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Picture of Ribbon Dispenser Box
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This instructable was created as an entry in the Esty and Instructables collaboratory Sew Useful contest. It will take you through the materials and steps needed to create a segmented, hinge-topped box designed to dispense spooled ribbon in an organized and efficient way; a perfect contribution to any crafters' shelf.
 
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Step 1: Gather materials

Picture of Gather materials
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You will need the following materials:
1. Illustration board -black, 18" X 24"
2. Decorative paper, 18" X 24"
3. Cutting mat
4. Metal ruler
5. Craft knife
6. Single hole punch
7. Permanent spray adhesive
8. Acid-free glue stick
9. Gaffer's tape, black
10. Folding bone
11. High temperature glue gun
12. Pencil
13. Charcoal pencil, white

NOTES: You can substitute any type of sturdy cardboard material for the illustration board; however, I like the black material and I happened to have it on hand.

Make sure your hot glue gun is a high-temp version. The higher temperature means that you can make adjustments to your positioning for a longer period of time than with the cold-temp guns. With that in mind, be careful of your fingers!

Gaffer's tape is just a really sticky kind of masking tape.

Step 2: Cutting out your box pieces

Picture of Cutting out your box pieces
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For this step you will need the illustration board, cutting mat, ruler and craft knife.

Lay your board out on the cutting mat and position your ruler to create the dimensions listed below. Hold the ruler tight to the board and make multiple light passes with your craft knife until you feel the cutting mat underneath. Because many of the dimensions repeat, you can always use the first piece cut as a stencil for the next, just be careful not to shave anything off of your first piece.

You will need a total of 18 pieces to complete this box.
DIMENSIONS:
[2] Top and bottom - 10 5/8" X 4 1/2"
[2] Front and back - 10 5/8" X 3 1/4"
[2] Left and right - 4 3/8" X 3 1/4"
[12] Dividers - 4 3/8" X 3"

NOTES: The easiest and safest way to cut illustration board is to use multiple light cuts. This way, you get a clean cut, but if your edge turns out ragged, you can always sand it down with a little sandpaper.

Step 3: Plan your segments

Picture of Plan your segments
For this step you will need the white charcoal pencil, metal ruler, one each of the 10 5/8" X 4 1/2" and 10 5/8" X 3 1/2" pieces of cut illustration board.

Starting with at the edge of the 10 5/8" X 4 1/2" piece, with the white pencil mark out 3/4" then 1/16", then 3/4" and so on. Please see the picture for details. You need to place 1/16" between your 3/4" because this is the width of the board you will place there to divide the sections. This piece will become the bottom of your box.

Line up the 10 5/8" X 3 1/2" piece with the marked bottom piece. On this new piece, you want to mark the center of the segments. Please see the picture for details. This will tell you where the notches will go that will feed your ribbon evenly out of the box. This piece will become the front of your box.

NOTE: If you are concerned about mixing up pieces, you may write the names of the box pieces (i.e. bottom, left, divider) on each piece in white pencil to help you keep them straight.

Step 4: Cutting out your ribbon notches

Picture of Cutting out your ribbon notches
For this step you will need the single hole punch, cutting mat, craft knife, and marked front piece from step three (10 5/8" X 3 1/4").

Center the single hold punch over each mark on the board. Allow 1/4 of the punch to hang over the side of the board. When you press the punch you should end up with a 3/4 circle mark embossed on your front piece. Repeat this action until every mark has been embossed.

Unless you have an extremely powerful punch, you will now need to cut out the remainder of the notch with your craft knife using the embossed marks as your guide. Take your time and use multiple, light passes to remove the unwanted material. If your edge is rough, you can use some sandpaper to smooth it down.

Step 5: Lay out your box

Picture of Lay out your box
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For this step you will need the decorative paper, pencil, and the bottom, front, back and side pieces of illustration board.

Lay your decorative paper face down on the work surface. Position your box pieces as shown in the picture. Make sure to leave 1/16" - 1/8" between the pieces and 1/2" between the pieces and the edge of the paper.

