BY HAND

Turn old greeting cards into little boxes

This small box was made from an old greeting card.
This small box was made from an old greeting card.
Posted March 12, 2013, at 10:54 a.m.
These small boxes were crafted from old greeting cards.
These small boxes were crafted from old greeting cards.

Several weeks ago, a reader from Etna called to ask if I had instructions for making boxes out of old greeting cards. She and a group of other women get together to make items to take to those who are dealing with illness or other life crises. She said her group wanted to make dozens of little boxes that they would fill with tea bags. They also will sew tea wallets for the same purpose.

But instructions for making boxes out of greeting cards were not to be found. That’s when the By Hand reader called me.

I didn’t have instructions for making the boxes either, but somewhere in my dim crafting past I recalled that I had made them, so I actually had a clue. I made a quick foray to the Internet to refresh my memory and within the hour I was crafting a box from a card, sent to me by Christina Heiniger to let me know about the annual Gifted Hand fine art, craft and gift show held each fall in Ellsworth, that had been tacked to my bulletin board for the past several years. (The card was too pretty to toss out.)

I really like the idea of transforming old greetings cards into boxes to serve as containers for small gifts that won’t need to be wrapped because the cover is pretty already. The boxes also can be used for stowing small treasures, such as beach glass, pretty rocks, old stamps you can’t bear to throw away because they are so well designed, buttons, etc. Or it could be used for a portable sewing kit complete with needles, thread and scissors.

To make a box from a greeting card you will need the most basic of tools and materials — a greeting card of any size, scissors, a ruler, a pencil, white glue and eight clothespins.

Here’s what you do:

Cut the card in half. The pretty part will become the top of the box. The “message” part of the card will become the bottom of the box. Cut 1/16 inch off one long side and one short side of the “message” part of the card. This will make the bottom slightly smaller so the top will fit easily over it.

On the reverse side of both pieces of the card, with ruler and pencil, measure and mark one inch from all four edges, then draw those lines. You will have a rectangle shape in the middle of the piece and four small square shapes, one at each corner. With a pointed tool, such as a letter opener or fork tine, place the ruler against the lines and score them — this makes bending the card easier. Then, holding the card with the long side toward you, cut 1 inch from the edge along the two shorter lines. Turn the other long edge of the card toward you and make two more short cuts. Now fold the edges of the card inward along the scored lines. Right away you should see that where you made the four cuts, you now have four little tabs flapping in the breeze. Apply a bit of white glue to the tabs, one at a time, and fix each one to the side adjacent to it. Clamp each tab with a clothespin or a paperclip and let it dry for several hours. Construct the other part of the the box the same way.

If you don’t want to mess with glue, use tape or a stapler of hold the box together, but it won’t look as nice.

Bear in mind that making boxes from greeting cards can qualify as a binge craft. If you find yourself up to your armpits in these little beauties, call me immediately. I’ll talk you out of it.

Snippets

Sandy Spiller of Essentially Felt in Glenburn reports that swatches knitted at a recent Blue Sky Alpaca “yarn tasting” were stitched together to make a scarf that was donated to the Greater Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.

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