I had a lot of help getting ready for this post. When I decided what I was going to post, I realized that the week prior to the post I would be visitng my friend Lynn K. She invited me to tag along to her local paper crafting group meeting. Knowing that there would be a vast resource of creative talent at the meeting, I asked if they might be interested in helping me with my project for this post. They agreed to help me. Thank you, ladies of the Kitchen Table Scraps group, for your creativity and generosity in sharing your ideas to help me with this post. Your boxes are FANTASTIC!!!
Their part in this project was to embellish/decorate boxes that I would provide for them. I designed the boxes using my KNK Studio software and my Make the Cut software, prepared the papers, cut the pieces on my 15″ Maxx Air, and packed them in my suitcase. Lynn K was a great help getting the boxes assembled prior to the meeting. The group usually meets at a scrapbook store but since the local schools were on spring break, the store had scheduled classes for kids that week. Sandy McCauley, who is also a member of the group, graciously volunteered to host the meeting at her home. Thanks, Sandy!
These are the boxes the ladies could choose from to decorate. The boxes are about 6″ long, 4 1/2″ wide and 2″ high.
As you can see, there was a variety of colors and materials as well as styles of tops. Boxes were made from laminated layers of various cardstocks, scrapbook papers, and fabrics. The ladies were free to use any decorations and/or embellishments they wanted and, after allowing me to photograph them and their boxes, the boxes would belong to them.
At the end of the day, which was a lot of fun, each lady had completed her box. Lynn K and I had decorated her boxes prior to the meeting to give the ladies some ideas. You might recognize Lynn’s box with the rabbit and the chicks from her post last Wednesday. Here is a collage of the ladies and their finished boxes. The name tags were for my benefit since this was my first time meeting most of them. My name tag read “Cupcake Judy”.
The following pictures are close-ups of the ladies’ boxes. Sandy’s antique furniture piece with the mirror was the perfect place to photograph the boxes so you could see the backs as well as the sides and tops.
As you can see in the photo above, Sharon added some extra embellishments to the inside of her box. A fun surprise for the recipient for the box when they have emptied it.
Now that you have seen some of the end results, lets go back to the beginning to show you the steps to get the boxes and tops ready for embellishing.
When I decided to make egg shaped boxes, I wanted to use a paper/material that had more body to it than the heaviest cardstock that I could find. I spent quite a bit of time looking for very heavy double sided cardstock. I didn’t find any that was sturdy enough. I made some trial boxes out of the heaviest ones that I found but still wasn’t happy with them. Finally, I decided to try to laminate cardstock to other cardstock or scrapbook papers or even fabrics using the heat fusible material called Heat n Bond. The test pieces of laminated papers/fabrics worked like I wanted. Depending on the weight of the papers or fabrics used, it was sometimes necessary to add an additional layer of cardstock in the middle of the “sandwich”. Also, when a light colored fabric is being fused to a darker colored cardstock, adding a layer of light weight white cardstock between the fabric and the dark cardstock gives the resulting laminated piece extra body as well as keeping the fabric colors true. Most fabrics won’t add much body to the finished “sandwich”.
The following picture shows the layers for a “sandwich” with fabric, cardstock, and an inner layer of light weight white cardstock. In the photo the Heat n Bond is backed by a layer of white paper. Once fused to the cardstock or fabric, the paper is removed and the remaining Heat n Bond is transparent.
The Teflon sheet is a precaution to keep any Heat n Bond from getting on the ironing surface. I also use a second Teflon sheet on top of the papers and fabrics as I press to protect the iron and papers. Ironing directly on the papers can sometimes cause the surface of the paper to become shiny. Some papers will warp when they are heated by the iron. Ironing them (under a Teflon sheet or a press cloth) prior to fusing them to the Heat n Bond can help. I used a piece of 1″ thick particle board as my ironing surface since ironing boards tend to be soft and uneven. Use the settings given on the Heat n Bond package.
When the “sandwich” has been created there a couple of extra steps that will help assure cutting success. Even though I use a very sticky mat, I always tape my “sandwich” to my mat on all four sides as well as brayering it down securely.
If I am using a patterned paper such as the plaid paper in the photo above, I will create my own “Alignment Mark” on the paper so I know exactly where to set my origin. Two 12″ x 12″ “sandwiches” are needed to cut the pieces for one box. Thus if I mark both “sandwiches” in exactly the same place and set my origin there for cutting both of them, I can have the pattern on the sides of the box match when they are assembled. The sides of the box bottom and top are too long to cut from one 12″ piece of paper. They have been split into two pieces and must be joined to go around the whole shape.The files have been set up in such a way to assure that the pieces will match when using patterned papers if you follow the steps as outlined. If you are cutting a “sandwich” and it is desirable to cut with the the patterned paper against the mat rather than facing up, you can make a measured “Alignment Mark” on the paper that will be on top. I usually make my mark about 3/8″ in from the two outside edges of the corner so I have room for the tape and am not cutting right up to the edge. Just be sure that the patterned paper is oriented in the same direction when you draw your “Alignment Marks”.
