making BOXES & ENVELOPES, etc.

BUY boxes

...sometimes around Christmas, you'll see inexpensive, rigid pasteboard boxes with separate lids being sold at drugstores or places like Target, etc.... Costco had a great selection of nested boxes this year... from about 4x4 up to 12x12" or so....12 for $10??
... boxes of various types can sometimes be purchased at packaging and shipping stores (esp. the larger ones)... they have various sizes and kinds... they may only have smaller sizes of the separate-lid ones though
You can get (shoe boxes only?) free at shoe stores. Get the ones that have flip open tops like Nike, reeboks, FuBu, etc- Just go ask- They are usually more than happy to give them away- they just go in the trash. They are also great for holding craft supplies- cover with some nice paper...Luv2CUSmile

online:.....fold-up gift boxes in bulk
... white finish or "kraftboard".... 10-18˘ for 3x3x2 to 4x4x2"...

....Sweet Celebrations...look in last few pages of "catalog" for folding and stiff boxes-

(see more possibilities in Supply Sources > Containers, boxes, etc.??)

MAKE boxes

Heavier-weight "boards" for boxes

Bristol – not really a board at all, but in fact a multi ply paper (drawing paper that is pasted together to form multi-ply sheets)... pencil drawing, watercolor, etc.
Poster Board – a thin, multi-ply board, made from raw pulp with colorant added (typically used for school art projects and children’s art)

illustration board – 100% cotton drawing paper mounted on both sides of heavyweight board (board keeps surface flat) available in several thicknesses and pencil, watercolor.
pasteboard popular use, a term often applied to any stiff board or cardboard of medium thickness ... made by pasting together layers of paper)
... originally meant boards formed by laminating or pasting together a number of sheets of waste paper. In bookbinding, usually encased in a fabric or leather to make a book cover ... or used to make rigid boxes
mat board – primarily used for creating mats on framed art (sometimes also used for pencil, charcoal and pastel due to its rigidity and interesting surface texture.
foam board, or foamcore– a foam layer between two outer rigid layers

binder's board... book board...binding board... strong, acid-free board ...grain runs long
...some types: standard ... Davey ...conservation
...for most bookbinding and box making needs, use .082 (approx. - 3/32")
...smaller books use .067. to .074.
...for larger boxes and large photo albums .098 (approximately 1/8" in thickness)
....... .123 Davey board ...3/16" for largest books & boxes

"cardboard" .... generally refers to any stiff, moderately thick paperboard and as a generic term characteristic of folding carton board, chipboard, corrugated board and fibreboard.
largely consisting of acontinuous web of fibers, generally of vegetable origin ... generally produced from higher quality materials than is paperboard

millboard: solid paperboard (unlike corrugated board)

corrugated cardboard is made of corrugated paperboard ... it comes in several layers... most often a sandwich made up of a layer of brown paper on each side, enclosing a "fluted" paper layer inside..... this creates a lot of strength (crosswise)...other sandwiches are single face, single wall (aka double face), double wall, and tri wall

lessons on making a rigid box:

...measure and cut binding board pieces for bottom and lid....cut with utility knife, and cut as much as possible? with the grain ...on top of a non-porous surface (so glue won't stick), place the sides, front, and back to the base and to each other...gluing edges with PVA glue... use masking tape to hold everything in place while drying ...sand excess glue and edges (use dust mask if desired) --visible edges first, then remove masking tape and sand those edges

foamboard (bottom is cut into plus-shape template, then folded up by cutting through just to one paper side of the board... lid is separate cut pieces ... PVA glue, held in place with rubber bands... these are then covered with papier mache) make box heavier, cut about three squares of mat board and glue them into the bottom.

mat board ...folded (lesson on making a divider "tray" for interior of wood box ... covered with batting and fabric)
... dividers: in Figure N, she shows how to fold the center area of a strip of mat board in two places to create a vertical fold, leaving some of the strip horizontal on both sides as a base,2025,DIY_13747_2268288,00.html (bottom half of page)

wall paneling with interior wood frame (1/2" sq. pine stock)
...for paneling, check Home Depot, etc. and get a
multi-ply, medium weight one... a
4x8 sheet = $15.00 and makes over a dozen boxes (fiber board, compressed board, luan, or particle board won't work as well)

