Boxes are useful things, they can keep all your treasures safe or help you stay organized.
Collapsible: to fold up; put away; pack up; fold down; or to minimize
Having collapsible items minimizes space when not in use, and can provide a tidy solution to otherwise bulky items.
So, what happens when you combine them? A collapsible box, of course!
This box uses a bamboo placemat as the rigid outer shell, with scrap wood for the sides. The box retains its shape with the use of hook & loop fasteners (Velcro) along the sides, which also allow the box to be collapsed when not in use.
Enough talk, let’s collapse some boxes!
Step 1: Tools + materials
Step 2: Measure box dimensions
A simple method to create a square-ended box would be to measure the length of the placemat and divide by four, giving a box which has equal depth and height. However I chose a design which created a box slightly higher than it is wide. To complete this I wrapped the placemat around several paperback books until I found the right combination to allow the placemat to be wrapped once with a slight overlap where the ends met. Then, I traced the dimensions of the books to a scrap piece of plywood and cut each end out.
Remove any burrs and sand edges of end pieces smooth.
Step 3: Bisect mat
Gently sand the sharp edges created from cutting the placemat, giving additional attention to sanding the ends of the placemat. When box is collapsed the ends will stress against the fabric applied later, to minimize the chance of tearing the fabric make sure there are not sharp edges and the ends have a small radius curve.
Step 4: Hooks & loops
The strips I used had an adhesive backing, but that will not be enough to keep them attached to the surface of the wood and bamboo. Using a staple gun the loop strips were attached to the end blocks, and the hook strips were attached to the underside of the bamboo mat with strong thread.
Step 5: Drill pivot points
Before any drilling, test fit your end pieces and the location of the hook & loop fasteners. Measure where the pilot holes are to be drilled, then double check. Using a 3mm [1/8"] drill bit , drill a pilot hole through the placemat, and drill about 12mm [1/2”] into each end block.
Step 6: Sew flexible membrane
The denim will need to be hemmed on both sides to stop the fabric from fraying. Start with a hot iron to create the edge, the finished strip measured 38mm [1.5”] wide. Then sew the denim to each side of the placemat where it was bisected. As mentioned earlier, the inside edge of the placemat will be stressed more than the rest, so an additional scrap of denim was placed over the joined ends (under the denim strip) for additional protection (as highlighted in picture).
Step 7: Add some feet / pivot axles
When assembled as a box each nail head will act as a front foot.