Exploding Box




About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.

Well, we are again approaching our anniversary. So time to come up with a great card for my hubby. Many years ago, I had created my first exploding box. (Disclaimer: there is no explosive or incinerator devices involved in this Instructable. So please don’t be upset when the box does not actually explode. Thank you.) The exploding box is a way to show a lot of love and appreciation for the person it is created for, so it is a card and much more. This is how to make one.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:


3 + pieces of 12”x12” cardstock (3 different colors)

1 piece 6”x6” cardstock

2 pieces 8.5”x 11” cardstock

1 piece 12”x12” scrapbook paper

Paper cutter

Bone folder

Double sided adhesive (I have an ATG 714 tape dispenser gun, you can use PVA (white) glue if you want)


Corner rounder (optional)


Mini ink pad (in some color of brown)

Pencil and eraser



18” of ¼” ribbon

Step 2:

Decide which colors will be the outer, middle and inner layers of the box. Cut the outer most color into a 9”x9” square, the middle color into an 8.5”x8.5” square and the inner color into an 8”x8” square.

Step 3:

Using a ruler divide each sideof each square 3rds (as evenly as possible).

Step 4:

Draw lines to connect each area so that you have 9 small equal squares drawn on each large square.

Step 5:

Cut out each of the 4 corners of each piece. You will end up with 5 squares left and it will look big “+” (plus) sign. When you stack them on top of each other they will look like this.

Step 6:

Take the ink pad and scrape it long the exposed edges of each plus sign.

Step 7:

Using the straight edge of the ruler, fold each leg of each plus sign in toward the center square.

Step 8:

Once you have all three with their legs folded in, put some adhesive around the edges of the center square of the largest (outermost) piece. Glue the bottom of the middle piece on top of the largest piece.

Step 9:

Repeat with the middle piece and the center piece. Now you have your basic box done.

Step 10:

The Lid. Start with 6”x6” piece. Lay it in front of you with the wrong side up. Measure 1.5” from each edge and draw creases using the bone folder,

Step 11:

so that you have a 3” square in the middle, and 3”x1.5” rectangles on each side and 1.5” squares in each corner. Draw a crease diagonally through each of the 1.5” squares. Fold each of the creases in toward the center of the lid. The diagonal crease need to be folded in toward the center also.

Step 12:

Use the adhesive to glue the corners down toward the inside of the lid.

Step 13:

The lid is done.

Step 14:

Fold up all the sides of the box

Step 15:

and put the lid in place to hold the box together. You very basic box is done. Now comes the fun part, personalizing the 21surfaces available inside of the box.

Step 16:

Cut the scrapbook paper into 9 – 2.75” squares. With the other cardstock, cut 8 – 2.50” squares, and 9 – 2.25” squares.

Step 17:

Use the corner rounder to round all the corners

Step 18:

and the ink pad to chalk all the sides of each square.

Step 19:

With pictures (I just printed some off my computer on to regular paper) and sayings, decorate 4 of the 2.75” squares, and all of the other smaller squares. Now to decorate the box.

Step 20:

First decorate the outside of the box. Put 4 of the undecorated squares around on the outside of the box, if you are using stripes, have them all go the same direction. Nice. The 5th undecorated square goes in the center of the top of the lid. I came across a stamp that I had and stamped a message to my hubby on the square on the lid.

Step 21:

Lay the legs of the box out flat and decide what picture or saying to put in the very center and in the squares all around it. Pull the first set of legs down and match message to picture in the 4 places around the center. Pull the middle set of legs down and repeat the process with these sets of legs. Using Double stick tape, makes placing things easy and no drying time.

Step 22:

Final step. Lay the ribbon out flat on the table. Apply the double stick tape to the backside (if there is one) of the ribbon. Apply the ribbon around the sides of the lid with ends meeting in the center of the one side you call front. Tie a square knot and trim the tails of the ribbon.

Step 23:

Carefully fold all the sides of the box up, and put the lid over the top. Done!

Step 24:

This is why it is called an Exploding Box. With the box sitting on a flat surface, remove the lid and all the sides fall out away from the center, like in an exposition. Enjoy!

Homemade Gifts Contest

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest

Papercraft Contest

Participated in the
Papercraft Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Art Skills Challenge

    Art Skills Challenge
  • Make it Move

    Make it Move
  • Teacher Contest

    Teacher Contest

12 Discussions


Question 1 year ago

How to make 120 inches surprise box?


3 years ago

Made one for my wife for Valentine's Day!

16, 8:37 PM.jpg
1 reply

4 years ago on Step 24

Absolutely lovely! This is a great idea, and totally do-able on my Christmas budget this year (is it still a budget if it's all zeros?)

I am serious here. Thank you so much for this because now I can make a great gift for my parents and the hubbs' parents that doesn't cost me anything but some time (because I am a paper-loving fool with about 20 tons of scrapbook supplies...) bless you, bless you, bless you.

1 reply

My hubby and I were married just days before Christmas and at a very tight budget time. We decided that for anniversaries we didn't need any gifts, just time together and a hand made card. I only spent $.40 on some plain card stock, for this years card so I know what you mean. Good luck on creating your box and I know that they will love it. I'm a grandma, and the best gifts I receive are things that are made for me. Merry Christmas.


4 years ago

Very cool and thoughtful idea. I will attempt this for my better half. Though at first ..... after the disclaimer... thought at least something was spring loaded. LOL . HMMMMM ( noooo not a devious thought, OK, well kinda) when the box folds open, maybe a spring loaded confetti launch??

3 replies

Reply 4 years ago

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out how to spring load this thing and then write an instructable on it. I can't wait to see it. Thanks for commenting.


Reply 4 years ago

Challenge accepted. Though, for the I'ble , I won't be making it as pretty as your's, as it will be an experiment. Credit for the Challenge and Idea will be given as I will primarily be using the basic part of your design. I think your other half will enjoy and greatly appreciate your exploding box.


4 years ago on Introduction

This is a lovely gift to get and give :-) especially from family ! :-D


4 years ago on Introduction

I love this idea. It's such a thoughtful idea, and your project looks perfectly executed!

1 reply

Your comment has given me courage that my Hubby will like it too. Thanks. Our anniversary isn't until the 21st so he hasn't seen it yet, (I hope).