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Yankee band box

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Oval boxes in two sizes
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Oval Box with Lid

What you will make:

Make an oval box with a lid in a several sizes and depths. The technique used to make these boxes is based on the band boxes popular in the 19th century, and is well-suited to making boxes with curves, like this oval box. This is an elegant box that will complement that special gift. In fact, a well-made and decorated oval box is a gift unto itself.

Related crafts: Make a Valentine Heart Shaped Box or a Christmas Tree Shaped Box using the same banded box technique.

Custom size box: To make an oval box in any size you like, follow the instructions for drafting your own oval box pattern in the Make a Custom Oval Box Pattern craft project.

Read more about Yankee band boxes at the end of this 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.), spray adhesive.

This project is rated AVERAGE to do.

How to Make Oval Band Box with Lid

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 smaller box patterns (3.5" by 2.6") include both the box bottom and top (lid). For the large box (4.75" by 3.5") there are separate patterns for the bottom and top of the box.
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.

Follow the same instructions for both the box bottom and box top (lid).

Printable Patterns

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 pieces on the solid black lines. Try to make accurate cuts. The box will be stronger and fit together better if the cuts accurately follow the pattern pieces.

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.

Tip: The side strips for the larger box are in two pieces. You may find it easier to glue the strips together at this point rather than in Step 5.

Step 3: Score

With a ruler or straight edge, make a score line along the bottom of the tabs on the side strip(s).

Score along bottom of glue tabs

To score: Turn the side strip pattern with the marked lines up. 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 4: FoldFold tabs

Fold the tabs over, then unfold to about a 90° angle. When using cardboard, fold back with the score on the outside of the box. With cardstock, fold the printed side in.

Bend side-strip around oval to check for size

In preparation for gluing, bend the side strip around the oval cutout. Start the strip at a midpoint of a side. If the side strip is too long, adjust it by cutting a little from one end. If the side strip is too short, cut the box top down a little.

Step 5: Glue Glue side-strips to oval cutout

Coat the inside of the glue tabs with a thin layer of white glue. Apply a band of glue around the perimeter of the oval cutout. Make the band of glue as wide as the depth of the tabs. Wrap the side strip(s) around the oval cutout, pressing the glue tabs firmly in place. Apply glue to both ends of the side strip overlap(s) and press together.

Glue second oval cutout over glue tabs

Tip: For a finished look, glue the other oval cutout on top to hide the tabs.

Step 6: Make Box Lid

Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the box lid. Glue the second lid oval onto the lid to cover the glue tabs.

Glue strip of decorative paper around the lid

You can cover the sides of the lid with decorative paper or ribbon prior to gluing the second oval cutout in place. Cut a strip of paper the same size as the side strip. Glue the decorative strip in place, aligning edges. Cut glue tabs on the other edge, fold and glue over existing tabs.

Step 7: Decorate
Cut contrasting ovals using insert patterns and glue

Decorate the box lid as you like. Nested ovals of contrasting paper or medallions are easy ways to embellish the lid. Use the insert patterns as a guide to cut the nested ovals.

That's it! Your box is ready to use!
Oval boxes in two sizes

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About Yankee Band Boxes

Nested Yankee band boxes

The construction techniques used in this project were inspired by traditional Yankee band boxes. Yankee band boxes first appeared in the 1800s to store men's collar bands. The boxes were round, made of pasteboard or thin wood, and the edges were sewn on with an overcast stitch. The box was then lined with newspaper and covered with wallpaper.

Soon after the boxes' introduction, people realized that these boxes were versatile and could also be used for travel and storage. The popularity of Yankee band boxes peaked between 1820 and 1850, when they were available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Oval and round boxes were most popular and were often sold as nesting boxes. Make your own nesting boxes by constructing a series of oval or round boxes that decrease in size and fit inside one another. Tip: See the instructions for drafting your own oval box pattern in the Make a Custom Oval Box Pattern craft project.


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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!!!

A strip of decorative paper glued over side strip

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Tip: A strip of decorative paper can be glued over the side strip. Striped paper, as in this example, works well.

Decorate inside the oval box

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Tip: Use rubber stamps and a watermark stamp pad to decorate the inside of dark colored boxes.

Oval box in orange

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Tip: The Oval Box in orange pattern includes the choice of two lid tops and two decorative inserts.

Oval box in blue

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Tip: The Oval Box in blue pattern can be made with a plain blue lid or with the floral inset. The plain box has an inner collar added to reveal more of the bottom's stripes when the box is closed (see sidebar below). The stripes and floral patterns coordinate with Aunt Annie's Hawaiian Orchid ePaper downloads.

Oval box in blue with flowers

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Add inner collar

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Tip: The oval boxes can be made taller by adding an inner collar. Use the bottom's side pattern piece as a template and add ½" to ¾" to the height. Test the collar before gluing in place.

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