Sunday, December 9, 2012

Little Gifts: Part 1

I have two posts on the subject of little gifts--one about the gifts themselves, and one about the package they come in. First let's talk about the packaging.

I received some candies one year in the cutest handmade boxes, obviously made from used Christmas cards. I have always meant to make some myself and this year I had the perfect excuse to do so.
If you want to make your own, you'll need some Christmas cards. You can see my box of cards to the left. I keep all the cards I receive, partly out of sentiment and partly because I love making things out of old cards. I fished through the box and didn't find too many I was ready to do without.

It was fun to look through them all and to read old letters and cards. (And easy to get distracted!) I saw a card from my one sister and was surprised it was only signed by her. Then I remembered that it hasn't really been all that long that she's been married with kids...they have just become such a part of the family I couldn't think of her without them!

Of course, you also may find some "landmines" as I did. In the same way I was surprised to find a card signed only by my sister, I was surprised to see another one signed "Mom and Dad." It's been seven years since my dad died, and I have become used to seeing just "Mom" in the signature. I went ahead and read the letter in the card, and it was the one from when he was sick and we knew he wouldn't live much longer. Mom's letter was so brave; it was hard to read and yet good too.

In the end I found a few cards I felt I could use.
If I need more sometime, I'll have to look at the used and "new-old stock" cards I sometimes see at antique and second-hand stores.

Then I studied the box I was given because it was all I had to go on. I took some measurements, made some marks, cuts, and folds and ended up with this:
That can't be right!

So I tried again and had much better success. Here's what you do:

1. Select a card and cut it in half along the fold line:
2. Mark the inside of both halves with an X, making lines from corner to corner:
3. On the top and bottom of the piece that will become the box top, mark 1.25" in from both sides. On the piece for the bottom, mark just longer than 1.25" (between 1-1/4 and 1-3/8). I know this is technically 1-5/16", but it's easier to just mark half way between 1-1/4 and 1-3/8. It doesn't have to be that precise.
4. Draw lines from the marks you just made to the diagonal lines:
5. Fold the card between the same marks:
6. Now turn the card a quarter turn, and make a fold to intersect where the partial lines meet the diagonal lines:
7. Cut along the partial lines:
8. Fold the long edges up and tuck the tabs inside:
9. Fold up the end:
10. Wrap it around the tabs and make a crease:
Now you have a top and a bottom, hopefully the former a little bigger than the later (because I made that mistake on one box too!):
Slip the bottom inside the top,
and voila, a lovely box:
Keep at it for a few more minutes, and you can have a whole collection of little boxes:
They stay together pretty well as they are, but if you want to add a bit of ribbon or metallic elastic, you go right ahead:

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