This is a guest post from an expert on all things art and crafts Melanie Falick*
When I was a little girl my father taught architecture at a high school in Brooklyn. Sometimes his students came to visit us at our house and one in particular stands above all others in my memory because he constructed a couch for my dollhouse out of cardboard. I was so amazed by his ability and always hoped that either he would come back or another student with his skill would come next. In fact, I recall saving pieces of cardboard just in case.
I remembered this story while I was taking instructor Liana Allday’s Creativebug class How to Fold a Paper Box. Within just a few minutes and with just a few easy folds, I was able to take a flat, square piece of paper and transform it into a pretty square “treasure chest.” I held my small creation with amazement, just as I had held that small couch.
Liana’s class lasts all of 12 minutes and I was almost able to keep up and make a box alongside her—without pausing the video—on my first try. The only place where I hesitated was at around 6 minutes in, when all of the important preparatory folds had been made with the bone folder and the third wall of the box was to be joined to the first two. Liana instructed me to “pinch” and “tuck” the paper where it folds naturally. I had to rewind a couple of times before I figured out how to do this. (Of course, now that I understand the maneuver, it looks quite clear in the video.)
You may breeze through this without a moment’s hesitation. If that happens, great. Skip to the next paragraph. But if you do get caught up, here is a photo with my step-by-step interpretation that may help you (be sure to follow the steps in numerical order). Also, I found that the crisper my folds, the easier the box came together. To make crisp folds, press down assertively with the bone folder.
Once you get the hang of it, I imagine that you will be like me and keep on going with all sorts of paper you find around the house. I made boxes with origami paper and with paper from two books—Heather Ross Prints and Flow Book for Paper Lovers—plus some heavy watercolor paper. The heavier paper took significantly more effort to fold but yielded a very sturdy box. My boxes are all around 3” – 4” square because the paper I started out with was about 7” – 8” square. Liana makes bigger boxes using good-quality giftwrap in the video.
Now what to do with all of these boxes? Gifts, jewelry storage, love notes, sewing notions—these all seem like good ideas to me. But more than anything, I’m hoping I’ll have the chance to entertain some children with my box-making skills. I can make them treasure chests right before their eyes. I think it’s time for me to learn how to make a cardboard couch as well.
*Melanie Falick is a creative consultant and freelance editor and writer. She is the former publishing director of STC Craft, an imprint of Abrams. She also teaches several Creativebug classes, including Leather Wrap Bracelets. Connect with her on social media, as follows: