Introduction: Paper Container

Very low cost folded paper container, for holding small items (such as screws) during repair, assembly, construction etc.

Can also be used as an envelope for carrying items securely.

It's disposable, recyclable, sustainable, environmentally friendly plus widely and freely available.

Step 1: Making a Paper Square From a Rectangular Sheet

Take a rectangular sheet of paper. In America this could come from a legal pad, or in Europe an A4 notepad.

You are going to use basic paper folding techniques to crop it square.

Use your finger/thumb nails to form sharp, straight creases. If your nails are too short, use the edge of something like a credit card or a plastic ruler.

Step 2: First Corner Fold

Turn down the top right corner, aligning the short edge of the paper accurately with the left, long edge.


If you have made a paper aeroplane, or tried some basic Origami, this move should be famliar to you. Or you may be lucky enough to have some square paper already.

Step 3: Folding the Waste Piece

Open out the diagonal fold you have just made.

Turn up the bottom short edge to make a horizontal fold. This should be parallel to the top edge of the paper. A square will be created when this horizontal fold intersects the bottom right end of the first diagonal crease.

Step 4: Tear Off a Strip

Open out the paper, then remove the waste portion, leaving a square with only one crease in it, the diagonal one. Tear or cut, as you prefer. If tearing, don't worry about any slightly rough edges.

(If you were making a paper aeroplane, the piece you are now discarding would form its tail).

Step 5: Diamond Shape

Rotate the square to form a diamong shape, with the single crease horizontal.

Step 6: Triangle

Lift the bottom point of the diamond up, to meet the top point.

Crease the centre fold sharply.

Step 7: Left Side

Bring the left point of the triangle across to meet and stop at the right, sloping edge. Keep what was the lower left edge of the double skin of paper parallel to the base of the triangle.

Step 8: Right Side

Repeat the previous step, but this time do it for the right side, bringing it over and on top of the left side flap.

Make all the creases sharp, to keep the flaps in place as much as they will. Thinner papers will behave better than thick ones at this stage.

Step 9: Front Top Flap

Fold the top front flap down, over the two side flaps, keeping the fold in line with the points at each side, creasing it sharply to hold them in place. The point will line up with the apex of the small triangle which has appeared by itself at the base of the container.

The top front flap locks things down.

Step 10: Rear Flap

Turn the whole assembly over and fld down the rear flap.

The container is flat at tis stage and you are going to open it out, gently, and squeeze it into a cup shape, or a truncated cone, rather like the ones used in some office drinking water dispensers.

Step 11: Dent the Base

Push your thumb into the base of the container, to make a dimple. It may help to put two or three fingers into the mouth of the cup, to oppose the force of your thumb pushing the paper in..

Step 12: Squeeze Into Shape

Squeeze the folded seams of the sides of the container together, making a cup shape.

The conainer is not free-standing but will lean quite happily against something else.

It's now ready to store those pesky little parts that would otherwise roll off the bench onto the carpet and get lost. You can write notes on it to help you re-assemble things.

Step 13: Envelope

You can squash the container back down almost flat, while keeping its contents inside. Bring the top rear flap over the meet the front flap, forming an envelope.

You can stick the flap down for greater security in transit.

This container has many uses. With the right paper, it will even hold water long enough for you to drink from.

You might also try making some of these from larger sheets of paper, such as newsprint. With the appropriate choice of materials, you can easily fashion silly hats, or create temporary plant pots for example.

Comments

author
AyricaL made it!(author)2016-05-16

Thank you! I needed a small co Rainer for chocolates and have nothing in the jet! Perfect little cup! ✈️

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author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2016-08-02

Neat solution, thanks.

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alund5 made it!(author)2015-10-31

super simple quick container ?

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Puzzledd made it!(author)2011-01-09

Great 'ible, thanks, with very clear and thorough instructions. .. and what good comments, too :)

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peterbryenton made it!(author)2011-01-10

Thank you.

author
Ninzerbean made it!(author)2010-03-03

Very easy directions to follow though I am sure they were far from easy to write out. I was able to make my cup happily stand up just by folding the little points on the bottom inwards, though it will probably fall down if I put too much in to it. This is great and thank you for sharing.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2010-03-03

Thank you. Glad yours stood up on its points.

There are some useful suggestions amngst the comments about this 'ible.

author
josefu0 made it!(author)2008-08-08

it like a cup.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2008-08-09

Yes, it's a paper cup too, thanks josefu0.

author
yokonga made it!(author)2008-05-13

that's cool...

author
jukie made it!(author)2008-01-20

I haven't read through all the comments so I don't know if these things have been mentioned, but I make these for my kids' snacks sometimes and don't have time to cut or tear off the bottom of the magazine page that I've used. So I just leave it attached (keep it folded up and just continue with the folding. Also, I don't use tape and it holds just fine.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2008-01-20

Thanks. Your snack sacks also sound like a good way to encourage young readers. Peter www.brypix.com

author
Mintyhippo made it!(author)2008-01-16

i have been making these since 3 years ago! I was just about to post mine until i saw this. Mine has a cup holder, should i still post?