BOOK: "Making Memory Boxes: Box Projects to Make, Give, and Keep" by Barbara Mauriello..... uses Davey board for rigidity ...binder's board in 60, 80 or 100 wiehgt (light, med, heavy)... which is less likely to bend than rag boards (such as mat board and museum board)
tips: Whatever you do to one side of a board, do to the other (re moisture in glue, etc.) ... apply paste to paper, not board) but use paste only with paper, not board...
...she uses PVA glue (synthetic "glue") but usually thins it with some amount of methyl cellulose to make it easier to spread and to retard drying time

Lighter-weight lighter weight boxes, bags

PAPER & CARDSTOCK ....can just use paper & cardstock of various types (or preprinted paper/cardstock)
...plain, scrapbooking, colored, origami, gift-wrap, painted, stamped, watercolor, Christmas cards, wallpaper, magazines, etc. (some "printables" come with the images already on the patterns to be cut out and folded)
...or 2 pieces of paper glued together (let dry few minutes before folding)...etc.

CLAY or FABRIC? ...can use clay or stiffened fabric to make the boxes, bags/etc instead of paper or cardstock
.......OR can cover the completed cardstock boxes with clay, etc
...fabric could be first embedded with liquid clay or translucent clay or white glue (baked) to stiffen it..see Mixing Media > Fabric (joining)
......or fabric coudl be bonded to paper

blank templates

many boxes cards, CD label, paperdoll, etc. (Ruth Ann's)
various boxes... also envelopes, special folded cards, money envelopes, etc; holiday theme things (PaperZone)
Templates by Donovan (bazillions of things to create by folding and/or cutting paper and cardstock) (site was messed up, but may be rebuilt) ... look for a "Templates" page

Aunt Annie's Crafts' for making many kinds of boxes and bags (most not free, but illustrations good for box shapes, definitions)

Marlies' very cool flap-over boxes made with an empty cardstock video box, some cardboard & covered with contact paper or fabric (she cuts the cardboard into 3 pieces --2 sides a bit larger than side of video box plus spine, separates them a bit and tapes separated front and back; covers with fabric or contact paper... then she covers the video box with the same or diff, and glues it inside the cardboard cover)

I go to wall-paper/paint places (Lowe's, Sherman Williams, etc...) and ask for the sample books they're going to throw away. I make boxes out of complimentary wall paper, then stuff them with cotton quilt batting I've cut down to size...

I gleaned all of my templates, believe it or not, from the miniaturists!! They have oodles of templates out there called "printies" they use for dollhouses. But - I print them out full size to get the design and then fold them to custom fit the item(s)
If you want a functional as well as decorative box, see if you have any old gift bags stashed away. You can also get poster paper and fold that after decorating, if you're inclined to stamping or whatever (crushed tissue paper glued to the outside and glittered is very pretty and elegant).
You can take 2 sheets of wallpaper and glue them together back to back and then trace and fold your boxes. That should prolly give you a good strong box.
You could also cut up some boxes and use them as inserts to fortify one or two walls of the wallpaper box
When you're folding boxes, the templates have solid and dashed lines. You "score" along the dashed lines while you're cut out is still flat on your work surface. I press pretty hard and use a paper embossing tool to score with as I run it down the straight edge of a ruler, but the edge of a spoon works quite well, too. What you're doing is "prebending" the paper along the dashed lines so it folds easier. So whatever tool you score with, you want it to be blunt and something that will leave a groove in the paper without tearing it. Sunni

(.....see Covering for more lessons on covering papier mache or other boxes)
...~lamb's lesson on covering a ginger-shaped box with polymer clay, then removing paper/cardstock (suggested by Alisa)
There are other, very differently shaped box patterns at Inkastamp's website (>site index >boxes) as well, in addition to the "ginger box" used for this particular project. They should all be coverable!
(The direct link to the ginger box pattern is:; their other fancy box patterns at:
... And BTW, it's quite ingenious to use pinking shears to cut the joining outlines so that there are lots of little tabs to put glue on; maybe that's something box makers have been doing for a long time, but I didn't know about it.

