Introduction: Make Your Own Box Set

About: My name is Jason Poel Smith. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius

Box sets are a great way to organize and display your collections of books, movies and magazines. But you can only get the box if you purchase the whole set together (usually as a special collector's edition). But what if you want to have a box set of items that you purchased separately. Well, why not make your own custom box set.

In this project, I am going to show you a simple method for creating custom box sets of whatever kind of media you are collecting.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Here is a video walkthrough of the project.

Step 2: Materials

Here are the materials and tools that you will need for this project.


Sheets of Solid Cardboard

Masking Tape

Sticker Printer Paper





Computer Printer

Step 3: Select the Contents of Box Set

The first thing that you need to do is decided on what the contents of the box set will be. This can have an effect on which materials you should use to make the box. The larger the set is, the sturdier the box needs to be. I chose to make a box set for a set of four issues of Make Magazine.

Step 4: Select the Material for the Cardboard Frame

In most cases you will want to build the box out thick sheets of solid cardboard (not corrugated cardboard). However, for smaller boxes, you might be able to get by with using foam core board or thick card stock.

There are a number of places that you can find good quality solid cardboard. You can purchase sheets of solid cardboard at craft stores. You can also find it as the backing of large sketch pads. However the thickest and strongest cardboard that you can find is in the cover of hard back books. You can often purchase old hard cover books at thrift stores and library books sales for less than a dollar each. All you have to do is separate the cover from the pages.

If you can't find sheets of cardboard that are as thick as you want, you can always glue together several layers of thinner cardboard or card stock.

Step 5: Trace the Outline of the Side Pieces of the Box

Once you have all the materials, you are ready to start cutting out the pieces of the box. First, stack the contents of the box set together. This will let you see how big the inside of the box needs to be. You can either measure the dimensions of the collection or you can just trace them onto the cardboard.

I stacked four volumes of my magazine. I positioned them in one corner of the book cover. Then I traced the outline with a pencil. Next, I turned the stack of magazines on its side and I traced the outline of this side. Do this for the sides, top, bottom, and back of the collection. The spins will be visible so you don't need to make a piece for the spine side.

Remember that the sides of the box need to be larger than the sides of the contents. So you need to make a second outline of each section that is a little wider than the traced outline. Add about the thickness of the cardboard to each side. This is what you will actually cut out. To avoid confusion, you might want to erase the inner outlines.

Step 6: Cut Out the Pieces of the Box

Next you need to cut out each of the pieces of the box. To do this I carefully went over the outline of each section with a sharp knife.

Step 7: Tape the Sections of the Box Together

Now you need to tape the sides together to make the box. Start by laying the five pieces side by side on your work surface. Then apply strips of tape to attach each of the side pieces to the back piece.

You want the box to perfectly fit around the contents of your set. The easiest way to do this is to put them inside the box as you are assembling it. So place your set on one of the side pieces and fold the box around it. Then apply tape to each of the outside corners and edges of the box.

Step 8: Create the Cover Art

A good box set needs some good cover art. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. I am making a box for some of my copies of Make magazine. So I decided to use images and graphics from the magazines. The right side of box will just have images of the covers of the magazines. If you do this, you can either find the images online or just line up the physical magazines and take a picture of them. Then I took the Make logo and put it on the left side and the spine. I also tried to copy the text style and font that they use in their commercial box sets.

Once you have your graphics picked out, you need to scale them to the size of your box. Measure the dimensions of your box. Then scale the images to be slightly smaller than each side.

Step 9: Print and Cut Out the Cover Pictures

Print out the images on sticker paper. If you don't have sticker paper, you can use regular photo paper and spray glue.

When initially cutting out the images, leave an extra half inch on each side of the image. Some of the edges will be trimmed more later.

Step 10: Apply the Spine Sticker

When applying the graphics, you what the box to have the contents inside. That way the walls will the sturdy and in the final positions.

Peel off the backing of the spine sticker. Then center the graphics on the spine and press the sticker onto the spine. In each corner of the sticker, cut out a square section. This will let the sides of the sticker neatly fold down around the edges of the box.

Step 11: Apply the Front and Back Stickers

Before you remove the back of the sticker, center the graphics with the front and back of the box. Then mark where the spine of the box lines up. The spine edge needs to be trimmed so that it doesn't cover up any of the graphics on the spine. I just trimmed it so that it was flush with the edge of the box.

Now remove the backing of the stickers and apply them to the front and back sides of the box. The corners at the opening of the box will need to be cut so that the sticker can easily fold around the sides of the box. Remove the contents of the box. Then fold the edges of the stick around to the inside of the box. After doing this, put the contents of the box set back into the box.

If your sticker paper is not sticky enough you may need to apply a strip of masking tape to the top and bottom sides to help hold the stickers onto the box.

Step 12: Apply the Top and Bottom Stickers

The top and bottom stickers will need to be trimmed on the front side, the back side and the spine side. I cut all these sides to be flush with the edges of the box. The only side that will stick out over the edge will be at the opening of the box. This will be folded around the edge to the inside of the box. Apply the top and bottom stickers as before.

Step 13: Completed Box Set

When you are done applying the stickers, insert your books, movies or magazines into the box and your custom box set is finished. You can apply this basic procedure to just about any collection of media that you have. Box sets are quick and easy to build and they are a great way to organize and display your stuff.

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