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2008-01-18

Of course you should post. The great wonder of people is their different approaches to the same ideas. I look forward to seeing your version. Regards, Peter Bryenton www.brypix.com

author
Mintyhippo made it!(author)2008-01-18

thanks, and i will give you partial credit if you want.

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Phoenix2602 made it!(author)2007-10-23

These would be great for holding your dice at an RPG gaming session!

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-10-24

Especially if your character was a magician called Origami.

author
AdamK made it!(author)2007-08-09

Great instructable. I tried printer paper when I did this, only to find that it leaked through the paper itself. I then discovered that I could filter sugar water (but not salt water) with my make-shift filtering cup. Could be a very useful application by chemists if they have the right type of paper. Or even to drain starch out of pasta? Haha

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-09-18

Shame about the salt water: I suddenly had a vision of a gigantic, eco-friendly ocean-based desalination plant.

author
mailkd7 made it!(author)2007-08-10

I just made it, and I am eating Cheesz-Its Out of it right now. Good Instructable! Mmm.... Cheese...

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-09-18

Ah, the old calorie-free container with the calorie-loaded filling trick, eh?

author
blooper made it!(author)2007-03-14

woo-hoo! let's hear it for silly paper hats!

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Tomton made it!(author)2007-07-18

Seconded.

author
gnose made it!(author)2007-07-05

if youre using it for drinking/food and the sheet you have is printed on one side: when you reach step 6 make sure the printed on side faces outwards. when youre done, the inside surface of the cup is blank :)

author
I+HACK made it!(author)2007-05-18

lol great idea thanks

author
lifelong-newbie made it!(author)2007-05-06

Brilliant idea
Tried it at home went into the kitchen, i managed to refill it from tap 8 times, and after that the only damage was a small leak from the bottom, i can imagine this was only bec8ause the water from the tap was hitting it hard. 8 times refill from standardd white A4 paper. Genius.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-05-06

Good, thanks. www.brypix.com

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PVC+marxman made it!(author)2007-05-02

when Im thirsty in school i use these lol

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-05-03

Me too.

author
Cornflower made it!(author)2007-05-02

Used the idea for years. Just to add to it, you can get away without the tape if you flip the right side (step 8) behind the cup, not over the left side, and then in steps 9 and 10 you can tuck the top flaps inside the right and left flaps with the whole thing holding together.

Another thing, I sometimes make a second one out of wax paper or tin foil if I need a drink of water, and put it inside the paper one. Kept the two in my back pocket when visiting another city a few years ago.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-05-03

Elegant solutions, thank you. Peter Bryenton www.brypix.com

author
origamimavin made it!(author)2007-02-24

you know, it wouldn't last too long, but that can also hold water. if you make it out of wax paper or something, it'd hold for a while. the only thing keeping it from holding it longer is whatever paper you use.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-04-02

Good suggestion, thanks.

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iPodTouchMaster08 made it!(author)2007-04-01

WATER CAN GO IN THIS!!!!!!! no i'm serious..

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-04-02

Yes, the wax paper comment here is so much "greener" than plastic cups. Folds back flat again too, for re-use: sustainable!

author
gowithflo made it!(author)2007-03-30

I think this would be great for starting seedlings in too, then just plant right in the soil. I'm going to try it.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-04-02

Thanks: yours is one of the most unusual suggestions I've heard about this in years. I'll tell my friends at the local college of horticulture what you said. Let me know how your seedlings turn out -- maybe some pictures too? Peter Bryenton www.brypix.com

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Ben.land101 made it!(author)2007-02-12

cool

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-02-13

Thank you.

author
blindmen made it!(author)2007-02-11

very good and usefull idea

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-02-12

Thank you.

author
lucashaley made it!(author)2007-02-06

You can make these free-standing by folding the bottom corners into the middle. They then stand quite nicely. Great tutorial!

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-02-06

Thank you. I'll have a go, then photograph & publish the result.

author
Jackie made it!(author)2007-01-21

That is Great . Can't wait to show my Grandson.

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The+Leo made it!(author)2007-01-07

It's a very neat solution. It shouldn't be too hard to make it free-standing. After denting in the base, flatten the points into triangles and fold them up to the base. Pinch round the corners to make them more defined. If you push the dent up more this may work better.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-01-08

Useful suggestion, thanks. I tried it this morning and your ideas worked well.

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Trans_Am made it!(author)2007-01-06

Definite thumbs up.

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peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-01-07

Thanks.

author
trinit made it!(author)2007-01-05

That piece of tape isn't necessary. The side flaps are open at the top; you can actually tuck the top flap into this opening. This simple extra step keeps the sides from unfolding and makes the final product look significantly better.

author
peterbryenton made it!(author)2007-01-06

Excellent point. I tried your suggestion and it worked pefectly, thanks. I like the idea of sharing stuff here, then getting something positive back, quite unexpectedly.

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