The sides
lock together!

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Interlocking Boxes
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Interlocking Box

What you will make:

Try your hand at making boxes featuring sides that lock together. The interlocked sides create a striking design that you can further enhance with patterns and designs. These square boxes are ideal for gifts of cookies or brownies. With the lower flaps tucked in, the straight-edge boxes are very secure and work well as product packaging.

Related craft: To make another style of interlocking box, see the Interlocking Curves Box craft project.

Related craft: To make an envelope with interlocking flaps, see the Half-moon Petal Envelope craft project.

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
  • Ruler
  • Optional: Decorative paper (wrapping, art, etc.), stickers, spray adhesive

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Interlocking Boxes

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. The same pattern is used for the top and bottom of the box. For the larger 4" boxes, print the pattern of your choice twice. The smaller 2¾" box pattern only needs to be printed once.

Use the Inset/Mask Templates pattern to make decorative inset cutouts for the boxes' sides and tops, or to use as masks for stamping and painting. You can make precise borders with these inset/masking templates, which are custom-made for the Interlocking Box patterns.

Make a lightweight box by printing directly on cardstock. For a stronger box, print a black and white pattern on computer paper, and trace or transfer the pattern to cardboard before proceeding.

Printable Patterns

Interlocking Box
Pattern for 4" square interlocking box
Small Interlocking Box
Pattern for 2.75" square interlocking box
Interlocking Points
Pattern for 4" square interlocking box with points
Small Points
Pattern for 2.75" square interlocking box with points
Orange Stripes
Pattern for 4" square interlocking box with orange stripes
Small Blue Dots
Pattern for 2.75" square interlocking box with blue dots
Inset/Mask Templates
Pattern for inset/mask templates

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 out box on outline

Cut around the box pattern pieces on the solid black outline. Try to cut accurately. The box will be stronger and fit together better if the cuts precisely follow the pattern outlines.

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: Snip Corners

Snip each corner on the dashed line. This creates the glue tabs needed to assemble the box.

Snip dashed lines

Tip: At this point, you may cover the cut-out box pattern with decorative paper. Cut paper that is a bit larger than the box pattern, and adhere it to the reverse side using a good spray adhesive.

Tip: If you plan to cut the box sides into another shape, do it now or anytime before gluing. See the sidebar for an example of a box with sides trimmed to semi-circles.

Step 4: Score Fold Lines
Score fold lines

Score along each of the four fold lines.

 

To score: On cardstock, use the bone folder or empty ballpoint pen to make an indent—not a cut. If you are using light- to medium-weight cardboard or poster board, use a straight edge and a craft knife or scissors to make a "half-cut".

Step 5: Fold Sides

Fold one side along the score line, then unfold. Repeat for the other three sides. 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.

Fold sides 
Step 6: Glue
Form box and glue tabs inside 

Fold the cardboard into a box shape. Be sure that the glue tabs are on the inside. Glue the tabs to the sides of the box with a good craft glue.

The top and bottom of the top are identical. Repeat Steps 2 through 6 to create the second half of the box.

Step 7: Assemble Assemble top and bottomand Decorate

Use one half as the box top and the other as the bottom. Rotate the top one quarter-turn and slip the box halves together with the tall sides on the outside.

Decorate the box any way you like. Adding stickers and cutouts works well. You can also use markers, paint or colored pencils to decorate the box before gluing it together.

Tip: The tall sides can also be tucked inside the box for a tighter fit. Try tucking in the bottom sides or both the top and bottom sides.

Your box is now complete!
Interlocking Boxes


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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Two sizes of interlocking boxes

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Tip: The Interlocking Box patterns are offered in two sizes—4" AND 2¾". Cardstock for the larger box was printed with Golden Stripes ePaper, and the smaller box features cutouts of Blue Diamonds ePaper.

Interlocking boxes made from patterns with designs

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Tip: These boxes are made with the Orange Stripes and Small Blues Dots patterns. The designs on these boxes coordinate with the Golden Stripes and Sky Blue Mixed Dots ePapers, respectively.

Click to see Interlocking Curves craft project

Related project: To make another style of interlocking box, see the Interlocking Curves Box craft project.

Interlocking box decorated with cutouts

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Tip: Decorate the sides and top of an interlocking box with decorative paper cutouts. Use the Inset/Mask Templates pattern to make perfectly sized cutouts.

Interlocking box with shaped edge

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Tip: Trim the box's sides to coordinate with your box design. In this example, the tall sides of the small straight-edge box are trimmed to the shape of the decorative medallions.

Interlocking Boxes with point sides

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Tip: Print the box patterns on the reverse side of decorative cardstock. These samples are made with two of Aunt Annie's ePapers that coordinate with the colored box patterns—Mixed Blue Dots and Green Animal Scales.

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