Recycled Paper Gift Boxes

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A couple of years ago, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to bring my daughter to work with me for a day or two around Christmas.  Needless to say, nine year old India was as bored out of her mind!  

One afternoon, the receptionist showed India how to make a gift box using an old Christmas card--we always get a mess of them from customers and vendors around Christmas.  Later, India taught me how!  

This year, we took last year's Nasa/Hubble calendar and some leftover cardstock from a different project, and repurposed them into gift boxes!

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Ah, I love simple projects!  For this one you will need:
  • Sturdy paper with a design on it 
  • Sturdy paper with or without a design on it (your choice)
As far as tools go, you'll simply require:
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape (I like hot glue)
And that's it!

Step 2: Cut Squares

Each box will require two squares of paper, roughly the same size.  It's best if the one with a design (the top of the box) is just slightly larger than the other.

My calendar was already square, and I simply cut the cardstock to size, using the calendar as a template.

Step 3: Fold!

Starting with the lid square, turn the design face down.  Fold the top and bottom back about an inch (or however deep you want the box to be), keeping them roughly equal.  Fold the sides in the same way.  

Repeat this for the bottom square, but make sure the result is just slightly smaller than the lid--remember, this needs to fit inside of it.

Step 4: Cut!

Make a single cut at each corner of both squares along one of the creases from folding.  It doesn't matter which one.  Take a look at picture 2, that's the way I like to do them.

Step 5: Glue!

Or tape, depending on your resources.

Simply put a dab of glue on each flap and fold it in, holding until the glue sets.  Do this for both the top and bottom, and you're done!

Step 6: Final Thoughts

As I said, I love a simple project!  This was a lot of fun for me and India to do together.  We've made these before out of Christmas cards and sent out presents in them, but this was the first time we used something else.  I think they turned out great!

This instructable was posted as part of Robot Lover's brilliant Instructable Advent Calendar.  Make sure you check out the other great projects there!

Please take a minute to rate, subscribe and comment!  I love to hear from readers, and I'd love to know your thoughts!

Finally, if you make this project yourself, make sure you take a picture and post it in the comments below--I'll send you a digital patch!

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    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Now that's a good way of surprising someone with a simple but beautiful gift box. and you reminded me that I still need to wrap Tia's present. I have another gift wrap idea, all that is required is some paper, washing up liquid, some poster paint and a straw. mix some washing up liquid and paint in jar of water. using the straw, blow into the mixture until it bubbles and press the paper over the jar. it makes a pattern, but I wouldn't advise younger children to do this as they can swallow the mixture like I did. lucky for me my school only used non-toxic paints. you can use different colours and create some interesting patterns with this.

    1 reply

    Thanks Mike! I was originally going to send out some of those painted cookies in them, but . . . uh . . . someone seems to have eaten them all! Who would do such a thing?


    Reply 3 years ago

    i'll be making cookies, cakes and mince pies for my family... did you know it is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day in britain? it a true law, tia found out


    Reply 3 years ago

    I agree. recently, and yes, I'm 17, I've had a thing for pretty boxes. I found them sweet and I keep them. my sister knows that if she see a box I might like, she gets it for me. she started to think I'm a magpie for boxes.(blushing furiously)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I showed an origami box-making technique in my magazine gift wrap tutorial. If the theme of the wrap can coordinate with the contents, that makes it extra special!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Susan! Yours look a lot more fancy than mine--I bet the origami technique would work really well on a full sized calendar, instead of the little one I was using. I've actually got a stack of big calendars I collected from work with landscape scenes, I may try your method for those!

    Thanks Penolopy! I really hated the idea of throwing out such a beautiful calendar at the end of the year, so I was pleased we found a way to reuse it.