Friday, November 16, 2012
If you're the type who hangs on to cool gift boxes - like the ones you buy wallets and fancy scarves and perfumes and such in - then here's a nifty way to turn them into customized display boxes for odd-shaped items.
I just modified this box to house a handmade fountain pen for my dad:
The pen came from the artist in a boring paper box, but I figured a pen this pretty deserved something a bit more grand. Plus now my dad can use the box to either store or display the pen on his desk.
The box originally housed John's last wallet, which I think we found at Ross. It's made of aluminum and plastic, and was just too cool to throw away:
I debated adding a brass plaque with my dad's initials to the lid, but since I didn't have time to order one I went with this large metal charm from JoAnn's instead:
Remove the ring, dab a little E-6000, and voilá!
Now for the inside:
To make the foam and fabric insert all you need are thin upholstery foam (available at craft stores for a few dollars a square foot), a rich-looking fabric like satin or velvet, scissors, paper, and glue.
First, measure the interior of your box and cut a square of upholstery foam to fit.
Next, trace your object onto a sheet of paper:
(Technically you could trace your item directly onto the foam, but I didn't want to risk getting Sharpie on the fountain pen.)
Now cut out your shape, place it where you want it on the foam, and trace with a marker:
Next take your scissors, holding them at a ninety degree angle to the foam, and start snipping inside your traced edges, all the way around:
Once you've cut all the way around your shape, hold your foam piece like I am in that photo, bending the edges back and away. This will create large cracks where you just snipped, allowing you to work your scissors in horizontally and cut out the bottom of your shape:
Now just keep snipping away to even out your edges and the bottom, stopping every so often to test out the fit:
When you think you're done, place a square of your fabric over the foam to test the fit again:
When you're ready to attach your fabric to the foam, make sure you do so with your item inside the foam. Put another piece of foam on top of your object so it's sandwiched between the two, flip them over, and glue your fabric down:
In fact, don't worry about making your fabric too tight anyway, since you'll risk pulling or warping the edges of the foam.
You may need to snip off some excess fabric to get the corners to lay right, but remember: only the top of your foam piece is going to show, so don't stress over those edges too much.
Carefully work your foam piece inside your box, using a butter knife or thin ruler to press the sides down evenly as you go. It should stay in place just fine without any adhesive, but feel free to add a dab of glue to the bottom if you like.
I also made a thinner cushion for the box lid, both to hold the pen extra securely while the box is closed, and also because it looks nice. :)
Since the upholstery foam would have been way too thick, I used a piece of cardboard cut to size with a bit of cotton on top:
To attach the fabric I flipped the cardboard over, pressed it down to smoosh the cotton flat, and then glued my fabric around the edges:
This provided a nice pillowy top for the box lid interior:
And here's one last shot of my Dad's birthday present, which I really hope has already arrived in the mail by now, or else I am TOTALLY spoiling the surprise:
Oh, and here's a more pinnable version, should you need one:
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