With your pencil, trace around the box pieces and a line 1/2" from the outside edge of the pieces. At the corners, place angled marks as shown in the second picture.

Step 6: Cutting out your covering paper

Picture of Cutting out your covering paper
For this step you will need the decorative paper, ruler, cutting mat and craft knife.

Remove the box pieces from the decorative paper. Using your pencil lines as a guide, cut along the outside of the 1/2" line. Reserve your leftover paper for covering the top of the box later. Make four, 45 degree angle cuts from the corners of the pencil drawing of the bottom of the box to the outside edge of the paper. This will help with the folding.

Step 7: Begin covering the box

Picture of Begin covering the box
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For this step you will need the decorative paper, permanent spray adhesive, folding bone, glue stick and the bottom and side pieces of your box.

Beginning with the bottom piece, spray the unmarked side with the spray adhesive. Use a distance of at least six inches for an even coat of spray glue. Place the bottom piece, spray side down, onto the appropriate pre-marked space on the decorative paper. Flip the now glued together paper and board over and use the folding bone to burnish the surface so that the outside of the box will have no air bubbles. Flip your paper and board back to the underside. Repeat steps until all your pieces are glued to the decorative paper.

Please note that when placing the pieces, be sure to leave 1/16" -1/8" space between them which should be reflected in your previously made marks. If you do not leave this space, you will tear your paper when you fold up the sides to make the box.

Starting with the right side corner, place some glue from the glue stick on the paper and illustration board. Then fold up the corner along your previous angled markings until you have created a 45degree angle on the top and side of the paper. Then, use more glue and fold down the top edge and side edge. This is very much like wrapping a present. Repeat until both sides are fully wrapped as shown.

NOTES: When using spray adhesive, work in a well-ventilated area. It is toxic and flammable. I also wear a breathing mask. If it gets on your hands, WD40 or GooGone work very well to remove it.

Step 8: Continue covering the box

Picture of Continue covering the box
For this step you will need the decorative paper, permanent spray adhesive, folding bone, glue stick, craft knife, single hole punch and the front piece of your box.

Using the same instructions for placing the pieces as before and beginning with the front piece, spray the unmarked side with the spray adhesive. Use a distance of at least six inches for an even coat of spray glue. Place the front piece, spray side down, onto the appropriate pre-marked space on the decorative paper. Be sure that your notches are pointed to the bottom of the decorative paper when you place the piece. Flip the now glued together paper and board over and use the folding bone to burnish the surface so that the outside of the box will have no air bubbles.

Flip the paper and board back to the underside. Carefully cut off the excess paper from only the edge of the piece with the notches, leaving wings on the sides. Use the hole punch to cut the paper from inside the notches. Do not cut the paper from the sides.

Step 9: Finish covering the box

Picture of Finish covering the box
For this step you will need the decorative paper, permanent spray adhesive, folding bone, glue stick, and the back piece of your box.

Repeat the instructions from step eight to attach the back piece, but do not cut away any paper from this piece.

Using the same instructions from step seven, glue down only the top edge of the excess paper to the back piece. Do not glue down the sides. Your construction should look like the photo at this point.

Step 10: Constructing the box

Picture of Constructing the box
For this step, you will need your paper covered box pieces, glue stick, folding bone and the high temperature glue gun.

Beginning with the right side, run a bead of hot glue into the crevasse between the side and the bottom of the box. Slowly and carefully fold the side up into proper position, at a 90degree angle to the bottom of the box. Hold steady until the glue sets, about forty seconds. Repeat on the left side, then the front and back sides. At this point, you should have a open-top box which is not glued on the corner edges.

Notice in the photo the paper tabs at the corner edges. Position the box so that you can apply glue from the glue stick onto the tabs. Then fold the tabs to attach them to the sides of the box. Now your corner edges are closed, and this completes the basic box form construction.

Step 11: Inserting the dividers

Picture of Inserting the dividers
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For this step you will need the high temperature glue gun, gaffer's tape, cutting mat, craft knife, and divider pieces.

