Paper boxes are easy, environmental friendly crafts that make good gifts, trays, and storage containers. You can make them by folding any size paper into a variety of shapes. They are a useful, fun way to use up flyers and discarded paper.
EditMaking a Rectangular Paper Box
- Choose your paper. For this method, rectangular paper works best. If you are making a gift or a party favor, use brightly colored and/or patterned paper. If you are simply practicing your paper folding skills, use some scrap paper instead.
- Fold the paper vertically in half. If using patterned paper, make sure the pattern is on the outside. Unfold the paper again.
- Make sure each fold is creased well. You can crease the folds with your fingernail, a coin, or some other small, hard object.
- If you’re using cardstock or another kind of thick paper, you can use something called a “scoring tool.” This can be a very dull knife, an empty ballpoint pen, a bone folder, or an embossing tool.
- Fold each side of the paper to the center crease. Take the edge and line it with the center crease. Once again, the pattern should be on the outside. Unfold the paper. It should now be in quarters sectioned widthwise.
- Fold the entire paper in half lengthwise. The pattern should be on the outside. Unfold the paper once more. It should now be in eight equal sections.
- Fold each short side to the center crease. You are doing the same thing with this new lengthwise center crease as you did in Step 3.
- This will give the new side four sections. The paper should now have 16 sections in all.
- Do not unfold your paper this time. Keep in folded lengthwise.
- Fold each corner. Line the corners up with the nearest lengthwise crease. The folded corners should each form right triangles with their bases flush with a lengthwise crease. You should end up with an uneven octagon.
- A strip of paper should be between the center creased edges and the edge of the newly folded corner, creating a flap.
- Fold the flaps from the middle down over the triangles made in the previous Step. This opens the center of the paper so you can see the center crease inside the box.
- This flap will be seen from outside the box. If you are making a gift or decorative box, you might consider using two-sided patterned paper for additional ornamentation.
- Pull up on the two flaps. You can grip them by the creases in the middle. You should now have a complete box.
- You may have to re-crease some of the folds to make your box stand more securely.
- Make any finishing touches. Use some scotch tape on the corners if you would like them to sit flat. Decorate the bed of the box with markers or pens if you want to. If you’re using it to hold a gift, write a surprise message to your giftee that will be covered by the item.
EditMaking an Alternate Rectangular Box
- Choose your paper. Starting with a rectangular sheet works best. As above, the paper you pick will depend on the box’s purpose. If this is a gift or a decorative item, use patterned or brightly colored paper. If it’s just for practice, use scrap paper.
- Fold the paper lengthwise in half. If using patterned paper, make sure the pattern is on the inside. This is in contrast to Method 1, so be sure to pay attention. Unfold the paper.
- Fold the long sides to the center crease. Make sure the pattern is on the inside. Take the outer edges and fold to the center crease. Unfold the two creases you just made.
- The paper should now have four vertical sections. At this point, the paper is still half folded, so you should only see two of them and no pattern.
- Fold back the edges lengthwise along the nearest crease. The paper should now have flaps, with the pattern of the paper visible.
- Each flap should be three layers folded on top of one another in a Z pattern.
- Do not unfold the paper.
- Flip the paper over and fold the edges to the center crease. When the paper is face down, you should see only the center crease and the two lengthwise edges. Fold the paper towards the middle crease so that it lines up with the two outer creases. Unfold partially so that the outer creases return to edges.
- There should be two lengthwise sections before unfolding and four lengthwise sections after.
- Fold the bottom left corner to the third crease towards the right. Line up the bottom outer edge with the crease.
- The new triangular section will have a flap in the middle of it.
- Fold the bottom right corner of the flap to the top edge. This should create a new flap in the shape of a symmetrical trapezoid.
- Fold the bottom right corner upwards to meet the edge of the flap. The bottom right corner will be on the other side of the third crease.
- The newly made section will be triangular with a point at the end. The top should have a flap.
- Insert the newly made section into the flap below. Lift the newly folded section and carefully slip into the flap on the section beneath it. The flap and the folded triangular corner will be visible.
- Tuck the pointed tip in. Take the triangular corner and fold underneath the flap. You may need to re-crease the folds.
- You should have a straight edge along the bottom. The newly folded flap section will be in the shape of a trapezoid. It will sit with its parallel sides flush with a second larger trapezoid.
- Repeat Steps 6-10 with the opposite end. It may help to turn the paper 180 degrees before you begin.
- When finished, the two sides should mirror each other. The paper should now be in the shape of an oblong octagon.
- Lift each flap. This should complete the box by creating four standing sides. You may need to reinforce the crease to get the sides to stand better. As with Method 1, you may want to decorate the bed if it’s for a special occasion.
EditMaking a Square Box
- Choose your paper. Think about the purpose of the box. If this is a gift or a decorative item, use patterned or colored paper.
