Handy Box From Scratch Paper





Introduction: Handy Box From Scratch Paper

About: Mostly a programmer and random computer guy, but like to mess with hardware and other real life objects sometimes.

This isn't original as such, I learned it back when I was into origami as a child, but it took me ages to realize how handy they are. It's not at all a complex fold, so it should be ok even for people not generally into that sort of thing. I use them continually especially for a quick container to hold screws, bolts, small parts, etc when taking something apart and I'm somewhere where a more normal container isn't around but a piece of paper is.

Step 1: Start With a Piece of Paper

Doesn't have to be unused, in fact it helps a bit if it's printed with text for horizontal/vertical straight guides. In this guide I'll be using a half-letter sized promo flier for the movie Eragon someone sent me, now way past it's due date. Larger pieces make larger boxes and the shape has effects on the height of the sides, though anything rectangular (within reason) should work.

Step 2: Find the Center

Fold and unfold to make a crease at the center. Either direction will work, but realistically going for the middle of the longest side tends to be best unless you need a really long but narrow box. If you have good eyeballing skills you may be able to skip this and just aim for the center.

Step 3: Fold Both Sides In

Fold in both sides to the center crease you made earlier.

Step 4: Fold in Corners

Fold in all corners, not all the way to the center but a little ways leaving some space as per picture. The two spaces on each side of the middle need to be the same or at least roughly the same (there is some leeway here). Here the text comes in handy for keeping the top/side of the folds straight in relation to the paper and as a loose guide to distance. Leaving larger spaces makes the box shallower but sturdier and vice versa, deeper but flimsier for smaller ones. Don't leave more then half of the distance between middle and side or you'll be in trouble in a few steps.

Step 5: Fold Out the Center Parts

Fold the space left in between the center and corner fold out toward the edges.

Step 6: Open It Up

Pull the two center parts apart. The sides will buckle inwards until it looks somewhat like a box.

Step 7: Crease the Edges and Corners

Pinch the edges and corners a bit to give them 90 degree folds.

Step 8: Done

Flip it over and put your stuff in. It isn't exactly the most sturdy container ever, but surprisingly so for being made of paper. As mentioned in the intro, it makes a great temporary storage for all those little screws and parts when taking something apart and keeps them in one spot that isn't the floor where they otherwise tend to end up.

It looks like a lot of steps, but really it's quite simple - I'm being overly demonstrative just to make it easier to follow for those without any origami experience.



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    25 Discussions

    This is great. I am forever taking things apart and losing them all over the floor. I actually did this with a piece of A5 (about half letter) that was sitting in front of me on the desk. For a very thin piece of paper, its surprisingly sturdy - oh, and the piece of paper had instuctions on it for putting together a cheap decorative box I bought, heehee.

    I remember doing this. I havn't done origami in a while tho.

    Sweet and just as simple as you said. I just made one out of my overdue phone bill. Nice.

    I've been instructabling all afternoon, now I have a place to put all my what-fors

    i am such a dummy but with your instructions in 2 mins.done pat you on the back! thanks

    That is great! I made mine on the first try excellent instructable. These would be perfect for taking apart stuff. You could keep screws and parts in them and write where the came from inside the box. Lots of great uses, fine job another 10 out of 10 here.

    2 replies

    Note this design will hold water if made out of wax paper, plastic or foil. Very handy in a pinch.

    Not only will it hold water, but you can even boil it (the paper won't burn as long as there is water inside the box) Great instructable!

    If one uses a tape measure one can make the box without any useless extra folds (they make the box a bit flimsy). The obvious and easy one is the center fold in step 2. If one does not want to waste time in measuring, making small folds to the edges of the paper (not across the whole sheet) is also enough. Another useless fold is created when the corners are folded in step 4, but getting rid of that requires a bit more creativity and measuring (each corner fold actually creates two folds, one that is required and, one that is useless).

    1 reply

    An alternative in step 1 is to fold the corners together (gently, without creasing the whole thing) and then making small pinches at the sides. This would eliminate the full fold at the center. Measuring might be slightly better, but really if that's the amount of effort one is prepared to spend, buy a two dollar set of gladware containers (or appropriate generic) or ziploc bags (generic often a dollar/100 for the "snack bags", almost rivaling unused paper) already. Someone prepared should really have a few bags of a used altoids container on their person, but we're all caught with the pants down sometimes..

    Great instructions - not only does this box utilize all possible space for a paper box, but it is very simple. I remember a strikingly similar box that I've learned before, but you needed a square piece of paper and needed to fold it in quarters or something. This box pops up great, and quickly.

    I am #1 klutz. This is #1 Klutz-proof. Thanks! With the addition of the extra fold after step 4 - well, i've been going crazy all afternoon putting things in paper boxes.


    11 years ago

    this is very useful! ive made origami boxes before but they are usually fiddly and time consuming. this one can be knocked together in seconds! Ive just made one out of A4 paper (that around about USletter size) and it is perfect to keeping pens in. (i hate tubular desk tidies, things get lost in the bottom)

    This is great. Made one on the fly reading your instructions the first time through. I'm adding this really useful sucker to my repetoire!

    Great Instructable but there is a easyer way to do it but it looks crappier nice job!!!

    Makes a great emergency baking tray if made from kitchen foil.


    11 years ago

    Nicely done. I've seen this before for square boxes, but never generalized to rectangular pieces of paper.


    11 years ago

    its easier if you do this after step 4

    1 reply

    Good point. I kind of had to do it just to watch myself do it since it's all right-brain-half at this point, but It would put the creases in without having to pinch them in after.