After the mat with the paper has been positioned in the cutter, the origin can be set exactly on the marked spot. I was cutting from the MTC software and using the “Knife Point” option. The picture shows the tip of the blade lined up with the “Alignment Mark” on the paper.
Beause the laminated “sandwiches” are thicker than most cardstock, cutting will usually require more than one pass. When I cut the pieces for the boxes in the first picture, the settings varied from those recommended for heavy cardstock to those for chipboard. I check the “Suggested Cut Settings” section of my Maxx Air manual whenver I am going to cut a material that I am not familiar with. For the “sandwiches” that include a fabric layer, I cut with the fabric layer up, make the first cut with the fabric blade, and make the second and third cuts (if needed) with a thick material blade. To do this, I do not use the multiple cut option but rather, let the cutter stop after each cutting pass to check the material to see if additional passes are needed. This gives me the opportunity to change the blade also.
When the pieces are cut and scored, you are ready to begin assembling the box. There are four pieces for the box bottom and four for the box top – a outer and inner bottom or top, and two pieces for the sides. If you are cutting a box that has a plain (no window or lattice) top, I suggest that you use sticky notes to label the egg shaped pieces since there will be four different sizes and it is easy to get them mixed up. For the boxes with a window or lattice in the top it is easier to recognize the different pieces. There are score lines included in the cutting files. I decided to do the scoring manually since the material ended up being so thick. This picture shows a box ready to be assembled.
The tabs have been folded on the score lines of three of the side pieces. Additonally, one of box bottom side pieces has been curved by pulling it between my fingers and my thumb. Curving the side pieces prior to gluing makdes it easier to keep them in place while the glue “grabs”. The green with the bunnies is cotton fabric and it takes more glue and more time for a fabric-to-paper bond to hold than a paper-to-paper-join. On the cutting files there are labels or notes for the box bottom and box top side pieces designating them as “wide end” or “narrow end”. One of the tabs for the “wide end” side piece has one notch in it while one of the tabs for the “narrow end” has two notches in it. These notched tabs should be place at the center of either end of the egg shape. This allows the tabs to fit together without overlapping and without gaps to form an even surface for gluing down the inner egg shape which will conceal the tabs. If desired, you can mark the center points of the box bottom and top as a guide for placement.
I glue the “wide end” side in place first and then add the “narrow end” side beginning where the two side pieces meet. It will work either way. I glue the tabs in place first and once they are secure I glue the overlaps on the sides to join them rather than joining the two side pieces and working with one long strip. This is what the box bottom and top look like with the “wide end” side pieces in place.
After the “narrow end” side pieces are in place, if the box has a window in the top, I add a piece of thin plastic (you can cut it by hand or use the cutting file for the “inner box bottom”) as the “glass” in the window before gluing the inner top piece in place. Yes, the glue looks messy but the inner top piece will conceal that. If the box has a lattice top, I don’t add the plastic or inner piece until the embellishments are in place so the ends of anything woven in the lattice can be covered.
When complete the box looked like this.
The box was now ready for some embellishments. Thank you, Arlene, for my adorable bunny!
The box cut from the plaid paper shown in the tutorial above was embellished as in this photo.
This is a photo of another box I made and gave to my friends at my favorite sewing store. Of course I filled it with some dark chocolate candies before giving it to them.
A few words about the cutting files. There are two sets of files. One is for solid colored or “no match” materials. The other is for patterend materials – cardstocks or fabrics – that you want to match when they are asembled. Files for all of the styles of tops are included in both sets. There are notes in each of the files which are intended to clarify their use along with the information in the tutorial above. I will be happy to answer your questions via private email. Just post a comment on this post that you need help and I will answer you privately.
Because papers and cardstock sometimes don’t have very attractive edges when cut – especially a thick, layered “sandwich” – and tend to break when bent or folded, there are often many “opportunities for embellishments” other than just the top of these egg shaped boxes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all of the creativity of the Kitchen Table Scraps ladies and will have fun creating some boxes of your own.
I’m hijacking Judy’s post to thank her AGAIN for a fabulous project for my craft group to do! Also, I redid my box on Saturday night because I was rushed a bit the day everyone was here. Plus, my son’s GF, Gabriella, decorated one, too! So, here are two more ideas: