Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Creating Gift Boxes Out Of Greeting Cards

This past Sunday, I visited a neighbor for a glass of wine before dinner and to admire her beautiful holiday tree she just completed. While there, I saw several charming little decorative boxes on her sofa table. Apparently, she made them out of old greeting cards. I thought it was genius! She was surprised I had never heard of the idea. Well, as a test, I asked just a couple of friends that I thought were creative enough that perhaps they too had known about this idea. It turned out they had not(perhaps we've all missed the bus on this one)but agreed it was a smart idea. In the meantime, she sent me a link she found online that gives the very same step by step instructions she uses. Give it a try.

Below is all about using different types of greeting cards (new or/and recycled)to create beautiful gift boxes.

Once constructed, these small boxes can be used to hold presents, gifts or simply to store away items. Throughout the construction process, you are recycling or conserving otherwise wasted paper materials. And others, more often than not, appreciate receiving a gift inside a personally constructed box. Any type or size of rectangular card will do ... as square cards will not allow users to generate long end tabs so necessary to hold the box together.

Although such boxes can be made whenever, green- and red-colored construction paper tends to be more festive for the December / Santa Clause season. Light-colored construction paper is also an excellent background source as users can sketch their personal seasonal designs wherever and whenever.


Gather together the following concrete materials and place them on any large flat surface.

1. 1 sharp pencil
2. 1 eraser (optional)
3. 1 pair of scissors
4. 1 glue stick or a stapler (both items optional)
5. 1 ruler, longer than the diagonal of any greeting card used
6. 1 rectangular piece of discarded or scrap paper (optional)
7. ½ new or used/recycled greeting card (optional)
8. 1 complete recycled/used or new greeting card

Step 1: Make a practice box from a sheet of discarded paper

Before (possibly) cutting up and wasting a new or recycled greeting card, complete the following eight (8) steps using any sheet of rectangular paper. This is simply a practice step ... and often necessary for those with eye-hand coordination limitations. One can easily destroy a good greeting card by incorrectly bending, marking, folding and / or cutting. As soon as you have made your practice box and have learned from any errors, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Cutting a card in half

One (1) greeting card is required to make one (1) box. A larger card will make a larger box and (obviously) a smaller card will make a smaller box. As shown in the outsider card image to your right, open the greeting card and cut it in half (½) and along the centre fold. The bottom half of the card will eventually become the top of the box while the top half of the card will be made into the bottom of the box.

You can also be imaginative and construct several boxes in different sizes to create boxes with in a box.

Step 3: Drawing the 2 diagonals and identifying the point of intersection

Always commence construction by making the bottom half of the box first. In this way, any first-time errors will be easily hidden by placing the top of the box down and over the bottom section. To do this well, place the right half of the inside of the card, message-side up on any flat surface. Use a ruler and pencil to draw 2 diagonal straight line segments (see diagonal 1 and diagonal 2 in the ½ card image to your right) running from one corner of the rectangular card to the opposite corner. Try to draw these diagonal lines lightly, in case you wish to erase them later.

People sometime error here as their ruler is either too short to join one corner of the half card to the other or they can not hold the ruler properly in one hand while using a pencil in the other hand to draw diagonal lines.

As shown immediately above, you should be left with a large X through the card's message.

Step 4: Bending the 4 sides of the half card into the middle point 'E'

Fold side A-B (of the above half card) up and over to meet center point 'E'. You can use the ruler or a side of the scissors to crease that fold firmly. Turn the card around and do the same with the 3 remaining sides (side B-C, side C-D and side A-D) by folding them into the centre 'E'. Crease all of the folds well.

Step 5: Forming tabs by cutting the ends of the half card

Using scissors, cut 4 slits ('Slit # 1', 'Slit # 2', 'Slit # 3' and 'Slit # 4') as shown in the pattern below and to your right. From my experiences, this cutting step can become a difficult eye-hand coordination task for certain learners. During the Christmas Season, here is a short and simple saying that I have successfully added to the construction process to facilitate this cutting task. Take the half (½) card and stand it freely on any flat surface, with the two (2) longer sides (B-C and A-D) of the rectangle A-B-C-D facing up. Pretend that this vertical rectangle is a house chimney.

Using scissors, cut down from the top while saying aloud the following comment: "Here comes Santa Clause down the chimney." By emphasizing the downward cutting action of the scissors, students tend to make the 4 short cuts vertically instead of horizontally.

The half (½) card now contains six (6) tabs: four (4) smaller tabs and two (2) larger tabs. We'll refer to the smaller tabs as 'holiday1' and the larger tabs 'holiday2'.

Step 6: Folding the 3 tabs to make one end of the box

You should now be able to observe that the holiday2 has a higher rectangular flap that stands out and over the two (2) lower holiday1. Call this higher, or top tab, a holiday3. Using your thumbs and fingers, fold the higher and longer holiday3 over the two (2) holiday1, such that one end of the box is secure and firm. If the three (3) end tabs (that is, the 2 doohickeys, the 1 holiday2 and the 1 holiday3) are too short to form a secure end, use a small piece of tape or place a dab of glue on the tabs to close the end. If you wish, you can now erase the two (2) penciled X’s, such that any card message becomes clearly visible on the inside top and bottom surfaces of your newly-formed box.

Step 7: Closing in the other end of the box

Repeat Step 6 at the opposite end of the half card. You have now made the bottom half of the box.

Step 8: Making the lid of the box

To make the lid (or top) of the box, repeat all of the above steps. Be sure to place the print half of the card, picture-side down, on a flat surface. At times, children may, instead, opt here to make the other half of the box from a blank piece of paper similar in thickness to the selected half (½) card. This innovative alternative allows you to utilize your creative skills to decorate the top or bottom of the box accordingly.

Step 9: Placing the top of the box over the bottom of the box

Fit the top half of the box down and over the bottom half of the box. As both halves are equal in size, the fit should be quite snug. You have now made a tiny treasure chest that offers a greeting every time its lid is lifted! Use crayons, coloring pencils, markers, paint, etc. to sculpture innovative images and decorative designs anywhere on the box.


JM said...

How brilliant! I've never heard of such a clever idea before! So cool!

Thank you for your visit and comment on my travel blog.

Kwana said...

What a cool idea!

gift delivery Philippines said...

Wow! that was absolutely very adorable gift boxes I am inspired of how you doing this. Keep posting!


Muhammad Atif said...

I appreciate receiving a gift inside a personally constructed box.
Hank Hendricks
Send gifts to Pakistan from UK

Usman Hadi said...

Do these gifts have Scratch Card on their display