- For this particular Method, square paper should be used. Origami paper is ideal for a gift box. Make sure your paper is completely even on each side. Either use square paper, or measure and cut the paper so each side is the same size.
- Fold the paper in half. If using patterned paper, make sure the pattern is on the inside. Turn the paper 90 degrees and repeat this step. You should now have four sections. 
- Fold each corner into the center. You should start with the paper patterned side down, folding each corner to reveal the pattern side of the paper. The plain side should be covered up now. Your paper should now look like a smaller square made up of four identical triangles.
- Fold two parallel edges to the center. The newly folded sections should be folded down on top of the corner folds you just made in Step 3. The paper should now be a rectangle. When folded completely, you should see only two rectangular flaps that meet at the center.
- Fold the shorter edges to the center. The folds should be made over the ones created in Step 4. The shape will now be an even smaller square. The only visible pieces at this point should again be two rectangular flaps that meet at the center.
- Unfold the paper partially. Rotate Stop unfolding once you have the square made up of triangles that you made in Step 3. Fold two parallel edges back towards the center on the already creased fold. There are two sets of edges to choose form, but they are identical. You are not making a new fold. Let them sit vertically, as these will be the beginnings of your box’s sides.
- Lift the paper by either of the central widthwise triangles. This should partially unfold one shorter end of the rectangle. Don’t use too much force to avoid tearing the paper. You may need to re-crease any edges that aren’t crisp. You should now have three outwards-facing triangles, two of which with a central crease. The base of each triangle forms three sides of the square that will make up the next side of your box.
- Push the two creased triangles back inward. Pinch the central creases together to invert the triangles and push them down. Push inward on the creases and line the triangles against the central crease of the new side. The paper should start folding, lifting the new side up.
- Fold the remaining triangle into the box. This last triangle’s base will be the crease that will create the inner lower edge of this side. After folding in, the last triangle should now be in the bed of the box, creating a square with three other identical triangles.
- Repeat Steps 7 through 9 with the opposite side. All four triangles should fit perfectly into the bottom of the box. Your box’s bed will look like the square made up of four triangles in Step 3. If you want the triangles to stay perfectly flat, you may need to tape them down.
EditMaking a Pillow Box
- Gather your materials. Unlike the previous boxes discussed, you will need to do some cutting and gluing. Don’t let this intimidate you; pillow boxes are actually the easiest type of paper box to make. It’s best to use cardstock or another type of thicker paper for these boxes. In addition to paper, you’ll need scissors, a ruler, and glue.
- You will also need a scoring tool if you use cardstock.
- Print off a pillow box template. Find a template you like online. You can pick a minimalist pattern or an elaborate one.
- You can even print out a blank template that you can decorate yourself. If you choose to decorate the paper, do so before you start folding. Decorating an already-folded box is both difficult and runs the risk of collapsing it.
- You can also print a blank template directly onto decorative paper.
- Cut out your template. Using your scissors, carefully cut along the lines designated by the template. A standard pillow box template has two parallel straight sides and four curved sides. They look similar to a wide hour glass. Some may be more elaborate, but they still tend to keep a “pillow” shape.
- Score the fold lines. For straight fold lines, line your ruler up next to the marked edges on the template to guide you. The curved fold lines will be trickier, since you’ll need to freehand them. Gently run your scoring tool up and down the lines until an indent forms. Don’t be so rough that you cut through the paper.
- Fold your box in half along the center fold line. If your template is meant to face outside (such as most decorative ones), flip your paper over first. Fold inward to keep your design facing outward. Use your ruler again to guide you if you have trouble.
- Fold and glue the tab. Fold the second straight line inward. The skinny flap will be what holds the box together. Flip the box back over and apply glue evenly on the tab.
- Assemble the main part of the box. Fold the box in half again, decorative sides facing out. Tuck the flap under the far edge of the box. Line up the flap so that its crease is now flush with the far edge. Place your box in a heavy book while the glue dries to seal the edges.
- Fold the curved edges inward to finish your box. Once the glue has dried, gently fold the round scored lines down towards the center of the box with your fingers. They should now form two parallel sides each shaped like a pointed oval. Because of their concave shape, the edges should hold together without any additional glue. If you used thin paper, though, glue may be necessary.
- Don’t expect to get it perfect on your first try. It will take practice.
- Paper boxes aren’t as sturdy as other boxes. Don’t put heavy objects, fragile items, or liquids in them.
- If the instructions sound difficult or complicated, don’t worry, it’s not that hard. Keep trying until you get the step, or try again with a fresh sheet of paper.
- Make Origami
- Fold a Divider for an Origami Box
- Make an Origami Gift Box
- Make a 3D Cube
EditSources and Citations
- Videos provided by Paper Folds – Origami & Crafts !
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