Home

Printed Boxes (with downloadable templates)

The last two weeks have been a bit of a marathon, so this post is just a quick one: Printed card boxes. There's something oddly exciting to me about the fact that with just a printer, paper or card and glue you can turn an idea into a real, physical object. I'm a decent designer but no kind of artist - I can't draw beyond very basic sketches with plenty of guidelines and measurements - and I think anything that lets me turn an image in my head into a real thing I find very satisfying.

In this case, I wanted a nice box in which to ship my Leatherman Belt Pouches. I experimented with origami boxes but a quick rough prototype found they were a bit clumsy and I couldn't make one big enough out of a single sheet of A4 - they would also crush too easily in the post.

Instead, I quickly sketched up a box shape in Inkscape and printed it on 160gsm card (the thickest my laser printer will handle).

I haven't found anything better to stick paper and card without wrinkling than good old Pritt stick (or in this case Wilko's knockoff version) - although I may be experimenting with Japanese rice paste glue for a future project, which is supposed to be even better.

As the sides are double card with glue in between it makes a surprisingly strong little box. The printing goes a little odd and even seems to rub off in places; I think this is the LED printing process from my Brother "laser" printer which doesn't seem to bond the toner to the paper as strongly. For this purpose I quite like the effect though, it adds a bit of texture, almost like weathering.

I made a lid by scaling up the design about 3% (another thing designing in Inkscape makes really easy) and just to see what it looked like I stuck one of my photos on it.

The "weathering" is more pronounced on the edges and the laser printer isn't a patch on an inkjet for reproducing photos, but I really like this result.

The finished shipping box with my logo and colours - I'm really happy with it! I've tried coating it with spray lacquer but oddly it only coats properly on areas that have a lot of toner (you can see the shine on the blue areas) and although it's a neat effect not really worth the effort.

If you'd like to make your own you can download the templates here:

I've used a similar process to make these popcorn boxes for when my family and little nieces and nephew come over for movie sessions. They're only single layer but quite rigid - at least they've survived an excited four-year-old high on caramel popcorn and cartoon elephant songs :)

You can download the templates for those here. Enjoy!


If you'd like to follow my future posts, the RSS feed is here, or you can sign up for email updates here.

See you soon!


If you enjoyed this page, please share it!