Lay out a piece of gaffer's tape onto your cutting mat. With your craft knife, cut twenty-four 1/2" pieces. Attach one 1/2" piece of tape to the short side of each divider.

Using the high temperature glue gun, run a bead of glue along one of your pre-marked lines on the inside of the bottom of the box. Pick up your first divider and pinch the tape pieces in so they don't catch on the sides of the box during positioning. Slide the divider into place and hold securely until the glue sets. Stabilize the divider with the pre-placed pieces of tape. Repeat until all of the dividers are glued into the box.

NOTE: I worked in from both sides to the middle and I didn't have any problems with getting the hot glue gun into the small space.

Step 12: Making the box top

Picture of Making the box top
For this step you will need the reserved decorative paper, permanent spray adhesive, folding bone, cutting mat, craft knife, and top box piece.

Lay the top box piece onto the decorative paper. Cut out a piece of paper the same size as the box piece. Spray the paper with adhesive and apply to the box piece. Burnish with the folding bone to ensure a smooth seal.

Step 13: Covering the box top

Picture of Covering the box top
For this step you will need the reserved decorative paper, permanent spray adhesive, craft knife, folding bone, pencil, and top box piece.

Place the box piece back onto the decorative paper. Cut out a piece of paper 1/2" larger on all sides than the box piece. Trace the outside of the box piece with the pencil. Spray the unpapered side of the box piece with the spray glue and apply to the marked out spot on the larger piece of decorative paper. Burnish with the folding bone to ensure a smooth seal. With the craft knife, cut 40degree wedges in the overhanging paper edges to the corners of the box piece.

Step 14: Finish covering the box top

Picture of Finish covering the box top
For this step you will need the pieces from step 13 and the glue stick.

Starting with the right side, place some glue from the glue stick on the paper and illustration board. Then fold up the paper so that it covers the edge of the box top. Repeat until both short sides and one long side is fully wrapped as shown. Leave one side unwrapped because this is the side we will use to attach the top to the box.

Step 15: Attach the top to the box

Picture of Attach the top to the box
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For this step you will need the base box, box top, glue stick, folding bone, gaffer's tape and craft knife.

Using the glue stick, apply glue to the unwrapped flap on the box top. Position the top on the box and secure the glued side to the back of the base box with the folding bone. Cut a strip of gaffer's tape and reinforce the inner hinge of the box lid.

Step 16: Fill and Use

Picture of Fill and Use
For this step you need stuff to put into your box.

Your box is now complete. Add your ribbon spools and you are ready to go. Obviously, there are many different variations to this project. Depending on the dimensions you want you could have it dispense stamps or sticker or rope or make a segmented box for organizing photos or anything else. The possibilities are as varied as your individual needs. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial. For other projects and creations, please visit my journal: [www.donovanbeeson.blogspot.com] or my Etsy shop: [www.donovanbeeson.etsy.com]

Yours in craft,
Donovan
What is a folding bone? I'm excited to try this as I have 100s of spools of ribbon since I make hair bows.
donovanbeeson (author)  sarahlynnmurphy1 year ago
You can find them at hobby, craft, and art stores. It's a piece of plastic or length of cow bone that's been polished into a tool to help score and fold things neatly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c92JRUrarPo
kkinser7 years ago
I loved this box and I immediately made my own. It isn't as neat as yours but it does the trick and I love that I made it! Thanks for the tutorial!
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arthessa7 years ago
Amazing tutorial! I just finished mine. Take a look at the results. BTW, Love the materials and tools' background. How did you do that? Thanx Millertime!
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donovanbeeson (author)  arthessa7 years ago
I actually just set up the materials on the decorative paper I was going to use for covering the box. Thanks for looking!
moosieknits8 years ago
I love this and I so need one, right now my ribbons are hidden in a shoe box, very crafty, thanks for the tutorial
starrieyed8 years ago
This is a great instructable! And very useful for us crafters! Thank you for sharing and good luck!
karen6088 years ago
Wow, first time I saw a project where even the box was made to size. This could work for any spool item, like jewelry wires, too. Very exact instructions and great photos. Would make a nice gift for a craft person, also.