How to Make an Exploding Box With Paper

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NOTE: This tip/blog post was submitted by Scrapbook.com member Mama of a Monkey. We loved it so much that we made it part of our articles section here at Scrapbook.com. 

I have been getting a lot of  PM’S asking for help/instructions on these fun little boxes. So instead of continually re typing them.. I thought I would do a blog with photos on how I do it.  There are other ways that I have seen to put these boxes together - but this is easiest for ME. You can do these boxes in several different sizes, with  1+ layers (I’ve never made one with more than 4 layers)

BOX A Instructions - 4 Layer Large Box With Lid

comes out about a 4 inch cube when finished. You need 5 sheets of heavy paper to start


Step 1: Cut to Appropriate Size

1 - 12x12 (layer 1 outside layer)
1- 11 ¾ x11 ¾ (layer 2)
1- 11 ½ x 11 ½ ( layer 3)
1- 11 ¼ x 11 ¼ (layer 4)
1- 8x8 (this is for the lid)

Step 2: Score all 4 of the Layers Using a Bone Folder

You can use a none folder or other tool. I use an embossing stylus.
Score in 4” on all 4 sides of the layers.
Score in 1 7/8 “ on the 8x8 (the lid)


Step 3: Cut out the 4 Corners on All of the Layers Except the 8x8 (Lid)

Each layer should now look like a plus sign.
For the lid cut as shown and adhere with double sided tape, glue or fasten with brads, ribbons, etc… in place.


Step 4: Decorate

Decorate with coordinating patterned papers, embellish… add journaling spots, tags,  photo corners,  etc.  round the corners, ink.... anything you like.  I decorate both sides of  the layers most of the time as you will see in my finished box at the bottom.
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Then when finished... insert your photos and journaling or give as a gift!

Step 5: Put the Box Together

I find it easiest to start at the bottom and work my way up… Lay the 12x12 layer (layer 1)down first… then take the 113/4 x 11 ¾ layer (layer 2) and put adhesive on the bottom of the middle square, turn over and attach to layer 1 and so on with each layer.


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For more examples of my exploding boxes... please go to my gallery (Albums - then exploding boxes)

Other Size/Layer Options

BOX B: 3 layer box with lid (4" Cube)

Comes out to about a 4” cube in size when finished. Same steps as above - just with different sizes.  Start with 4 sheets of heavy paper.

  • 1 - 12x12 (layer 1) Score in 4” on all sides
  • 1- 11x11 (layer 2) score in 3 ¾ “ on all sides
  • 1- 10x10  (layer 3) score in 3 ½ “ on all sides
  • 1 - 8x8 (lid) score in 1 7/8 “ on all sides.

BOX C: 3 layer box with lid (3" cube)

3 layer box with lid - comes out to about a 3” cube in size when finished.  Same steps as above - just different sizing. Start with 4 heavy weight sheets of paper.

  • 1- 9x9 (layer 1) score in 3” on all sides
  • 1- 8 5/8 x 8 5/8 (layer 2) score in 2 7/8” on all sides
  • 1- 8 ¼ x 8 ¼ (layer 3) score in 2 ¾ “ on all sides
  • 1 6 ¼ x 6 ¼ (LID) score in 1 ½ “ on all sides

Sizes - here are some photos to show the size difference in the boxes.  The box on the left is the size that box A and B come out to (about a 4" cube).  The box on the right is the size that box C comes out to (3" cube)

img_7113_320img_7114_320img_7116_320These are super easy to make... relatively fast to put together - you can make them very simple or as ornate and decorative as you like!

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