Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Box to Open - Again and Again

In case you missed it over at Twin Dragonfly Designs, here's my tutorial for a reusable gift box.

This little guy loves opening presents.  He always has.  Even on his first birthday, he tore right into them.

But sometimes I see all that paper, balled up and sent to the garbage and I feel kinda bad.

" I should really make some re-usable bags for these things," I think to myself.

But opening up a fabric bag isn't quite the same as tearing wildly into some exciting package.  Especially for a three year-old boy.

So here's a re-usable fabric box that maybe isn't quite as good as wrapping paper, but still kind of funny.

It'll still be around when he gets too cool to go crazy for the wrappings.

Like the other boy of the house.

Why yes, these pictures are of my boys cleaning the bathroom.  I look at them when I'm mad.  It makes me not mad.

To open it, you just unzip.

Oops, still not there.  Better undo that bow...

No?  Try undoing the buttons....

Ah, there we go.  Jackpot. Well, if it had something better than newspaper.  Or socks.

Here you have it:

The Open-it Again and Again Box

You'll need: (quantities will vary depending on your size of box)
I used:
1 yard red felt
part of a white t-shirt
12 inch separating zipper
4 1" buttons
ribbon and felt scraps

Start by drawing out your measurements.  I picked felt on purpose so I would have a quick box and no need to finish edges, so I didn't worry too much about seam allowances.

I planned a box that would be about 12" x 8" x 5".  About the size of a shoebox.

I cut two of the big pieces and sewed them together.  I figured the box would be stiffer and hold its shape better, but one layer would work too.

If you cut one to my measurements, it will look a bit different from the picture.  I cut it too big and had to cut it down as I went.

To the big piece, I sewed on 2"strips of white t-shirt for a little peppermint stripe.  I just eyeballed it, but I suggest you measure.  I'll show you why later...

I cut 4 of the 5" x 12" piece.  Then I sewed pairs together to give me two flaps. I added a few green spots.

Now you're ready to start assembling the box.  Get your big piece and fold two side flaps wrong-sides together. 

Measure in pin five inches up.  Sew. 

Complete this step for all four corners.

It'll start looking more like a box.

To get an even better boxy shape, pinch a fold between the bottom corners of the bag.  Sew the fold about 1/4" in all the way around. 

Do the same to the top folds.

This is the time to add a zipper.  I left mine exposed. 

Trim your flaps to make sure they're straight.  You want the top of the box, with a zipper to be as wide as the bottom (about 8" in my case).

Lay each side of the zipper on a flap and pin.  Check to make sure it zips up the way you want.  Sew it on.

Here's where I started to think my box reminded me of the Cat in the Hat.  It was confirmed when my husband walked in and said, "What's the Cat in the Hat box for?"  I added just a touch of Christmas ribbon to help tone down the Seuss look.

This was when I realized that my eyeballing and rush created a problem.  Can you see it?

Crooked stripes.

The perfectionist in me wanted to start over.  Lazy me won out with unpicking  and cutting off the top stripes and adding some more t-shirt pieces.

I honestly don't know what I'll do when my son is no longer three and he cares about whether or not the things I make for him look good.

Let's not focus on that now. 

Once you have the zipper done, you can check the second set of flaps.  Does the width fit the outside of the box?  You might need to trim it a bit.

Add a ribbon to the shorter side and a few button holes to the other.  Just be sure to measure and make sure that the flaps, when tied together are 12" the long way.

Add the last set of flaps by sewing the long side just under the line where the zipper flap folds open.

Add a few button holes and sew on some buttons.  Be sure the flaps, when closed, are 8" across.

Another consideration:  I planned all my closures thinking about whether or not my son would be able to undo them.  I didn't think about the fact that as soon as I'd finished sewing it, he would take it and start trying to wrap up his toys in it. I might have to go with Velcro instead of a bow next time.

And you're done.  A fine project for the little guy in your life.  Add a ruffle, and you're good for the girls too.  Ha!

No comments:

Post a Comment