Picture of collapsible box
Box: a small package or container
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!
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Step 1: Tools + materials

Picture of tools + materials
  • hammer
  • wood saw
  • staple gun
  • needle + thread         
  • sandpaper
  • measuring tape
  • drill + bit (3mm [1/8"] )
  • bamboo placemat ($dollar)
  • hook & loop strips ($dollar)
  • scrap denim
  • short nails
  • button
  • fabric elastic
  • scrap wood

Step 2: Measure box dimensions

Picture of measure box dimensions
This bamboo placemat has thin slits of bamboo oriented in the same direction abutting each other at their sides; this gives the placemat flexibility and allows it to be coiled up lengthwise. The idea is that the placemat will wrap around each end piece and double back on itself creating an enclosed space, a box. As such, the lengthwise distance measurement of the mat will match the sum of the edge perimeter.

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.
veiledvenus1 month ago
I have heavy duty clear vinyl on order, along with the heavy gauge wire I need to make the frames - This have my free some great ideas on how to make the boxes collapse even more than my original plans - I'll post a link here (and on my own post to this Instructable as well) when I have finished my prototypes & finished boxes done and instructions typed up - thank you for this post!
stepli2 months ago

greatt work

malgon2 months ago


howardjackson2 months ago

Great Idea

davidramirez53 months ago


earlcollins3 months ago

Really good work

jiajunwang4 years ago
neologik4 years ago
it's tottaly amazing,.
very useful!


i will try it..

laxap4 years ago
Very very nice!
Ninzerbean4 years ago
jrossetti4 years ago
If you didn't need it to be 'ultra' collapsible, I suppose you could do away with the cut down the center of the placemats, and have the end pieces simply fold down, then roll up the mat around them.
mikeasaurus (author)  jrossetti4 years ago
Yup, that was the original design. This iteration pushes the collapse aspect a little further.
ChrysN4 years ago
Cool idea!
Quite clever. Please excuse me while I make a quick stop at the patent office.
gmjhowe4 years ago
The animated gif makes for a perfect demostration. Good job on everything, a delightful little box.

I love the final feel and look of it.