How to Make an Exploding Box

  • 01 of 07

    About DIY Exploding Boxes

    How to Make an Exploding Box
    Kate Pullen

    Ever wonder what a DIY exploding box is? It's much more harmless than it sounds. The term is used to describe paper boxes that have cunningly been created so that the sides cascade outwards as the lid is removed. Such a fun and innovative way to personalize a birthday gift, an anniversary gift, or even boxes for wedding favors. Simply change the color and theme of the paper or cardstock used to create a box which is perfect for any occasion.  

    Since this is a do-it-yourself craft, you can customize this exploding box any which way you'd like. For instance, you can try adding rubber stamped tags with a special message, attaching decorative embellishments, adding keepsakes or mementos, or anything else that you can think of. Just place a gift in the center of the box, or make a tiny gift box and attach it to the center of the box, to hold your special present.

    Materials Required

    • Paper or cardstock
    • Templates, if desired
    • Rubber stamps and ink
    • Embellishments and adornments
    • Scissors
    • Ruler
    • Pencil

    When looking for materials, note that this box can be created using thick paper or cardstock. If you're looking for a more robust structure, though, we recommend using a thicker card or chipboard.

    No matter which type of material you decide upon, it is a good idea to practice first using scrap paper before moving onto good quality paper or cardstock. To make this even easier, try using a template that you can print out and practice with.

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  • 02 of 07

    Cut Out the Pieces

    Cut Out the Pieces
    Kate Pullen

    Now that you know a little bit about the DIY exploding box, and have a little taste for what types of gifts you can use it for, let's get to work on creating this creative cascading craft.

    Start by printing out the templates for the various sized boxes you'd like to use and transferring them to scrap paper to practice with. If you've decided not to use a template, use your own measurements and create your own template directly on the scrap paper. Just remember, since exploding boxes are cascading boxes, you'll need to create a few templates for varying sizes - small, medium, and large.

    Once you have a good idea of how the pieces need to be laid out, cut, and folded, then move to tracing your patterns onto the cardstock or thick paper. To make the most from your cardstock, print the templates onto scrap paper and place these onto the cardstock to make the most efficient use of space.

    After you have the templates retraced onto the cardstock or thick paper, cut out the pieces.

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  • 03 of 07

    Add Rubber Stamped Decorations

    Add Rubber Stamping
    Kate Pullen

    At this point, before you fold the paper, add any stamped decorations as desired. Here, we stamped a design all over using a complementary colored ink. Another option is to stamp a single image into the center of each side. Both are fun and customizable options.

    Feel free to use different designs or stamps, or write messages on the sides of the different sized boxes that you've cut out.

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  • 04 of 07

    Fold the Sides

    Fold the Sides
    Kate Pullen

    After you've stamped your paper, fold the sides of each of the boxes as shown on the template. Make crisp and definite folds, as this will help to ensure that the sides cascade outwards effectively. Place the pieces inside each other to form the base of the box. Use glue or double-sided tape to hold them together. Glue dots or thick double-sided tape will give added depth to the box.

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  • 05 of 07

    Decorate the Lid

    Once you've created your base with the various sized boxes, it's time to create the lid. Add any special attachments or embellishments to the lid of the box before folding it, leaving a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch space on either side of two flaps, opposite each other. This empty space will be used for when you create the edges for the lid to attach to the other, straight sides.

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  • 06 of 07

    Fold the Lid

    Make the Lid
    Kate Pullen

    After you've decorated the lid as you'd like, and let any glue or embellishments dry, flip the paper over so that the decorations are facing the work surface. This will ensure that the designs are on the outside.

    Fold the paper, similarly to how you did for the cascading portion of the base, with crisp and definite folds. Then, fold the left and right edges of two opposite flaps about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch in towards each other, leaving the other two flaps of the box as is. Glue the flaps and attach them to the folded edges that you created, in order to create a sturdy frame.

    Tip: If you want to shorten the sides of the lid, simply trim the edges as required. You can even use pattern-edged scissors to create a pretty textured effect if you'd like.

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  • 07 of 07

    Complete the Box

    Finish the Box
    Kate Pullen

    To finish the box, simply tuck the base into the lid. When the lid off the box, the sides will cascade outwards.

    Add any additional elements to customize and personalize your box. We added some small gift tags and envelopes to contain special messages. We also attached a tiny gift box that we made in a coordinating colored paper to hold a small gift. If you decide to do something similar, we suggest using double-sided adhesive tape to attach the tiny gift box to the base of the exploding box.