Updated 15 September 2020 – originally posted 1 October 2014
If you make jewelry or other small items for sale, or just like to make sure that the gifts you give are attractive, then this tutorial may be of use. There are lots of ways you can customise the finished result too.
I am going to show you how to easily make a smart, sturdy card box that is just the right size for your item.
- Sturdy card
- Bone folder (or spoon)
- Tacky glue or other strong glue/tape
- Scrap paper or a notepad
- Small bulldog or paper clips
- Scoring Board (not essential, but very useful)
- Paper cutter (not essential, but very useful)
- Hole punch – needed if you are going to add an insert
I will use a pair of earrings as an example, but you can easily adapt this technique to make a box for many other types of items.
If you are going to use a scoring board then it is easiest to work with whatever measurement unit your board has. So although I am in the UK, where we officially use metric measurements, my scoring board is in inches, so that is what I will use for the examples here.
Earring or Necklace Insert (optional)
We will start with making the insert of the box. Some products will not need an insert, but they are great for presenting earrings or necklaces in a smart way.
Lay your earrings down so you can measure how big the insert needs to be. With stud earrings you may find it easier to lay them down “upside down”.
Measure the height of the earrings, plus however much space you want above and below them. If you are planning to add a description below them remember you will need space for this too.
Then measure the width of both earrings and a little space either side. It is much easier to work with “round” figures, so adjust your results to a nice figure. So 3 inches is better than 2 13/16ths, or 20cms is better than 19cms.
Draw a square / rectangle on a scrap of paper and add the dimensions you just worked out. My earrings here are going to have a 3 inch square insert to sit on.
My earrings are on hooks and will need just under 1/2 inch clearance behind the insert. Stud earrings may need more to fit the posts in and a necklace on a chain may be fine with 1/4 inch clearance.
Measure and cut out a piece of card in this size. This is your box insert. If you want to add a description, stamp or write it now.
It is easiest to crease the tabs using a scoring board – in my example I just lay the insert on the scoring board and crease with my bone folder at the 1/2 inch mark, then I turned the insert around and did the same at the other end.
If you do not have a scoring board then measure the tabs, mark them with a pencil, and score.
Lay your earrings on to the insert to decide where to place the holes for the hooks or studs. Mark with a pencil then measure (if you are going to make more than one box).
I punched the holes with a Crop-a-Dile hole punch. You could also use an awl, knitting needle or some other “pokey thing”.
For a necklace you can cut a slit on either side of the insert, for the chain to pass through.
Handy Hint – for a really smart box, cover the insert with velvet or felt.
Cutting the Box Base and Lid
We already know the base’s dimensions, we just need to work out how big a piece of card we will need.
Decide how high your box sides needs to be.
So in my example the card for the base of the box needs to be 5 inches square. That is 3 inches for the base dimensions, plus 1 inch either edge for the sides.
I used a paper trimmer which makes it very quick and easy to cut the card. You could of course use scissors, measuring and marking where to cut in advance.
You need another piece of card, exactly the same size as the base. Obviously the lid needs to be a tiny bit bigger than the base, to fit on, but this difference is created with the scoring, not the cutting of the card.
Finishing the Box Base and Lid
For the base you score using the dimensions of the box height. So if your box is going to be 1″ high, like mine, you just score down the card at the 1″ mark. Then turn the base card by 90 degrees and do it again. Repeat until you have scored all four sides.
Without a scoring board you will need to measure, mark and score instead.
Next, take the piece of card you are using for the lid of the box. We are going to score all four sides, just like we did for the base except this time you need to score using the groove that is JUST BEFORE the actual height of the box.
So if your box is going to be 1″ high then you need to score at 7/8th inch. Repeat this for all 4 sides. This is the simple trick to making sure the box lid will fit on the base.
Use your bone folder, or a spoon, and run it along all the scored edges to ensure they are properly creased.
For each corner, cut diagonally from the corner to the junction of the creases. Then cut down one of the edge creases so that there is a triangular tab left in the corner – Corner A in the diagram below. If you want a neater (but slower to create) type of corner you can cut it like Corner B.
Apply strong tacky glue to a corner tab, fold up the sides and wipe off any glue that squeezes out of the joint (I just use my finger to do that!). Hold it for a moment to ensure the glue has gripped. Apply a little bulldog clip or paper clip to the corner to hold it until it is properly dried.
Work your way around the corners, gluing and clipping each one. Do this for both the base and the top of the box.
Some people prefer to use strong tape, such as “red liner tape” for sticking the corner. I prefer glue as you can adjust it a little if needed and it gives a good strong bond.
When you box parts are dry, pop the insert into the base add your item and pop on the lid! Add a bow or other decoration to the lid if you wish.
You can of course decorate your box if you want.
I made mine from brown kraft card for the base and a 6″ x 6″ scrapbook 200gsm paper pad for the lids.
If you are selling your products then you can add branding to your box – it may be easier to do this whilst the box is still flat.
These instructions may sound like they will take quite a while, but actually it is quite a quick and easy process – if you have a scoring board!
Once I had worked out the dimensions of my inserts, I printed them using my computer so I could add a printed description to each one. You could also hand write a description, or use a rubber stamp.
You could add a square of felt or textured paper on top of the insert to make an attractive background for your product.If you are planning on making these boxes for selling items at a craft stall, you may enjoy my in-depth article, Preparing for a Craft Stall or Craft Show – you can also listen to this article as a podcast too.
Links to Supplies on Amazon
Here are links to some of the supplies needed on Amazon.com (top) and Amazon.co.uk. If you buy from these links, I may receive a small commission from the shop for sending custom their way. This is at no cost to yourself. Thank you.
In the tutorial I am using a scoring board that I got on a magazine and is no longer available. I have given links to the EZ Success boards as an alternative – I have used these boards and they are sturdy and smart.
The XCut trimmer I use in the tutorial is also no longer easily available. I also have a Tonic Super Trimmer (see my review here) which I highly recommend.