Today, we are going to be putting the box together. Seriously, this is simple to do. The one thing I can tell you that is an absolute MUST is to have smooth cuts on your cardboard. The pieces fit better when there are no wavy cuts or jagged edges bunging up the works.
File folder box
Transform that box, in the photo above, into this box by following the steps below for the construction.
Finished file box
First thing to do is prep your work surface. Whether you use liquid glue or a dry adhesive, such as Scor-Tape, you will need to have a containment area to keep all the gooey stuff from getting all over your table. Personally, I like to use Freezer Paper.
Freezer paper has a slick side and a paper side. The slick side will be UP, facing you. Spread it out on your work surface and tape it down with some painters tape.
Use painters tape to hold the paper down
Get your supply of “structure strips” ready. The adhesive you use is a personal choice. Liquid adhesive or dry adhesive. Doesn’t matter, they both accomplish the same objective…getting the strips to attach to the cardboard. I prefer liquid glue. Squirt some on, spread it around, then attach to the cardboard. I’m all for saving time and being efficient.
Having to pull out a length of the dry adhesive, make sure it gets attached in the correct place, fussing with it and using a bone folder to make sure of good adhesion to the strip, then dealing with the paper covers. Pulling the paper off the glue strip, containing the growing piles, chasing them on the floor because I missed the trash bag. Then having no “Forgiveness” in the process. When the dry adhesive gets attached it is there forever. Liquid glue I can move the piece about to get it positioned right.
Round up your supplies
Fold one of the strips at the score line you had made and apply your adhesive….or apply your dry adhesive then fold on the score mark. Smear out the liquid glue with a sponge brush then attach the strip to the bottom edge of the FILE BOX BACK piece. That will be one of the 12 inch by 10 inch pieces. Make sure you don’t put the folded area at the edge of your box piece. Leave a small gap with the fold line showing.
It is vital that you get the adhesive out to the very edges of the strip. Leaving a long worm of glue and calling it good is NOT good
Apply pressure and rub on the cardboard to fully engage the glued strip to the cardboard. Turn the cardboard over and apply pressure along the length of the glued strip to ensure full adhesion.
Press firmly, front and back, for proper adhesion
If you need to add a bit of strip to a shorter length it is easy as cutting a piece to the length needed then glue it on, or if there is excess strip hanging off one side then snip it away.
Locate your BOTTOM piece. This will be one of the 3 inch by 12 inch pieces. Run glue the length of the exposed strip (or peel off the backing from the dry adhesive). Smear the glue to the edges. Butt the cardboard pieces together and raise the strip to be attached to the bottom piece. Firmly rub the glued strip to get it adhered well.
Locate the box bottom piece
Butt the two pieces together
Apply pressure to the strip for good adhesion
It will look like this when properly glued together.
Two pieces attached
Get another structure strip and apply adhesive to one half of the strip. If using liquid glue, smear the glue to the edges. Attach the glued side of the strip to the side of your back piece. We will be building the side in this step.
Attach strip to one side of the box
Locate your next piece of cardboard. One that measures 3 inches by 10 inches. Apply glue to the strip and butt the side piece to the back piece.
Attach the side piece
Cut away any excess strip that overhangs. Measure and cut a piece of structure strip that will go on the bottom and side corner. Apply adhesive, attach the strip to the corner of the side and bottom.
Cut a piece of strip to fit on the corner
Apply adhesive to the entire strip
Press firmly at this joint to assure good adhesion. Snip away any overhang of the strip.
Attach to the corner and press firmly
Next you will further reinforce the seams of this box by doing the following. Get a length of structure strip and apply adhesive to the entire strip. Make sure the creased fold is facing you. The “Mountain” fold will be up. Work the folded strip into the joint of the back and side pieces of the box. Press firmly all along the strip to ensure proper adhesion. Set the box on its side and press the strip fully.
Apply adhesive fully to the strip
Press the strip firmly into the joint
Place the box on its side an apply pressure to the strip
You will also need to reinforce the corner where the bottom and sides meet. Do the same as above. Apply glue to the strip, MOUNTAIN side, press the strip into the joint and apply pressure to adhere the strip firmly.
Measure a corner piece and adhere
Following the steps above, get your other 3 inch by 10 inch piece and adhere it to the other side of the back and bottom piece.
Attach the other side piece
Next, we will work on the FRONT of the box. Locate your last 10 inch by 12 inch piece. I am going to cut a curve at the top of this piece.
