How to Make a Paper Gift Boxcomments (19) May 11th, 2009
We've all seen it at one time or another: a child opens a beautifully wrapped gift and ends up playing with the box and the wrapping much more than the toy it contained. I never outgrew this particular childhood propensity but have, instead, brought with me into adulthood my love of boxes, containers, vessels, cartons, and crates. While I have a bookshelf full of reference materials containing packaging designs and patterns, my very favorite box of all time and the one I use with the greatest frequency when making boxes to give gifts in, boxes to keep tools in, boxes to hold photographs (yes, I still keep my photos in boxes-but such pretty boxes!) is this pattern, drawn from a small party-favor box I found in the trash outside of Grand Central Terminal.
Setting aside for a moment the fact that I was Dumpster-diving outside of Grand Central Terminal, I quickly fell in love with the design and am delighted to be able to share it with you all here. The pattern itself is quite simple, so don't be intimidated by the look of it: The bottom of the box is a single sheet of stock, cleverly folded with four pleats to form a container. The top is a lesson in elegant and efficient design-a simple matter of four sides folded over four flaps to interlock the whole piece in place.
This project is actually a prototype for a client who is exploring possible packaging for a line of candles they hope to manufacture. My suggestion to the client was a wonderful woodgrain design I found at Hambly Screen Prints. They offer an exciting range of woodgrain colors (white! green! blue!) in addition to a more traditional wood-toned palette. They even offer a woodgrain pattern screened onto sheets of transparent plastic, which I put to use as a simple but charming mini-hurricane shade for a votive candle. If, as they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery, these great papers (familiar to the world of scrapbookers, I'm sure, but relatively new to me) are a grand tip-of-the-hat to Mother Nature.
One note of caution before applying this pattern template to your own project. The illustrations for the top and the bottom of the box are drawn on a 1-inch grid to help give you a sense of how the various components (sides, top, bottom, flaps, etc.) are proportioned and the manner in which they fit together. You can alter these proportions to suit your needs. However, REMEMBER to always make one adjustment that is NOT reflected in the patterns: in order for your top to fit squarely on your bottom, you need about 1/4 inch difference in size between the two pieces. In other words, the bottom of the box needs to be just a tiny bit smaller than the top for them to fit together properly. Don't fret; this can actually be accomplished when you score your template (before folding it). For example, when scoring the template for the bottom of the box, I usually score along the INSIDE edge of the lines. When scoring the template for the top of the box, I usually score along the OUTSIDE edges of the lines. When foldered together, these small adjustments are just enough to ensure that the two components fit together snugly but not too tightly.
Hambly has tons more papers (in some really unusual and very hip patterns), so check them out when you have a chance.
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