Thursday, January 21, 2010

This red box is GREEN

Red for Valentine's Day and green because it is made out of recycled food boxes!

I needed a Valentine-looking bucket or pot or box or something to make this wonderful topiary found at The Idea Room here.

 I saw these at Target and thought they would be perfect!

Until I saw the price tag--$5. I think that is too much for a paper and cardboard box with a little glue thrown in, especially when I wanted several of them.

And that is when I remembered--I know how to make a box.

I have made several kinds of boxes out of posterboard and paper. So, I made another one and thought you might like to do it as well.

Since I bought one at Target, I used it as a pattern. You can use these measurements, but, really, once you understand what to do, you can use any measurement, size or shape you want to. You can make circles, ovals, and hearts, too. Those shapes are actually easier because you can use a bottom piece and one continuous piece for the sides, but we'll save that for another time.

Luckily, someone in my family eats fruit snacks as if it was an essential part of her daily diet. We had several fruit snack boxes and some others that I rescued from the recycling bin. I didn't want regular cardboard because it is a little too thick. These work perfectly, but I doubled them to make them stiffer.

clean, empty, cardboard food boxes
masking tape
Mod Podge or other glue of your choice
Scrapbook paper

Make a template for the sides of your box. Hang on to it because you will use it again several times after your sides are completed. My shape (parallelogram?) was 5 inches across at the top and 3 1/2 at the bottom. The sides were each 5 inches. (Refer to pictures to see this shape.) Trace side template 8 times onto cardboard. Be sure to trace the same piece (your template) every time so every piece is the same.

Make a template for a 3 1/2 inch square. Trace 2 times on cardboard and set template aside for later. On one of the squares, draw another square around it about 1/4 inch (maybe a little bit more) outside of the original square.

Cut off the corners of the double square like this:

Snip about every inch along the edges of the outside square up to the inside square. This isn't that important with a box this shape, but it makes it easier to fold and it is extremely important if using a box with curves. (Your next one!) Go ahead and fold the snipped edges towards the inside. For the rest of the tutorial, I folded them back the other way so that the waxed or shiny sides got covered up. This was so it was easier to see what was going on in the pictures not because it made a big difference.

Tape the bottom edge of a side piece to the snipped edges of the bottom square. Put the side piece edge right up against the folded edge.

Flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. This time you will lay your side piece directly on top of the one you just taped.

Tape the sides, first, of the two side pieces together. Trim off any excess so it doesn't make a bulge on any edge. Then, tape the top edges together and trim any excess.

Continue sandwiching the snipped edges between side pieces with masking tape until you have done all four sides and used all 8 side pieces.

This part is tricky to explain, but all you are doing is attaching your sides to each other. You will need tape on the inside and on the outside, but do all of the inside first and then the outside. Just put a piece of tape along the side edge of a side piece so it is half on and half off. Do both side edges of two sides--across from each other--so that, when you fold it up into a box shape, you can tape the sides together.

Fold your box up into a box shape, pulling your tape towards the inside as you go up. Masking tape is easy since it pulls off and on easily. As the sides meet, tape the side edge that isn't taped to the one you just taped. On the outside, crease the tape as you make sure the side edges are "hinged" together evenly and right next to each other. After you do the insides, put a length of tape on the outside edges as well. Trim any excess.

Now it's time for the fun part--covering your box in something pretty.
Trace around your side piece template onto your scrapbook paper. Watch which way you trace it if your scrapbook paper has a direction to it like mine did.

This time, add a little to the sides and the top of two of your pieces. At the top and bottom, angle towards the center a little. I went straight on the bottom, but a slight angle would work better.

Cut off the corners (refer to picture) as you cut around your shape.

Flip it over and tape along the edges. You will put tape on one complete side edge and then little pieces on all of the other edges. (Sorry this is sideways--my skills are limited.)

Gently tape your scrapbook paper onto the outside of your box by taping the long taped edge first. Carefully fold over the excess paper around each edge to make sure it fits properly. Tape it down gently as you go so you can remove after it is straight and you are sure if fits correctly. Then, remove it, and crease all of your folds.

Cover the side of your box in Mod Podge. Don't worry about the little folded edges yet.

After glueing on the big side, go back and put glue on the little flaps and tape/glue them down. Smooth out any bubbles. You may have to hold the flaps down while it dries, but that's okay because it goes fast!

Do this all over again for the side across from the one you just did.

Next you are going to make the last two sides. These do not need the side flaps because the first two already wrap around the edges. Trace around the template onto your scrapbook paper two more times. Then add a little extra to the top and the bottom. It should look something like this picture.

Glue it on the same way as the previous two sides, but do not put tape along the side edges which do not have flaps. Be sure the glue goes all of the way to the edge of the scapbook paper. I put the glue on the paper this time because I didn't want any excess glue on the paper I just put on the box.

Once all four sides are covered, you are ready to cover the bottom. Trace around your square template one time. It shouldn't matter which way you turn it. Glue this piece to the bottom of your box.

Now you are ready for the inside. I used cardstock to make it a little stiffer and it was easier to put glue on the cardboard and then slide the cardstock on top of it without it flapping around. Trace around your side edge template 4 times and your square one time onto your cardstock. Because of all of the tape, you will probably have to trim these pieces a little. I did it one at a time and then placed them around the outside of the box face up so I didn't forget which one went where.

Glue the sides into place. Cover your last cardboard square with your cardstock square. Trim if needed and glue into the bottom of your box.

After I trimmed (apparently a little too much) and glued, there was a little extra edge showing which bothered me. Next time, I would either use similar colored tape on my inside "hinge" or I would make the inside the same way I did the outside except without the top flaps--it is just a little more awkward to manipulate to glue it into the box. The inside of my box will be completely covered for my project so it is fine for this project.

So, let's go head-to-head and see what you think. . .

So add a handle (or not), fill it with treats (or not), gift it (or not), but just be sure you enjoy it!

Think of the possibilities--homemade heart boxes for homemade chocolate, Easter baskets, decorative holder for spring flowers. Oh, the possibilities are endless!


Amy,  said... January 21, 2010 at 6:17 AM  

cuuuuuuute!!! I've seen those Target boxes and was also deterred by the I can make my own!! :) Thank you for sharing!
PS...I can't remember how I found you but your family is so sweet and you have great it!! :)

jodi,  said... January 21, 2010 at 3:05 PM  

Tammy - I love your blog! (Shannon told me about it.) Thanks for sharing your cute (and cheap) ideas. We could easily do this project with teens or with little kids. Love it!

The Hall's,  said... January 21, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

You are on a roll lady! Are all of these things on your "to do" list or are they just extras? Either way...they are all great and I might just have to start acknowledging Valentines day because of all the cute crafts. Thanks? :) By the way...I think more than 4 people are reading now! Congrats!

Carol,  said... January 21, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

Oh my gosh, you are so clever and green! I love it! I'm going to have to make some! I'm going to follow you via google reader. Stop by and visit me sometime!

Amy {The Idea Room},  said... January 21, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

Wow! I love this! How clever! I have box envy! Thanks so much for the link! By the way, your daughter is darling. I love your header!!

Kirsten,  said... January 22, 2010 at 3:09 PM  

Drool! Totally going to do this. I need to stall so I don't clean my room anyway. >_>

Also your shape is a trapezoid, not a parallelogram. ;) Thought I'd be helpful!

Kat,  said... January 26, 2010 at 10:49 AM  

Love these! And yours is so much cuter than the one you bought at target! I am sooo making these for my kids easter baskets this year. I'm tired of spending lots of money on baskets at the store only to have them fall apart before I get a chance to put them away!

Thanks for the great idea!

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