What you will make:
This project features a collapsible box with an attached lid in a variety of
sizes and shapes. If you haven't made boxes before, you'll be delighted with how easy it
is to make a box in exactly the size you need. Use these boxes for
gifts, as decorative containers, or for organizing and storage around the home
or craft room. Make a simple 2" cube, a
tall box, and a short box with the printable patterns. Or, follow the
instructions at the end of this page for making a
collapsible box in any size you wish. After you
are done with the box, it can be folded flat and stored away for use
Related craft: For a different version of the cube
collapsible box, see the
Little Gift Boxes
craft project. This project include Christmas-themed patterns.
Here's what you need:
- Cardstock or cardboard (poster board and bristol board work well)
- Glue or double-sided tape
- Scissors or craft knife
- Bone folder or empty ballpoint pen
- Optional: Decorative
paper (wrapping, art, etc.), spray adhesive.
This project is rated EASY to do.
How to Make a Collapsible Box
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It
Choose a box to make. Download and print the pattern. Make a
lightweight box by printing directly on cardstock. For a stronger
box, print on computer paper and trace or transfer the pattern to
cardboard before proceeding.
Note: The strip of squares in the center of the pattern are the box sides. The glue tab is at the end. The other two squares are the top and bottom lids. Each lid has a flap attached.
Two of the sides have a pair of box flaps attached.
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The
Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter-size paper (8.5"x11" or A4).
When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.
- Step 2: Cut
Cut around the box pattern on the solid black lines. Try to make
your cuts very straight. The box will be stronger and fit together better if the cuts are very straight.
Using a straight edge and craft knife will make some of the cutting easier, but be sure to protect the table with a cutting mat or thick piece of cardboard.
Caution: Be careful. Craft knives are sharp and should not
be used by children.
- Step 3: Score
Scoring the fold lines makes for easier folding and sharper
To score: Turn the box with the marked lines up.
Score along each of the fold lines—red in this illustration. On
cardstock, use the bone folder or empty ballpoint pen to make an
indent, not a cut. If you are using cardboard or poster board, use a
straight edge and a craft knife or scissors to make a half-cut.
- Step 4: Fold
Fold lids and flaps in on the scored fold lines. Flatten the box out
again. Fold the glue tab and each side in on the vertical fold lines,
then flatten the box.
When using thick cardboard like bristol board, fold back so that the score is on the outside of the box. Lighter cardboard can be folded either way.
- Step 5: Cover with Decorative Paper (optional)
Cut a rectangular piece of decorative paper larger than the box
pattern by ¼" to ½" all around. Center and glue to what will be
the outside of the box. Fold the excess paper over and glue, or just
- Step 6: Make Box Shape and Glue
Put glue down the entire length of the glue tab. Shape the sides into a box shape and glue the tab to the inside of the last side.
You can use
double-sided tape in place of the glue.
- Step 7: Close Box
Fold the bottom flaps in and close the bottom lid over them. Tuck the
bottom lid's flap inside the box. Repeat for the top lid.
Tip: Make a stronger box by putting a piece of cardboard, cut to size, in the bottom of the box. You can also glue the bottom flaps to the box's bottom, but the box will no longer be collapsible.
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