Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Box Making - The Pillow Box

Something a little different today and throwback to my days on The Carol Duvall Show. If it's one thing Miss Carol loved, it was a good, handmade box! As someone who simply adores the fine art of paper engineering, I developed a deep appreciation for them too!

This past week I sold a bead pen on Karen Thomas' Beadable Products page (a lovely little Facebook group devoted to finished beadables that Karen sells and the beads that fit on them!) But it was not any ordinary bead pen! It featured an extra large, extraordinary plant bead from the oh-so-amazing Cynthia Tilker. The humble spacers from me... Meet Audrey:

Isn't she just fabulous??? Cynthia is a master sculptor!  And after it sold ...to someone in Hawaii... I was panic stricken when I realized I was out of long skinny bracelet boxes... then more panic set in as I went to order them and realized Audrey was a bit to plump to fit nicely in a bracelet box!

I searched and searched for the proper box. I quizzed other bead pen sellers and remained panicked!

I started puttering through my box stash and realized that the pocket boxes I ship "cheaper breakables" in would almost fit...but not quite.

We interrupt this post to discuss everyone's least favorite topic: PRICING:

Cheaper breakables??? Isn't all glass breakable?? Well, yes, but the likelihood of a round or donut bead breaking in transit is pretty nil. And... you have to analyze YOUR costs. For me, the jewelry boxes I use for shipping cost me between 30 and 50 cents each. After doing the math on my shipping charges, they are only cost effective for me on orders of $20 or more.

So, $20 or more goes in a cotton-filled jewelry box. Under $20 gets bubble wrap as long as they are simple, less likely to break beads.

But then there are those that don't fit nicely into to that rule structure. Such as the mini witch hat I made this year. It sells for $17.

But that brim is thin... In cases such as this, I use corrugated pillow boxes which are around 18 cents each... a pretty cheap insurance policy if you ask me. I've found these boxes helpful when shipping weight is on the verge of a price increase. The lighter box often makes it a few pennies cheaper to ship.

Back to the box:

You can find a million templates for pillow boxes out there  such as the one below...but it was hard for me to find a ready made one as long and as thick as I needed for Audrey.

The basic pillow box has three parts: 2 sides, a hidden tab, and four "eyes" that form the opening mechanism. For those of you who are new to paper engineering, solid lines are cut lines; dash lines are where you score.

Because of my sizing issue, my template only gave me a rough idea of where to go... so I got out some plain cardstock and my trusty bone folder and made myself a template. I knew it needed to be at least 7" long to accommodate for bubble wrap and just over 2" thick to allow for the big bead.  I used a CD to sketch big round ends... and it was a total failure! It would not close properly.

I pondered my failure for another 1/2 day. Then while getting a relaxing massage for my crappy shoulder, it hit me...the ends have to remain EYE shaped to work!  I knew that by making it a little bit wider, I would get the depth I need!  (See what happens when you relax and clear your mind!)

I made a 2nd template, this time using the full width of the 8.5 x 11 paper. I stuck it together with some temporary tack glue and voila! It held Audrey beautifully! Then I was ready for the final box.

For Audrey to travel overseas, I knew I wanted corrugated for the ultimate in protection. I had some green corrugated rolled card stock in my stash. I traced my template and cut it out. I had to use the round end of the bone folder on the score lines to not puncture the paper and I scored it twice for good measure as the paper was thick! I glued the flap to the inside so the outside remained smooth. Here's the finished open box:

I found the ends a bit hard to open so I used a paper punch to create notches. This took a bit of patience on the thick paper:

Here is Audrey, all bundled up: tissue paper, bubble wrap with an extra piece of bubble around the big bead, all taped up. She fit the box just fine!
Here she is tied up and waiting for ribbon trimming:

Have you ever had a boxing dilemma??? I would love to know how you solved it!

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