Introduction: Scrapbook Paper Secret Compartment Box

I love scrap booking paper and decorations, but I do not make scrap books.  As a result I am always looking for ways to use the pretty papers that are available everywhere!  This is a box within a box, a removable inner box that hides a secret compartment underneath. 

Step 1:

Round up all your measuring and cutting tools.  I use quilting rulers a lot for cutting paper.  Also squares and rulers.  I use a cutting knife with break off blades.  Break off the blades frequently and use a sharp blade for best cutting results.  I use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut fabric. 

You will also need lots of glue. Use a good quality white glue.   And clamps.  I like to use adjustable clamps to control the pressure.  I use an old brush to spread the glue evenly.

The finished box will be coated in layers of matte acrylic medium to protect the paper.

The boxes are made of foam core board and matte board.  This is what I had around from other projects.  You can use whatever you have.  Corrugated cardboard would work, also.  I used some fabric scraps that coordinated with the papers I chose.  You will  need some polyester stuffing material.  

And of course you will need pretty paper to cover the box with.  Each box is covered inside and out with decorative paper.  How much you will need will depend on the size box you are making.  My box is 7" tall and approximately 3" square.  The box body is 5" tall and the lid is 2".  The secret space is 1" tall.  It is lined with padding and fabric so the secret items will not make noise if they move around.  This padding creates the support the inner box sets on to conceal the space.  The bottom of the inner box is also padded.

Step 2:

First decide what shape and size you want your box.  I think a tall narrow box lends itself best to this particular idea.  The inner and outer box are the same height.  The inner box sticks above the outer box for the lid to sit around, held up by the padded supports of the secret compartment.  This gives the illusion of the inner box being the full height of the outer box.

This box is 7" tall and about 3" square.  I say about because the foam board is 3/16" thick and this adds to the size.  I will give you the dimensions of the pieces I cut for my box, and you can adjust yours from there.

Foam Core Board-Exterior:
                                                                                 
box side, cut 4 - 3 1/4"x 5"                                                                                
top side, cut 4 - 3 1/4"x 2"                                                                                 
bottom, cut 1 - to be determined                                                                        
top, cut 1 - to be determined

Matte Board-Interior:

box side, cut 4 - 2 3/4"x 5"
bottoms & tops, cut 6 - 2 3/4"x 2 3/4"
inside supports, cut 8 - 2 3/4"x 1"

You will also need some pieces of fabric:
supports, cut 4 - 2"x 3 3/4"
top & bottom, cut 2 - 3 3/4"x 3 3/4"

The inner pieces are smaller than to outer pieces to accommodate the extra thickness the paper will add when the pieces are covered.  You want the inner box small enough to fit inside the outer box, but not too loose.  It depends on the materials you are using to figure out this ease.  Covering the pieces with card stock would make the inner pieces bigger than covering with paper.  I made this box once and when I put the inner box in it split out the side of the outer box. 

Step 3:

Now decide how you will use the papers.  Both sides of each box must be covered with paper.  I want the least bulk where the two boxes are together, so wrap the outer side of the inner box and the inner side of the outer box first.  Cut your paper  1" larger all around each piece.  Center each box side on the appropriate paper and smoothly glue down.  Turn over and smooth the paper to the board.  Remove the corners of the papers and wrap the paper to the other side and glue.  Trim the corner angle a little wide so the paper does not show on the front after gluing. 

Step 4:

To make the padded secret compartment, use the 8 - 1" pieces.  Glue them together in pairs to form 4 supports.  Glue the wrong side of the fabric 1/4"-3/8" in along one long side of each support and top and bottom.  After the glue dries turn the piece over, put a dab of glue on on each and press some fiber fill onto each.  Tuck the fiber fill in and wrap the fabric over fiber fill and glue along other long edge of each support, top and bottom.  Let dry, then tuck the rest of the fiberfill in along the other edges.  I folded and pinned the corners in and then glued and clamped the remaining edges.

Step 5:

Next, construct the inner box.  I was able to use one piece of paper to make the inner liner of the box.  I glued the pieces out from a center fold.  Leave one side partially unglued so the extra paper can be glued behind it when the sides are joined into the box shape.  There is extra at each end.  The other is glued to the inside of the box.  Extra paper at bottom will be used to attach the box bottom and secret compartment top.  After the sides are dry, turn box upside down and arrange the paper as shown.  Glue the padded compartment top to the papers.  Glue the box bottom in place on the interior.

Step 6:

When the inner box has dried, wrap it in wax paper.  Use it to support the outer box sides.  Glue the side in place as shown.  Use rubber bands to hold it together.  I used the grid on the cutting mat to keep it square while drying.  Assemble the sides to the top in the same way.  After they are glued, measure the opening and cup a piece of foam board to fit exactly.  For this box top it was a strong 3", not quite 1/16".  Cover one side of foam core with decorative paper, and glue in place with the decorative side to the inside.

Step 7:

When the outer box has dried, glue the secret compartment supports to the inside of the box bottom.  Position them up a little as shown, to accommodate the compartment's padded bottom piece.  The pieces will fit snugly and may need to be coaxed into place.  I glued and clamped 3 supports in and let dry.  Then the last was wedged into place.   Measure the outer dimension of the box and cut a piece of foam board to fit.  In this case it was 3 1/2 ".  Glue the padded bottom centered on this piece, and then glue to the box bottom edges.

Step 8:

Now it is time to cover the outside of the box.  Put the inner box in place and put the lid on.  For this box I needed 2 pieces each 7 1/2"x 10 7/8".  Lightly draw a line 1 3/4" from both short ends of each paper.  These are the placement lines.  Fold one long edge of each at 3 1/2".  Fold the other long edge of each at 1/2 ".   Glue the whole box to the paper.  Make sure the 1/2" tab is glued under the long edge of the other paper.   I used my blade to mark the line between the top and bottom with a thin slit in the paper.  Do this in a couple places while you are gluing on the paper so you can cut the pieces apart when dry.

At each end I cut slim wedges at each fold of the extended paper.  These pieces should meet in the middle when folded over the bottom and top of the box.  I box folded and glued the paper to the foam board.

Starting at one of the marking slits, carefully cut the top and bottom apart.  Use a very sharp blade, work slowly and smoothly and do not cut too deep!  You do not want to damage the inner box.  Be careful to join the cuts smoothly.

Step 9:

Time to decorate!  I covered a 3 1/4" square of matte board with paper, and glued it to the box top.  Then I wrapped and glued ribbon around the box ,  starting at the center top wrapping down one side, across the bottom and up the other side, meeting and cutting at the center top.  Do this with another piece of ribbon on the other sides.  After the ribbon dries, carefully cut apart top and bottom with the utility blade. 

Coat all paper surfaces with matte acrylic medium.  Use at least 3 coats.

Decorate with anything you want.  I am using stickers and ribbon, but the choices are endless.  We all have our own style.  Use the things you love to make it uniquely yours.

Step 10:

Pretty boxes to hide your treasures in!

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