Locate the other 10 inch by 12 inch piece
Find the center along the 12 inch width. I am using a thing I don’t know what it is EXCEPT it has a curve. I have lined up the center mark of the curve tool with the center mark on the cardboard and traced around the tool.
Find the center along the 12 inch length
With a craft mat under my cardboard piece, I have used a craft tool to cut on the pencil line.
Use a craft knife to cut on the pencil line
Cut the curve away
The front of the box will look like this.
Front of box
Back to the structure strip business to attach the front to the box. Apply adhesive to both sides of the strip. Making sure the adhesive goes all the way out to the edges.
Apply adhesive to the strip
Attach the strip to the box front and side corner
Do the same to the other side of the box. Make sure the edges butt up against each other as you apply the strip.
Attach the other side and front
Look at this. So far this is going along smoothly and is very easy to create the box. Keep going….you are over half way finished.
Looking like a box
The last part of the outside is to adhere a strip to the box bottom and front to close this up.
Last outside piece to attach
By now, you should have a good handle on how to use the structure strips. The last thing to do is reinforce the inside of the box. MOUNTAIN folds on this part. Get the folded ridge pushed into the joints all over the inside of the box.
Reinforce the inside joints
You can stop here if you don’t want to have a lid on your box. The rest of this is how to put a lid and flap on, covering the edges, and making a cover for the curved edge.
If moving on to the lid. Locate your last 3 inch by 12 inch piece. Place it on top of the box opening. If you were careful in your placement of the structure strips your box will be even and flush. If you have a wonky box you will need to make adjustments to it now. That will involve slitting the structure strips where the problem lies, moving the box to square, then reapplying structure strips.
Using the structure strips, attach the box lid to the BACK of the box. Then attach the FLAP to the TOP FRONT OF THE BOX. Doing this will make the next steps easier to handle. You will be making a “Ditch” for the proper working of the lid and flap.
Check the fit of the lid
Working on the INSIDE of the lid piece. You will need to take your structure strip to the score board and make another score 1/8 inch to the left of the center score. You will have a “U” shape for this strip. This is necessary.
Score 1/8 inch to left of center
Apply adhesive to the “U” shape
Holding the lid in place, press the “U” into the joint of the lid and the top of the box. You will need this extra bit of spacing to make the lid work properly.
Press the “U” into the joint of the lid and the top
Locate your final piece, the 2 inch by 12 inch piece. Get another structure strip and score 1/8 inch to the left of center and apply the glued strip to the joint of the flap and the lid. Make sure to apply pressure to strip on both of these pieces.
Locate the 2 inch by 12 inch piece
Seat the “U” into the joint of the top and flap
Work the flap up and down to make sure it is secure
Your lid and flap should be working well. The lid will not close fully at this point. When you cover the box, or paint it, the lid and flap will be secured with a magnet or Velcro.
Apply structure strips to the outside joints
Now all that is left is to cover up the raw edges of the box and lid. Gather your structure strips and take them to the score board. Score 1/8 inch to the left of center on a whole bunch of them. Measure and cut a piece of strip to fit one of the side edges. Apply adhesive and adhere the strip to the box raw edge.
Score the structure strips 1/8 inch to the left of center
Attach to raw edge
Continue covering your raw edges of the flap and the other side of the box. We will deal with the curve in a moment.
Cover all the raw edges
Now for the curve. Start with a long length of structure strip, crease it fully on the fold lines. Place the strip over the front raw edge. Note where the curve of the front begins. Make a snip in the strip. End the snip CLOSE TO the fold line. NOT INTO THE FOLD.
Make snips along the length of the strip as you follow the curve.
Snip TO the crease where the curve begins
Make corresponding snips on the back side of the strip. Remember to NOT snip into the crease mark.
Make corresponding snips to the back of the strip
Test fit the snipped strip. Add any additional snips where necessary.
Test fit the snipped strip
Make more snips if necessary
When satisfied then this is done
Liberally apply adhesive to the snipped strip then attach to the box front raw edge.
Apply the last bit of strip to finish off the raw edges. Let this box set for about 24 hours for the adhesive to cure. Even the dry adhesive needs a cure time. You can think about what you want to do about covering the box while the adhesive cures.
I seriously hope this tutorial has been clear and concise in my instruction and the accompanying photos. I also hope that I have given you the confidence to give box building a try.
Are you ready to go and “Show someone how special they are”?