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Trinket box made from recycled cardboard tubes
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Crafts using Recycled Materials

Trinket Box

What you will make:

Here's a round trinket box that is quick and easy to make. It is made from recycled paper towel and bath tissue cardboard tubes, and then covered with decorative paper or craft ribbon and coordinating paper. It is made in the tradition of the Yankee Band Box of the 19th century.

This project uses recycled materials and is great for family, classroom or group craft time where adults or teens are paired with one or two children. It requires no patterns and uses simple materials. The project requires no advanced preparation other than the gathering of materials.

Here's what you need:
  • Empty cardboard tubes
  • Lightweight cardboard (cereal box)
  • 1" to 1½" (3-4 cm) wide craft ribbon or strips of decorative paper
  • Coordinating colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and ruler
  • String or yarn
  • Glue
  • Paintbrush (optional, for spreading glue)

This project is rated AVERAGE to do.

How to Make a Trinket Box from Recycled Tubes

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Cut Rings

This box is made of two cardboard rings—one for the lid and one for the bottom. Find two empty cardboard tubes, bath tissue and/or paper towel, that fit one inside of the other. It is best to start with two tubes that differ in size by about 1/16" to 1/8" (2-3mm). If the larger tube is too big, or you only have tubes of one size, that's okay—adjustments can be made later.

Mark a line around the larger tube about ¾" (2 cm) from one end. It will be easy to mark the line if you first tie a string around the tube as a guide. Mark a line around the smaller tube about 1 1/8" (3 cm) from the end. Cut on both marked lines. You should have two rings.

If the larger ring fits too loosely around the smaller one, snip a small section out of the larger ring and tape it together again. Or, if both rings were cut from the same tube, snip a small section out of the wider ring and tape it together again.

Tip: You may find it easier to cut through the tube before cutting out the rings. The rings can always be taped back together.

Step 2: Trace Circles

Cut circles of cardboard to close one end of each ring. First, carefully trace inside each ring onto a piece of cardboard. Now cut out the circles, being careful to cut on the lines.

Step 3: Cut and Glue

Cut a piece of craft ribbon or strip of decorative paper, about 1" (2 cm) wide, that will go all the way around the larger ring. Cut a strip of paper in a coordinating color that is 1½" (4cm) wide and can wrap completely around the smaller ring.

Glue the ribbon/decorative paper to the larger ring and the coordinating paper strip to the smaller ring. Be sure to align one edge of the ribbon/strip with one edge of the ring. There should be a small amount of ribbon/paper extending beyond the other edge.

Step 4: Snip Tabs

Snip the ribbon/paper that extends beyond the ring's edge at ¼" (5 mm) intervals all around each ring. Fold the resulting tabs inward at a 90° angle.

Step 5: Put It Together

On both rings, apply glue to the inside of the tabs, and to a narrow band around the edge of the matching cardboard circle cutout. Bend the tabs over and consistently overlap the left tab over the right tab (or vice versa) around the ring. Turn the ring over with the tabs down, and insert the circle cutout—glue side down. Press firmly around the circle's edge for a strong bond.

Step 6: Finish

For a finished look, cut out circles of paper to cover the top and bottom of the box. Glue in place. You can add decorations, like a motif cut from ribbon or decorative paper, to the lid.

You can use your finished box to store jewelry, buttons, candies, paper clips, etc.—anything small. Make a trinket box for a friend and see how delighted they are!

That's it! What will you put inside your box? Trinket box made from recycled cardboard tubes

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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!!!

Trinket box decorated with hearts

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Tip: Decorate the top of the box to match the decorative strip around it. This top features a punched heart glued on top of red and white circles.

The decorative strip of hearts was cut from one of Aunt Annie's ePapersLittle Red Hearts.
Trinket box decorated with a paper flower

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Tip: Decorate the box with a paper flower. They are easy to make—just follow the instructions in the Paper Flower project.

Trinket box decorated with flower cutouts

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Tip: Decorate the top of the box with cutouts from decorative paper.

These flowers are cut from one of Aunt Annie's ePapersChecked Yellow Flowers.

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