How to make a Hanji inspired box

This is a tutorial of how to make a Hanji inspired box. For this box I did not use traditional Hanji paper but the results you get when you do use it are spectacular. For this I used decorative paper from craft stores, or you can make your own paper which makes it a bit more unique. The following box is a simple onf and this is meant as an introductory tutorial.

Materials Needed:

  • Mat board
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Adhesive (I used Wheat Paste for the paper and White Glue for the mat board)
  • Masking Tape
  • Decorative Paper or designs
  • Cardboard (optional)
  • T-Square (optional)

1. Start off by measuring out your dimensions on the mat board. This particular box has a 6″x8″ footprint and is about 2″ tall. Measure out and trace a 6″x8″ rectangle, then add a 2″ border around it, creating an 8″x10″ rectangle – this will be the bottom and sides (see the top of the pic below). Next measure out your lid. This consists of two pieces – One is slightly larger than 6″x8″ so it will overhang the sides, the other is 5 3/4″x7 3/4″. This piece will eventually be glued to the bottom of the lid and fit snugly inside the box, making sure the lid doesn’t slide around.


2. Cut out the mat board. Remove the corners of your bottom/side piece and score the underside along the 6″x8″ rectangle. This will allow the sides to fold up and you can see the box taking shape. Use masking tape (or glue) to tape the sides in place.

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3. Now you want to measure out and cut your paper. I’m not very specific with this part because you have a lot of freedom, depending on how uniform or not you want the box to look. You can cut the paper to fit each box face exactly, overlay papers, wrap a longer sheet around multiple sides etc… In order to adhere the paper I would coat both the surface of the box and paper and then flatten it with a bone folder. One thing I learned is that if you want a small border of something, it’s easier to lay that paper down first. Then use another piece to cover up the middle of it to get your desired border width. Below is an example – I cut out a 12″x10″ piece for the border of my lid (the light green paper). Before putting the blue paper on top, I cut that middle portion of green paper out because it wouldn’t be seen and I can reuse it. The green border gets folded underneath the lid, and the smaller mat board (which I already papered) gets glued to the lid. I enjoy using a border on all edges because it mitigates the possibility of seeing the box and masking tape underneath. You can also see the top part of my lid is a bit thicker – this is where I used a piece of cardboard glued underneath the mat-board to give it some size and weight.

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4. Those are the basics – A lot of it is up to you regarding the paper you choose, the shape of your box (can really be anything), how many layers of mat/card board you want to use, embellishments (like the metal flower in the picture above). Thank you for reading and I hope this helps!

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