Friday, December 09, 2011

Little gifts in little boxes

Our STASH* group has a tradition of little gifts. When one of us goes on a trip or at Christmas or other occasions, we give each other little gifts. Nothing expensive, nothing much, but it has been fun to find nifty little, inexpensive items. When I was in Houston the vendor area there was overwhelming. It was so much visual overload that I could not even focus and didn't buy very much, but I came across a booth of tools that I spent a lot of time in. There I found the perfect gift for the STASH members. Finger lights!

It's a little light that straps to your finger with velcro. It looked like a great aid for hand-sewing. I got one for each of the STASH friends, and one for myself.  When I showed them to fellow Twelve, Diane, in Houston she noted that they were perfect little gifts—useful, but also a little bit funny!

Yesterday STASH met for lunch in downtown Portland—our annual holiday splurge. We went to a lovely Vietnamese restaurant and I took my little gifts to my friends. I made little boxes from recycled magazine pages and I think everyone liked them. Reva said the light was perfect for—chickens. She has urban chickens. I don't know where the light comes in, but if it makes her a better chicken wrangler that's a good thing!

Aren't the little boxes pretty? I finally found a good use for my copies of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine. After subscribing to the magazine I found it just isn't my kind of thing, but it's full of pretty pictures. Want to know how to make these boxes? They are easy.

The ones I made are about 2.5" square and an inch and a half tall. You need to start with a square piece of paper. For this size I start with a 7" square. I choose a page with a nice image on it. The more image, the better, but if there is text toward the edges it ends up inside usually. So it isn't a problem—or the text can be part of the design. Don't be too picky about where the image is or how centered, etc. You never know how the final piece will look and it is usually better than you expected! The serendipity of it is part of its charm. You will need two sheets for a box, so choose two pages that coordinate, more or less.

One will be the top of the box. Trim that page to 7" square. The box bottom needs to be slightly smaller to fit inside the top, so trim that sheet to 6.75" square.  Find the center of the top, on the back side, by running your ruler from corner to corner diagonally and making a mark across the center. Mark it on the opposite diagonal so you have an X marking the center.

Fold each of the four corners into the center.

You will have new, smaller square. Fold one side into the center and crease it sharply. Open it back up, but be sure you can see the fold line. Repeat with the other three sides.

Lay it flat with the last side folds opened so you just see the crease lines.

 Using the fold lines as a guide, cut into two of the opposite sides, to the fold line, as indicated.

Open up the center sections of the sides you cut, fold the other two sides into a box shape, then fold the opened side sections over the folded ends to enclose them.

You can secure the four points in the center inside with a dab of glue or piece of tape, but I usually don't find that necessary. The folded points seem to sort of lock together.

To make the bottom half of the box just repeat these steps with the smaller sheet of paper.

Slip the smaller box into the larger one. Voila! You are finished.

You can vary the sizes depending on the size of your paper. Just be sure to make the bottom from a sheet that is approximately .25" smaller than the larger one. Available paper usually limits the size to fairly small boxes, but larger boxes can be made using pretty shopping bags or posters. The larger boxes should be made from heavier paper than magazine pages.

* STASH = Second Thursday At Somebody's House. There are currently six regular members— all fabric/textile artists/enthusiasts.


  1. Nearly always something shared which is exactly what I wished I knew how to do.

    Make a box. Turkey legs.

    Thank you for the Point picture. All day at work I was trying to imagine the red leaves and the yellow blotches

  2. I have just found your blog from somewhere! But I love the look of these wee boxes...I'm off to try....:-)

  3. I have just made one of these cute boxes and have put a link from my blog to here , I hope this is OK with you.

  4. Somebody (my husband? my mother?) got the kids similar finger lights a few years ago. They were lots of fun at bedtime!

    I love your little boxes. They'd be good for tiny stocking stuffers.

  5. I've heard of head lights, but never finger lights. A great idea for your fellow fabric artists!

    I've always wanted to know how to make a paper box. I will now try this out tomorrow!

  6. I bought finger lights 4 for $2.95 from Amazon with free shipping and just made my first paper boxes using colorful origami paper. I'm meeting old work friends tomorrow for lunch and I have an adorable little box for each of them thanks to your ideas!

  7. I am in total awe of your box-making talent, Terry.
    I flunked the spatial relations test in high school and to this day, flee screaming from the room when I even catch a glimpse of a flattened box that you have to put together. These are little gems.

  8. Thanks for the tutorial. I still have Jackie Gardener's instructions around here somewhere.

    About the fingerlights for the chickens, this time of year it's often dark when I go to secure the lock on their coop, an effort that takes both hands. So a light on an index finger is just perfect.

    Very soon now, I'll get back into my Hawaiian applique, and the fingerlight will prove very handy (no pun intended), I'm sure.

  9. Just discovered this on Pinterest, even though your post is a year old, I love it and will be using this idea to make boxes for my crochet jewelry.
    Thanks a lot!