The one thing that annoys me about board games is all the wasted space in the packaging. Anyone who collects board games knows the struggle of having space for everything. My solution was to remove all unnecessary space from the game box.
My example will use Settlers of Catan but you can apply this technique to any game.
- Empty and assess the contents of the game.
- Find the optimal organization of the contents.
- Tear down and rebuild the box.
- Use a light weight sculpting material to fill in the negative space, so everything stays in place and its easier to pack.
My finished repackaged box is exactly half the size of the original box.
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Step 1: Assess Your Game
As an example, let's take a look at Settlers of Catan.
The formed plastic holds all the pieces in near the top. Everything under the black plastic is just air.
Remove all the pieces from your game that you need to play. Discard anything you won't need (molded plastic, stickers, etc.). I've also set the manual aside since that will be dealt with later.
Step 2: Optimize Components
Start with your largest, most awkward pieces and start adding the next largest pieces, finding the most efficient way to combine them. Try different combinations.
Measure and draw a line once you are confident everything can fit on one side. Outline the major pieces that will fit on the bottom.
Step 3: Rebuild the Box
Your main line needs to be scored on the bottom and cut on the sides.
Use something to make a perfect right angle.
Now you can fold it in. Mark another line where you'll cut off the excess (see photo) and cut it off. You can use duct tape to hold it in place temporarily.
Remove the duct tape. Use hot glue to close the box. Test fit the game pieces and adjust your lines if needed.
Repeat this technique to rebuild the box lid.
Step 4: Mold Shapes to Fill the Negative Space
Using the lines you sketched earlier as a guide, use some modelling clay to make shapes to fill in the spaces.
I used Sculpey UItralight, which is as light as it sounds. I also found some similiar "Soft Clay" material at a dollar store that can also be baked to harden.
Follow the package directions to bake the molding clay into hard shapes.
Test fit. You can take a photo with your phone for reference later.
Step 5: Glue, Gesso and Paint
For aesthetic purposes, I painted gesso inside of the box. This seals and primes the cardboard. Let dry.
Glue the clay shapes into the box. Use the photo you took for reference.
Once the glue is set, paint over the gesso and clay shapes with white paint. Let dry.
Step 6: Optional: Add a Sheet of Felt to the Lid for a Dice Box.
Cut some felt to fit the lid and glue it down.