Introduction: TARDIS-inspired Fitted Wand Box
Some of you may have seen my other instructable, "Sonic Screwdriver Wand: Doctor Who meets Harry Potter", where I describe how I constructed a combination of a Doctor Who Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver and Romana's Screwdriver into a combination of Screwdriver and wand. Basically, if The Doctor lived in that mixed universe, what he would be using. At least that was the idea.
Anyway, I was making said Screwdriver Wand for a friend of mine and while it's alright on its own, it's boring to give someone just the wand. I remembered that in Harry Potter, many wands are made by and bought at Ollivander's, who keeps them in neat little boxes, stacked up all the way to the roof.
So to present my Sonic Wand in style I figured I'd make a foam-protected, fitted, TARDIS-styled box out of posterboard for my Sonic Screwdriver wand as if it was made by Ollivander (with a couple of modifications).
I apologize to all fans of Doctor Who and/or Harry Potter for getting some basic barely recognizeable shapes together and calling this a TARDIS-style wand box. I kind of feel like I'm doing the equivalent of "just glueing some gears on it and calling it steampunk", but if anyone sees this box out of context and says it reminds him of the TARDIS or Ollivander's wand boxes then this will be a win in my book, because that's exactly the intention behind it.
Make some sort of frankenstein'd box that shows elements from Doctor Who and Harry Potter while providing some protection for the wand.
This instructable makes use of sharp tools such as cutter knives and, if you end up using one, hot wire foam cutters which can burn you. Be careful, watch what you are doing and how you are handling your tools. Make sure to cut away from you, keep the blades sharp, try never to force the blade and keep anything that can bleed out of the blades' way. Pretty much the same goes for the hot wire: Keep your hands / body out of its way.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
- Ruler (metal with cutting edge / rail if possible)
- Pencil (I used a silver metallic gel pen so you can see the lines better in the pictures)
- Cutter knife
- Exacto knife
- Bone creasing / folding tool (optional)
- Single edge safety straight razor blades (optional)
- Hot wire foam cutter (optional)
- Light blue posterboard
- Dark blue posterboard
- Black posterboard (very little needed)
- White posterboard (very little needed)
- Glue for paper / cardboard (For this one I tried Marabu Fixo Gum, a rubber cement. Seems to work great!)
- Glue for fabric / foam (Again, I used Marabu Fixo Gum with mixed results. You should get something better)
- Foam pads
- Fabric of choice
Step 2: Construct the Bottom Part
Step 1: Imagine all the people, wait, I meant dimensions
It's important to have the dimensions of the wand or object in question in mind.
My wand has a maximum diameter of a bit more than 2cm and a length of just about 36cm. With foam padding a box of about 4x4x40cm would do, but I want a slightly bigger one as I might add some additional stuff. Or not, I don't really know yet, but I'll account for it anyway.
So what I want is a box about 8cm wide, 6cm high and 40cm long. This addidional width, length and height will also account for dimension loss caused by several layers worth of cardboard as well as leave enough room for fitted foam padding.
So let's calculate just how large that posterboard strip we need is going to be:
Intended width + 4x intended height = Width of the posterboard strip (8 + 4*6 = 32cm)
Indented length + 4x intended height = Length of the posterboard strip (40 + 4*6 = 64cm)
Cut a posterboard strip of the correct dimensions (32x64cm) using a sharp cutter knife.
Due to my flap design some flaps (especially the outer flaps) might end up being a tad too short to cover the box all the way down to the bottom. For a fitted box filled with foam pads this is irrelevant, but if you want to make a simple box without filling, add a safety margin of about 5 milimeters to all directions / any of the outer flaps just in case.
Step 2: Sketch the box (picture #1)
Now that we have our strip we can mark down where cuts and where fold lines will be.
I marked every crease with a dashed line and every cut with a full line using a silver metallic gel pen just so you will see it better in the pictures.
You can go with different flap designs and dimensions, but this will result in a really nice-looking box.
Step 3: Cut It, Crease It, Fold It, stretch It (picture #2)
I cut every line that needed to be cut using a cutter knife. Be sure to use a sharp blade and a metal ruler with a cutting edge for clean cuts.
The reason I made the side flaps of the long outer flaps 6x4cm instead of 6x6cm is that the box bottom is only 8cm wide and I did not want those flaps to overlap, adding unnecessary thickness to the side ends of the box.
As I recently started to invest in some leatherworking tools I have the pleasure of using a bone creasing tool to mark the creases of the box before folding it. It is an incredibly useful tool and quite affordable to boot. Just run it along every crease line once or twice with a bit of pressure and the folding gets so much cleaner and easier! Alternatively you could use an empty ballpoint pen or pretty much anything with a rounded, non-sharp point/edge.
