The inspiration for this week’s project comes from the Japanese stacking octagonal box kit shown above. We previously used a similar technique to demonstrate a business card box with traditional elegance. We now present a surreal modern makeover for Japanese papercraft boxes by using (recycling) paperboard packaging.
We follow the same basic construction techniques, but simplify it by eliminating the paper coverings and decorations. In their place, we use paperboard from cereal, cracker and cookie packaging. These cheerful boxes are easier and less expensive to make and have a surreal quality to them.
They are great for storage, gift giving, and decorative use. We’re currently storing safety pins, jewel beads and googly eyes (not edible ones) in them.
The abstraction created from taking the package out of its context can be wonderfully fun. Multiple packages can be used together to create a wild collage of modern advertising with different shapes, colors and fonts. The pfeffernusse box on its own looked like it belonged in December, but combined with the box of pita chips it took on a completely different character.
To get started, download the pattern here (18K pdf). There are three parts to the pattern: the lid, which has smaller rectangular flaps; the interior box, which has a slightly smaller central hexagon, but taller rectangular flaps; and the exterior box frame. The frame is a strip that wraps around the interior box to keep the box walls held in and to give the lid something to rest on. For each set of boxes you make, you’ll only need one lid, but you can use as many pairs of boxes and frames as you like.
This is an ideal project for a laser cutter, but can also be made by printing out the pattern and tracing or gluing it onto your material to cut with a hobby knife. The perforator highlighted on the Make blog would be handy, but scoring with a knife could work as well.
The interior box can be folded with the print facing either in or out. Tape the corners on the outside to help it keep its shape.
Invisible tape is used in this project as it does not detract from the packaging, but other kinds of tape could be used as well. Standard cellophane tape tends to be stronger than invisible tape, and can be more inconspicuous because of its clarity. Decorative foil tape or colored electrical tape could be used to advantage, or even colored dot stickers might be fun for sealing up the box corners.
Slide the inner box into the frame until you have just as much lip as you want. This will need to be consistent among all of the boxes so that they stack neatly. Once you’ve done one, slide the next one on top to get the right spacing. Tape the frame to the bottom of the inner box to keep it from sliding. Glue could be used here as well.
Here are examples of boxes with the printing on the inside and outside of the inner box. The printing on the inside gives it incredible visual pop, but if you’re using these to store smallish parts, you might want a uniform background to see them against.
You can, of course, use this pattern and go back to the traditional construction technique we showed with the business card box, covering the boards with tissue paper and pasting on decorative paper panels.
Now you’re ready to stack your boxes. And put things in them!
So, readers, here’s your challenge: come up with the most outlandish packaging for your boxes. The mix and match possibilities are endless!