to the box.

Quite pleased with this project. Will write an update on how it works out.

Update: The box was a great success! I waited to announce it until about half-way into the event, after the initial excitement of getting together had calmed down. After that, whenever I looked around the room I’d see people with cards and writing/drawing tools making marks on paper and pondering notes to the guests of honor. Then today I got the loveliest message from the recipient of all these notes, expressing her thanks at having received this gift.

Box · Curve Folding

Boxes, with Curved and Bi-Stable Folds

square boxes with curved tops
square boxes with curved tops

I have a few books which present curve folding. Tried my hand at some, but it wasn’t until I read Curved Origami by Ekaterina Lukasheva that it started making more sense to me. Good thing, because her tips helped me feel more confident when I tried to make these little boxes that have a curved closure. I’m referring to this particular folded closure as a bi-stable fold because it has two resting positions, like a wall mounted light switch. You know how a light switch has two resting positions that it clicks into? That’s called a bi-stable switch: two stable resting positions. I like folds that do that same double-resting position thing, especially when they seem to click into position.

Two resting positions for the closure fold

Even though other things I read might have had this same information, what Ekaterina Lukasheva’s book impressed upon me the most is the need to create a template for the curved fold, and to score the curves using this template. While she recommends making them from the plastic cover of an old spiral notebook, I also make do with cutting them from thick paper which is not as good, or as sturdy, but it does work.

Here’s a PDF of the template I made for these boxes. It seems to me that, between the photos and the template, that you’d be able to work out how to make the box. Let me know if I’m wrong about this.

Truffle boxes
Praline box from Ed

Now here’s a little backstory on the boxes.

I was visiting with book artist extraordinaire Ed Hutchins. Before I left he handed me two little boxes of pralines, packaged in these adorable little boxes. The candies were lovely, but it was the packaging that enchanted me. In fact, I let my husband have the chocolates because I wanted the boxes to be emptied.

Here’s the large piece of paper that’s printed with a couple of the boxes that I folded up. It was fun to figure out the graphics. If you use my PDF above, use a cover weight paper, and perhaps do your decoration on the back side of the copy, so that the lines are hidden.

I chose to make the floor of the box by folding in the bottom squares, with the triangle flaps sandwiched in-between. This is not the way the boxes that Ed gave to me were folded, but there was a precision to those cuts that I didn’t want to get into. There are many ways of folding in box bottom. If you try out this box, and have a favorite way to make the floor of a box, there’s no reason not to do it however you like.

I loved this little exploration. There are other projects I’m working on, but taking some time to reverse engineer boxes, then play around with some patterns is just the sort of summertime project that suits me just now.

One last detail about the curve folding: Lukasheva recommends cleaning up the curved fold by using a tool or a finger nail, but to not touch the curve with your fingers, as it adds unwanted moisture to the folds. I used the edge of my bone folder to smooth the curves, which worked well, but I have to admit that my fingers kept touching the folds. I guess I need more practice.

Book Art · Box · Zhen Xian Bao

Indigo and Suede, with a Pinwheel Twist Box


This continues my posts about assembling different structures based on the Chinese Thread Book, using different papers. I had thought I was going to be doing the same thing over and over again, with no variations other than using papers with different colors and patterns, but it hasn’t worked out that way.wp-1484682930002.jpg

Here’s where I started using the Stardream Metallic for the cover of the pamphlet on the left. More and more I’m liking how the Stardream paper matches the Chiyogami printed papers.  Notice the style of the little box inside of the pamphlet. After trying out many variations I absolutely loved this little twist box with the pinwheel top.

Pinwheel-top Twist box for Chinese Thread Book, PaulaKrieg
Pinwheel-top Twist box

I think it’s something about the pattern of the Chiyogami paper that made other style box I’ve been making look, well, not so good. Am so pleased to have stumbled upon this way of making the twist box.


Here’s the pinwheel-top box, twisted open.


The second layer rectangular tray is made from a soft handmade paper from India. Underneath the tray is a sleeve made of Stardream paper, which matches the pamphlet.


Big box layer is another handmade paper, but not sure where it was made. I have a stash of this from a place that Elisa Campbell wrote about, Creative Papers, which, sadly, is no longer is business.


The biggest surprise for me was the choice I ended making for the cover of this Thread Book. I tried matching the book with other Chirogami papers, with handmade papers from Dieu Donne and elsewhere. I tried my (faux!) elephant hide paper, and tried matching it with all sorts of cloth.  Then I tried it out with this piece of suede, and it just snapped together. I never thought I use this suede for anything, but it seemed perfect for this project.

I just love how I get to use all these odds and ends of materials!

What’s different, besides the suede, about this particular piece is that it doesn’t suggest a use to me. The first one of this group that I wrote about seems like a valentine waiting to happen, the one after that feels like a gardener’s journal, and the next one I will be writing about feels like a holiday journal. But this one isn’t telling me what it needs to be. Hope someone else can figure it out.

Book Art · Box · origami

Terra Cotta and Green

Variations on Chinese Thread Book
two more Variations on Chinese Thread Book

My thought was that I would make a model based on the Chinese Thread Book, then make variations of said model using different papers. Turns out that using different papers resulted in creating many more questions than I anticipated. My next few posts will be showing how these questions got answered, one Zhen Xian Bao at a time.

Zhen Xian Bzo variation in Terra Cotta and Green
Zhen Xian Bao variation in Terra Cotta and Green

Whereas my previous thread-book-variation has a romantic feel to in, this one feels earthy to me, like it’s meant for keeping track of seeds, gardens, and planting/harvesting info. The green print is Chiyogami paper from The Paper Place, and the solid green on the left is Neeneh Classic Linen Cover, Augusta Green.

Variation of Chinese Thread Book in Green and Terra Cotta, Paula Beardell Krieg
Variation of Chinese Thread Book in Green and Terra Cotta

The pamphlet on the left is constructed with a five-station pamphlet stitch using waxed linen thread. The book block is Mohawk Superfine. The second tier box on the right is machine-made paper infused with flower petals.


Both the pamphlet and the rectangular trays fold away to reveal a big rectangular tray as the bottom layer, made with handmade paper from India. You can also see in this photo a sleeve made from Metallic Stardream paper. underneath the second tier try.


Inside the pamphlet is a small envelope that expands into….


…a little box.


Unlike my Indigo, Gold and Red version, I didn’t use the Chiyogami paper for the outside wrapper. I tried out lots of options, but this handmade terra cotta paper purchased long ago from Dieu Donne Papermill was the best choice. I still have just a bit of this paper left, so I can continue using this for a few more wraps, but just a few. It’s hard for me to use up a paper that I may never see again, but I remind myself that I have it so that I can use it.

It takes awhile to assemble these thread books, but what has taken me the longest is to mix and match my papers until I am happy –and I demand to be really happy– with my paper choices. I try to let the papers I start with suggest the rest of the paper choices.  Since this part takes so long, I am trying to make at least two of each paper/color combination, in an attempt to do at least a bit of streamlining.

One surprising discovering is realizing how well Stardream Metallics match the Chirogami. I’ll be showing more of this match in the next post, which, by the way, will feature a thread book that has a suede wrapper.  I didn’t see that coming, but it’s what worked. I feel like I’m just the messenger…