Next I folded every single piece a full 180 degrees in one and then the other direction to work the fold a bit for easier glueing later on.
Step 4: Glue it together (pictures #3 - #7)
I started with one side of the box by attaching the 6x6cm flaps of the short inner flap to the long inner flap. Just so that I don't have to wait ages I used crazy glue for these, but rubber cement for the rest.
The glued pieces were held together and put under pressure for about a minute so I was sure they would stick. It helps to put the surface currently being glued on a flat surface (basically, press down against your table).
The process was repeated for the other flap on the same side of the box so you ended up with picture #3.
Pictures #4 + #5:
Now that the long inner flap has been secured, the long outer flap including attached mini-flaps can be glued.
I put on glue as seen in picture #4, then folded the long flap over while keeping the small flaps out of the way and pressed the long flap down first. It helps to run a metal ruler or your fingernail along the crease line to prevent it from popping back up. Long flap firmly pressed down I moved on to the attached short flaps and pressed them down as well. The result can be seen in picture #5.
The process from the pictures #3 - #5 has been repeated on the other long side so that I ended up with picture #6.
This only left the outer flaps of the box bottom, to which glue was applied in the same manner as seem previously, then they were folded inside and firmly pressed down for a minute.
The bottom box is now done!
Well, at least its shell is finished. We still have to work on the filling later on.
Step 3: Construct the Lid
Because this will be a TARDIS-themed box, the lid should match that theme in more than just the basic color.
As such the lid will be a bit more complicated than the bottom part of the box.
Step 1: Dimensions
Like with the box bottom construction, we need to work out the exact dimensions so that the lid will fit perfectly.
We also have to take into account that as the lid will be made from folded-up posterboard, its inside will actually get smaller as we construct it. This has to get accounted for.
My bottom box is now (due to warping in the middle) 8.2-9.5cm wide and has a length of 39.8-40cm. I can count on the lid to show similar size deviation, which is why I will go for a base width of 8.5cm and a base length of 40.5cm. Remember, padding is easy, but the lid can't magically be made larger. So I want the lid to be slightly larger than the base and have a height of about 2cm.
Now then, let's calculate just how large that carboard strip we need is going to be:
Intended width + 4x intended height = Width of the posterboard strip (8.5 + 4*2 = 16.5cm)
Indented length + 4x intended height = Length of the posterboard strip (40.5 + 4*2 = 48.5cm)
I used a cutter knife to cut the strip of 16.5x48.5cm.
The 2cm height of the lid compared to 6cm height of the box makes it seem a bit small, especially for such a box time. Next time I'd probably go with a lid height of 4cm. Also I could've made the lid a tad shorter and more narrow, just one or two millimeters, for an even better fit.
Step 2: Sketch the box (picture #1)
As with the bottom part we can now mark where cut and where fold lines will be. This time though we have to make a couple more design decisions as the lid will have to look similar to a / the TARDIS. I went with a design showing the windows, hinting at doors and using the dark blue tiles as well as the black box which read "Police Box".
Again, I marked every crease with a dashed line and every cut with a full line using a silver metallic gel pen just so you will see it better in the pictures.
I went with the same flap design as for the bottom as it's pretty robust and works well.
Step 3: Cut 'N Crease (picture #2)
This time instead of a cutter knife I used an exacto knife to do most of the cutting work as there are a lot more and more intricate cuts to be made.
The bone creasing tool was used once more to pre-work every single crease, then those pieces were folded once or twice to really get that edge correct working well.
Step 4: Change of color (pictures #3 + #4)
The TARDIS has a black sign with the text "Police Box" (which I will not add), white windows and dark blue tiles.
To get those, I first cut two small pieces of white posterboard and glued them to the back side of the lid right behind the cut-out windows. A piece of black posterboard was used the same way to get the black sign simulated.
For the dark blue tiles I cut two pieces of dark blue posterboard which were just 2mm smaller than the middle of the lid, glued those into a stack to add stability and then glued this stack to the back of the lid as well.
I now have a lid sadwich consisting of light blue, black & white, dark blue and another dark blue layer of posterboard.
This ought to be sturdy enough. To let the glue dry while under pressure I put the lid between two pieces of corrugated cardboard and put a couple kilograms' worth of stuff on top of it. Finally those ring binders full of my university stuff can be put to good use!
Step 4: Lids, assemble! (picture #5)
As the lid has the same folding / flap design as the bottom of the box you can assemble it in exactly the same way as you did with the bottom of the box. There's really no need for me to repeat that, right? Good.
As you can see, the lid fits the box pretty well and I'd say the design is somewhat recognizeable.
Step 4: Foam Fitting
The foam pads I have are about 1cm thick. As the wand is about 2cm high and I wand all-around protection I will go with three layers of foam, one as a bottom piece and two more for the fitting.