"falling down" box (Carol Duvall's lesson on making a (double) one. . . hers is a sewing kit)
...."when you lift the top off of the box, the sides fall down. Inside are a number of sewing needs, like needles, pins, safety pins, thread, small scissors, etc.",1789,HGTV_3352_1399574,00.html

open-type "gift" bag ....(made sort of like wrapping a gift)
...fold over one edge of stiff paper (which will be the top) to create a nice finished edge (or do this last)
...wrap paper around the body of box (cereal box, or any size), and tape closed with double-stick tape (carpet tape is strong)
..."wrap" one end only to close it ... then slide paper off box at the other end
...can punch 2 holes to add cording to tie, or add bow or dangling embellishments
...(could use this technique just to make an open box of paper ... or of clay?)
OR use pre-patterned paper/cardstock instead of wrapping that around the cardstock box:
...Carol Duvall used wallpaper to fold these
...I bought a great roll of heavy wrapping paper for $1.99.Morgen

Aunt Annie's Crafts' interlocking box (sort-of lesson) --part 1 --part 2

origami box ... 2 parts (bottom and lid) glue nec.
...for bottoms, start with a square which is 1/4 - 1/2" smaller than the lid square
.......measurement will vary according to the thickness of the paper or material used, and the total size of the box
...It's more accurate to draw an X on the square before beginning to find the exact center then mark a dot there, than it is to fold to find the center (prevents at least that level from being off a bit). make boxes which will nest inside each other, cut each square 1 1/2" smaller than the larger square (or 1 1/2" larger than a smaller one)
........can put a gift in innermost of nested boxes figure the size of square needed for square boxes, double the diagonal measurement of the finished box you desire
...can make much larger boxes, with poster board or other lightweight paperboard
...decoration: for some, use the folded grid after making the folds for placement of stampings, or other decorations, in each section, edge or corner of the gridlines ...or can paint, etc.
(Lynn Del?) makes the bottom first ...then the lid ... rather than cutting the paper larger for the lid, while folding she brings the tips of the paper only to about 1/8" from the center instead of to the exact center.
lesson using greeting cards
Sunni's lesson
' lesson
Julia's lesson on making lids and bottoms with black cardstock .... "northern lights" abstract mica designs painted on outer side
...she prepares the paper with Ink "Refresher" lightly rubbing the oil into the paper with a sponge... paints loose stripes of Perfect Pearls mixed with water... spritzes well with water... then tilts the paper so colors will run...dries painted paper & presses flat with hot iron (other variations included),1789,HGTV_3289_3332480,00.html
Sara Harder's lesson on folding larger boxes (.....and fabric covered paper, etc.) at Electric Quilt site:

put a photo on top of lid,2025,DIY_14228_2277886,00.html
rectangular origami box with "lip" around top (folded from inside)
(for origami, tea bag folding, etc., see Misc > Origami & Folding Techniques)

to PURCHASE. box "makers" ...forms for shaping boxes, envelopes, portfolios or any geometric construction around
...hard template plates (platen) on which any kind of paper or cardstock (cereal boxes, etc.) can be placed
......lines are scored where indicated... then the box is bent, and glued if necessary .
. . the Original (of any length and width up to 6" deep in 1/4") and the Mini will make many sizes of box tops (and bottoms, slightly smaller) .
. . their Curvalator even makes very fancy curved boxes of many kinds!

mini-printable templates

most of these are templates which already have pre-colored patterns on them
....cut out the templates, then fold them to make boxes, bags, and items for dollhouses, etc.

....use *thin* cardstock if your printer allows it
... or use spray adhesive to attach a printed paper to cardstock before cutting and folding
....or use patterned clay instead
... or use fabric adhered to cardstock (with printing on reversed side so may need to reverse in printer)

Images on patterns can be printed out, then wrapped around mini boxes, cans, etc. made from wood-balsa-dowels, cardstock, baked polymer clay shapes, etc. as their "covers"... or just used alone.

