Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Making Storage Beautiful - Part 2: The Foundation

The first, and arguable most important, stage in creating my pattern storage boxes is in the gathering and preparation of materials.  I've found through trial-and-error that the quality of the end product depends on this work, and reminds me of a well-known saying that's attributed to Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield:

"Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well."

Pictured are the tools and supplies I used from start to finish, but let's begin with a list of those materials needed during this stage of the process:

  • Empty carton with accompanying lid (the example shown is one used to ship printer paper in bulk)
  • Pencil or pen
  • Ruler
  • Yard stick (anything with a long straight edge)
  • Box cutter (anything that can pierce through and cut box surface)
  • Scissors (recommend a pair dedicated to paper-cutting)
  • Non-serrated tracing wheel (or pizza cutter – anything to establish a score line without cutting the carton surface)
  • Craft glue (I highly recommend Mod Podge brand in whatever finish you prefer)
  • Paint roller handle
  • Foam paint roller heads
  • Paint pan (disposable plate or container)
  • Optional – Awl (or stiletto)

Step 1:  Dismantling the Carton's Glued Joints

Dismantle the empty carton base and lid by carefully sliding your fingers into glued joints to release them.  Try to minimize any surface tearing or bending.

For the purposes of identification, I've labeled some key areas of the carton lid and base.  These labels will be referenced in the instructions below.

carton lid

carton base

Step 2:  Resizing the Carton Base

Lay the carton base on your work surface with its interior surface facing up.  Using a pencil or pen, mark the existing crease lines on Long sides A and B.

Allow the carton base to flatten out on your work surface.  On the carton bottom surface, use a ruler to measure 2-inches from Long side A crease line and place a small mark on the bottom surface.  Repeat this step at least 2 more times on Long side A.

Line the edge your yard stick with the 3 marks you made on the box bottom.  Draw a straight line through all three marks and extend the drawn line so it reaches from End C to End D.

Repeat these three steps on the carton's Long side B.  You should now have lines on the carton's bottom surface which run parallel to its long sides, extends from one carton end to the other, and measuring 2-inches from the long side crease marks (as shown below).  These two lines on the carton bottom represent cut lines to create a new, narrower carton bottom.

Using your box cutter, score the carton's new cut lines by cutting the top layer down the entire length of each the drawn line.  Do not try to cut through to the line's opposite side.

Flip the entire carton base over, with the carton exterior facing up on your work surface.  Gently fold the carton back on both cut score lines, as shown.

Gently cut along the crease line on the carton’s exterior surface.

Your carton base will consist of 3 separate sections.  Set the middle section aside.

Use scissors to trim away and discard the flap extensions on either end of the carton base.  I cut the extensions at a slight angle so the ends will fit neatly under the carton bottom.  Set the remaining base sections aside.


with end flaps                                       without end flaps

Step 3:  Resizing the Carton Lid

Place the carton lid on your work surface with interior side facing up.  Cut away and discard the original flaps on the lid’s Long sides A and B along the existing crease lines.

with original long sides                    long sides cut               without original long sides

Use the ruler to measure 2-inches from the long sides A and B cut edge and place a mark.  Repeat this step at least 2 more times on each side.

Line the edge your yard stick with the 3 marks you made on the lid’s long sides and draw a straight line through all three marks, extending the drawn line so it reaches from End C to End D.

Using scissors cut the box end on the cut line up to the existing end crease.

Use tracing wheel or pizza cutter to score a crease on the lid’s drawn lines.  Do not press too hard; you do not want to pierce or cut through the lid’s surface.

Gently fold the lid along the scored crease line on either long side.

Step 4:  Preparing Carton Surface

Pour craft glue (Mod Podge is recommended) into your paint pan or disposable container.  (I use the disposable containers I receive from carryout meals.  They come with their own lid, which is perfect for preserving my glue for extended periods of time.)

Assemble your paint roller head and handle, dip roller craft glue and remove excess glue by rolling over container lid.  Lay a carton section on top of a piece of parchment paper (to protect your work surface) and apply a thin, even layer of craft glue on each section of the carton’s base and lid exterior.  Once coated, set each section aside to dry.

Use the awl as needed to hold each section down while coating with glue.  This will help protect the section surfaces, minimize the glue on your fingers and speed-up cleaning.

NOTE – Make certain to keep the flaps free on each end of the carton’s lid while drying.

Because the craft glue is water based, you will notice each carton section will begin to curve, or buckle, as it dries.  Do not be alarmed by this, because the steps we will take to decorate the base and lid will flatten each section.  Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to leave comments below.  I love reading them!

Be blessed!



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, HoshiDiamomd...please share yours with me...I'd love to see it!