Step 1: Foam strips (picture #1)
At first I intended to use a cutter knife to cut the foam into three 8cm wide strips that fit the bottom box perfectly. The results were not very satisfying. I moved on to much sharper single edge straight safety razor blades, which worked pretty well, but still not quite as good as I'd want them to. To be more precise, using them gives a good enough result, but takes too much time for my taste. Finally I tried a hot wire foam cutter and as expected, the tool specifically made for the job did it perfectly.
I stacked those three foam strips one over another and secured them with pins as I needed to reduce both width and length of them to get a 1 or 2mm wide gap to either side to account for the fabric. This second run also ensured that all edges aligned perfectly.
Step 2: Fitting Template (picture #2)
I took my Sonic Screwdriver Wand paper template that I used for building my wand and coated its back with two layers of duct tape for heat protection just in case, then cut it out using an exacto knive. The template does not have to be that precise as the fabric and foam will work in our favor.
Pins were used to secure the template in two layers of foam (2 layers = 2cm height = wand height).
After cutting out the shape using my hot wire foam cutter I test-fitted the wand and it was actually a too tight fit, even without the fabric. I used a silver gel marker to freehand a shape around the semi-fitted wand and cut this one out. Should've probably done it like this in the first place, but it's learning by doing, right? Mistakes are some of the best teachers there are, after all.
Again, razor blades work just fine for this, especially since the foam does not have to be perfect as it will be covered with fabric afterwards. A specialized tools such as a hot wire foam cutter just makes things easier and faster.
Step 3: Houston, we have a fit! (pictures #3 + #4)
I inserted the wand and luckily this time it fit quite well. To check how it worked with fabric I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric and loosely fit it into the recess, then put in the wand. I also inserted that fabric-wrapped foam with the wand into the box to see if the length and width worked, and they did.
I love it when a plan comes together :D
Step 4: Glue foam, cut and glue fabric (pictures #5 - #6)
I used generous amounts of rubber cement to glue the layers of foam together. I pressed each layer down once or twice to make sure the glue soaks in quite well. I do not know if rubber cement is a good choice here, but a test strip worked good enough for this application. Remember, when in doubt, try it on a test strip first!
I cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the whole foam and to wrap around it.
Next I tested if the glue would show through the fabric with a scrap piece of fabric and foam. It also served as a test of how well those two would hold together. About an hour later I've gotten my answer: The bond is not very strong, but it holds and the glue does not come through. Good enough for me, though for a better result I'd really consider sewing the fabric to the foam instead of using inadequate glue as a makeshift solution.
What I did was to put a lot of glue into the bottom of the recess and attaching the fabric to it. Next I added glue to the sides, then the top, wrapping the fabric around and straightening it as much as possible. The fabric on the sides was cut shorter and stuffed beneath the foam, getting secured with some glue. It will mostly be kept in place by pressure of the boxes' walls and bottom. Not the best solution, but it works.
Step 5: Finishing the Box
I wanted the lid to be padded as well, but the fabric would've stood in the way of a good glue bond. I therefore decided to not wrap this foam pad in any fabric. Also, as this is meant to be an Ollivander-ish wand box, there's a need for some stickers / decals.
Step 1: Cut the foam strip (picture #1)
I started out with cutting a foam strip a bit smaller than the inside of the lid, leaving something between 3 and 5mm room to the sides. I put it in its intended position and closed the box upside-down just to see if it would work well.
Step 2: Attaching the foam strip (picture #2)
Once more a generous amount of rubber cement was applied to the foam pad and it was glued to the lid.
I let the glue dry overnight.
Step 3: Sticker / decal design and printing
While the glue was drying I could work on the sticker and decal designs.
I'd love to put mine up here, but I'm afraid that as I have mostly used designs by other people, slightly modified to suit my needs and those people themselves mostly tried to replicate the original Ollivander decals as closely as possible I'd be running into some copyright issues.
I can tell you though that a visit to therpf.com or a simple Google image search for "Ollivander box sticker", "Ollivander box decal" or similar searches return very good results.
Originally I intended to have my decals printed on some self-adhesive medium using a laser printer as the ink would not run and I could age the decals using tea, coffee or other means but no copy shop in my area had suitable paper. I imporvised by using a vinyl self-adhesive paper with my inkjet printer and by not doing any additional weathering. It's a bit sad, but as I did not plan to beat up the box anyway I guess it's alright.
Step 4: Cut out and apply the stickers! (pictures #3 - #6)
This is the last step for the finished fitted box, applying the stickers.
I cut the decals out as I saw fit and simply stuck them to the box at conveniently-looking positions.
And that's all there is to it!
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