Jim Collin's mini printables ...loads of mini printables in all kinds of categories, and in various scales
...his page for "play" scale items, etc. (for items in other scales, look in sidebar... some items may be only in other scales) (right-click on any template, copy, then paste into Word or a photoeditor or drawing program, etc to print out... change size if desired first)
... There are patterns for boxes, Chinese take out boxes, trunks, computers, house hold items like stoves and washer/dryer sets. Nora Jean

Jennifer's printables....lots of miniature "printables"
images and patterns to print out and use in various ways including for dollhouses
gift boxes and bags:
......including Christmas-paper boxes and bags
covers for boxes and cans of grocery items (cereals, etc.)
covers for magazines, comics, etc....also single sheet items/periodicals
...... some of her printable book covers in use:
covers for toys and games
wallpapers & wallpaper borders ...brick and wood flooring, etc.
(... see boxes used for making furniture, lg kitchen appliances, cabinets, stalls for markets, etc, in Miniatures > Furniture )

Shala's .... various printable boxes (both blanks and pre-colored-patterns)
....(she also has "pillow" boxes --could fit a pair of glasses inside, hex-shaped boxes, tall-pyramid boxes ("ornament boxes"), etc.
book cover: pages: ... "star" pages

(also templates for globes: ...
gores: )

Some computer programs may also have templates for certain kinds of boxes, etc., as well as for envelopes, labels, etc.
.....for example, Print Artist has a craft section in which you can print out all kind of fancy boxes, even put your own graphics in them!!! ...YOu can even get the older versions to work and do the same thing if you can find an older version cheaper!! Leigh
..... there are also some online for free

Envelopes & Sealing gum (making your own)

Floral print bubblewrap envelopes.. . nope. don't have a clue where you can get the pretty envelopes, but this is where rubber stamping and whatnot come in real handy!! also, if i need one that's reasonably small, i make my own out of old wildlife calendars. i just pulled one envelope apart to use as my template and then glued the wrap with the small bubbles onto the interior. folded, glued and sealed with glue. i had to put plain white labels in the corner, though, cuz the frank for the stamps doesn't stick on the glossy calendar pages. Sunni

lining the inside of envelopes . . This was on Carol Duvall's show today (Feb.5,2003). No info is given for the last segement of this show, however! ...It was fairly easy though. She took her envelope, and a piece of paper slightly narrower, but longer than the envelope. Put the paper inside the envelope, fold the flap over, thus creasing the paper. She then cut the paper off below the glue strip on the envelope with deco scissors. Ran a line of glue stick along the top edge of the paper, stuck it to the envelope, and *POOF* lined envelope! Laurie

you can make envelopes from most any kind of paper, etc.
. If you don't think the paper is sturdy enough, iron it to freezer paper - I've done that with crushed colored tissue Maryim.

(also see links above for more envelopes)
....Shala's patterns for "money envelopes," and envelope/cards with pop-ups inside, recipe cards (some blank, some with graphics/color)
(use *thin* cardstock if your printer allows it, or use spray adhesive to attach the printed paper to cardstock before cutting and folding)

SEALING GUM ….. stick-um for homemade stickers or envelopes
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1.Mix the gelatin and the water together in a pan.
2.Heat over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved.
3.Add the pepermint extract and let cool.
4.Paint a thin layer on the back of any picture and let dry.
5.Lick and stick.

seal and envelope gum.... for paper-to-paper or cardboard:
4 one-ounce packets unflavored gelatin
6 tablespoons pure white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1. In a small pan, bring the vinegar to a boil.
2. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
3. Add the lemon extract and stir until well blended.
4. Spread the gum thinly on the back of a label or an envelope flap and let dry .
5. Moisten to apply. Store in a covered jar. If the gum hardens, soften in a pan of warm water.

(see also Business--Product Containers)


(see also: last page of *Reinventing the Box; MANY vessels) Joan
durable pieces which can be embellished with beads, embroidery, paints and by numerous techniques